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Iranian Alert -- August 2, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 8.2.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 08/02/2003 12:01:03 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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement
To find all the links to all 54 threads since the protests started, go to:

1 posted on 08/02/2003 12:01:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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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 -- August 2, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 8.2.2003 | DoctorZin

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

2 posted on 08/02/2003 12:01:46 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US options on Iran

By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst 8.2.2003

The Bush administration has dubbed Iran part of an "axis of evil", yet there is a widely-shared feeling that it has no clear policy towards the regime. In the last of four reports, Roger Hardy looks at short-term and longer-term US options.

US policy is, for now, to work with allies, the European Union, Russia, Japan, to put pressure on Iran to accept more stringent inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The Iranians have not rejected the idea, but seem to be trying to exact some kind of price. But supposing they accept? The underlying problems between the US and Iran, over its alleged links with terrorism, its opposition to the Middle East peace process, and its suppression of human rights, would remain unresolved.

So, what policy options might the US choose to pursue? The choices range from engagement with Iran to the aggressive pursuit of "regime change".

Engagement would mean the pursuit of a dialogue with the Iranian Government, and a willingness to give it some inducements to modify its behaviour.

This option is favoured by one of Washington's elder statesmen, the former Democratic Party Congressman Lee Hamilton.

"I think that, while we have to keep uppermost the nuclear-weapon component of our policy, at the same time we ought to try to engage Iran on some of these difficult issues," says Mr Hamilton.

"That engagement would have to be done very carefully, very cautiously. It would probably have to be a conditional engagement. But I think over the long run it would have some hope of improving the relationship. We ought not to put all of our eggs in the regime-change basket."

Mr Hamilton takes issue with the hawks, both inside and outside the Bush administration, who believe the Iranian regime is irredeemable, and has to go.

This is the view of the radical Republicans known as the "neo-conservatives", or "neo-cons".

Joshua Muravchik, a prominent neo-con of the right-wing think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute, thinks that the goal of regime change in Iran is at least clearly implicit in what the Bush administration is trying to do.

"This is both in the rhetoric about the "axis of evil" and in the formal national security strategy paper that the president issued last September," says Mr Muravhick.

That was the paper which set out what has come to be known as the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive, or more accurately, preventive, action against perceived threats to the US.

A few of the neo-cons favour military action to remove what they see as the threat posed by Iran, for example, through strikes against its nuclear facilities.

But most think military action too risky and prefer a mix of pressures designed to weaken the regime, and encourage dissent.

A key question, however, is whether the neo-conservatives are in the ascendant, or have passed their peak.

"If you had to mark the high point, the high tide, of neo-conservative thinking in this administration, in a post-9/11 world, it would probably be the day the statue of Saddam Hussein came down in Baghdad."

Biding their time

Michael Hirsh is a senior editor at Newsweek and author of a new book on US foreign policy.

"Since 11 September, what we have seen looks very like a quagmire in terms of the post-war rebuilding (of Iraq). And it's become clear that the neo-conservative agenda is rather limited," he says.

"It focuses on regime change. It postulates the idea that countries and peoples so deeply want to embrace this Reaganite revolution of democratic and open-market transformation that they'll rush to do it on their own. And, of course, that has not been the situation since the war ended. I think the bloom has come off the neo-con rose, to some degree, and I think the direction of the Bush administration's policy is very much at issue now."

But if the neo-cons have been temporarily weakened, they are certainly not out of the game. They are determined and influential people, and there are some in Washington who feel they are biding their time, waiting for George W Bush to win a second term in next year's presidential elections.

If he is re-elected, then, in the view of Raad al-Kadiri, Middle East expert at the Washington-based energy consultants, PFC, the neo-cons will be ready to push forward their agenda on Iran.

"Rightly or wrongly, they see in Iran a country that is on the edge, a country that requires a simple push and will actually undergo transformation from within, and that is what they're aiming to achieve.

"But this isn't something that's going to be quick or something that you're likely to see shouted from the rooftops until (George Bush's) second term. Put very simply, in terms of US domestic politics, regime change in Iran is not going to win a presidential election."

There is speculation in Washington that the neo-cons' preferred option would not be an Iraq-style invasion of Iran, but destabilisation through covert action. This would be highly controversial in Washington and among America's allies, who favour multilateral pressure on Iran rather than dangerous unilateral adventures.

For now, US policy is in limbo, but sooner or later the policy-makers will need to decide whether they want to negotiate with the Iranian mullahs in order to change their behaviour, or isolate and bully them in the hope they fall from power.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3115973.stm

3 posted on 08/02/2003 12:07:12 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; ...
This is final installment of the four part series by the BBC on the US stance on Iran. -- DoctorZin

US options on Iran
By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst 8.2.2003

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=3#3

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
4 posted on 08/02/2003 12:10:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for all of your work, DoctorZIn.

Get some rest.

'Nite.
5 posted on 08/02/2003 12:14:33 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Thank you Mr. Hardy.

Final point being England, Germany, Russia, France, Japan and others are making too much money off of cheap Iranian oil to aid in the masses protesting against the regime. (My what a difference considering they aided and funded the outright overthrow of the Shah---especially English who gave 24 hour free-air time to Khomeini because they were so-called promoting democracy--however, the BBC is now ridiculing democratic forces in the country).

How can a revolution happen in Iran even with 80 percent of the people against the regime when 90 percent of the world is siding with the Mullahs for selfish intentions?

Only friend Iranian people have right now are half-heartedly the US and Israel.

How are you going to win that war?
6 posted on 08/02/2003 12:35:35 AM PDT by freedom44
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To: freedom44
Hi, there.

The picture I have, and it may be wrong, is that throughout Europe, there are increasing numbers of groups of pro-democracy in IRAN organizations or supporters. That Iran stories are disseminated through their newspapers to a much greater degree than ours. If true, this is what shaped public opinion and eventually put pressure on gov'ts in Europe, to adopt the stand they took on the U.S. over Iraq. Couldn't it then do the same to re-shape opinion
of their gov'ts toward the mullahs and the Regime?
7 posted on 08/02/2003 4:37:37 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: freedom44
...How are you going to win that war?...

We are fortunate that president Bush supports the people of Iran in their struggle with the Islamic regime of Iran. But he needs public support.

We can and must continue to do everything possible to educate the public and the media of the need to support the Iranian people.

One of the ways we can do this is by contacting the media.
The media does respond to our emails. We were effective when we asked for more coverage of the student protests, last month.

I heard Fox News reporting yesterday that they were receiving a "huge" number of emails on a story. He said they had received several thousand.

If we make a concerted effort to contact the media on important breaking stories, the FR community could easily send thousands of emails. This would certainly get the attention of the media.

I have a lot more thoughts on the topic but this is a start.
8 posted on 08/02/2003 9:26:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this info from one of our participants in this thread...

The History Channel in their "This Week in History" program debunks the commonly-held theory that the Canadians were the ones who smuggled out six of the Americans held hostage in Iran back in 1979. The CIA with the help of a Hollywood make-up artist and front company was how it was done and the truth was kept secret for 20 years. The CIA agent responsible for getting the Americans out alive tells his real-life spy story. Rebroadcast 8/3/03 10AM EST/PST

http://www.historychannel.com/global/listings/series_showcase.jsp?EGrpType=Series&Id=215768&NetwCode=THC
9 posted on 08/02/2003 9:33:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: nuconvert
...That Iran stories are disseminated through their newspapers to a much greater degree than ours. If true, this is what shaped public opinion and eventually put pressure on gov'ts in Europe, to adopt the stand they took on the U.S. over Iraq. Couldn't it then do the same to re-shape opinion of their gov'ts toward the mullahs and the Regime?...

I don't believe so. Those in the Europena media that are now supporting the people of Iran have made a shift away from their past postion of appeasement. It will not be easy for them to go back.
10 posted on 08/02/2003 9:52:36 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Lebanese Hizbollah driver of Iranian Embassy dies in car bombing

World News
Aug 2, 2003

BEIRUT - A powerful car bomb killed a member of Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrilla group on Saturday in an attack in the Iranian and Syrian-backed group's stronghold of Beirut's southern suburbs that it blamed on Israel.

Hizbollah called the dead man -- whom security sources have identified as a Lebanese driver for the Iranian embassy -- a martyr and one of its "holy warriors", in accounts of the bombing on the group's television station.

"Hizbollah laments one of its mujahideen," a presenter on the al-Manar station said, before reading a statement saying: "Hizbollah mourns Ali Hussein Saleh, who perished in an explosion in his car this morning."

The group was quick to point the finger at Israel, saying in a statement: "All information available since this morning proves beyond a doubt complete Israeli responsibility for this heinous crime.

"This crime will not go unpunished."

Lebanon's culture minister, Ghazi al-Aridi, said the killing was related to Hizbollah's role in ending Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in 2000.

"This young man is one of the men who had a main role in fighting the Israeli occupation and I think this action was deliberately aimed at eliminating him," he told Arabic television network Al Jazeera.

Witnesses said the blast gouged a gaping hole in the ground, propelled the car about 10 metres (yards) and blew its driver to pieces. A passerby, whom witnesses and security officials initially thought had been in the car, was seriously injured, security sources said.

Security forces cordoned off the area and used bags to collect the dead man's body parts, which the force of the blast had thrown up to the second and third-floor levels of the surrounding buildings.

A senior security official said a bomb in the car ripped it apart as the dead man drove away from his residence.

"He started the engine, got going and went about 100 metres (yards), then it blew him up. It appears to be a well-planned operation," the source said.

Documents retrieved from the car identified the body as that of Saleh, a 42-year-old from the town of Brital in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, a traditional Hizbollah power base.

Security forces strained to hold back crowds milling about the mangled wreckage as it was examined by a forensic team.

The Iranian embassy refused to discuss the incident or its ties to the dead man.

Senior Hizbollah figures have been the targets of assassination attempts before, including the group's former leader Abbas al-Musawi who was killed by Israel in 1992.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1525.shtml
11 posted on 08/02/2003 9:58:24 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; ...
Lebanese Hizbollah driver of Iranian Embassy dies in car bombing

World News
Aug 2, 2003

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=11#11

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
12 posted on 08/02/2003 9:59:35 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Wants U.S. to Swap MKO Rebels for Qaeda Men

World News
Aug 2, 2003

NEW YORK - Iran wants the United States to hand over members of an Iranian opposition movement in return for any al Qaeda figures it extradites to Washington, the New York Times said on Saturday.

The newspaper quoted a U.S. official as saying Washington had approached Tehran with a request for the handover of members of Osama bin Laden's network in Iranian custody, including Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian thought to be al Qaeda's security chief.

But the approach, relayed through the Swiss embassy that handles U.S. interests in Tehran, did not include any proposed swap and the United States "did not receive a positive response," the Times quoted the official as saying.

A senior Bush administration official told the newspaper the administration would reject any kind of swap for members of the Mujahideen Khalq, which is listed by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization.

Many Mujahideen Khalq members are in camps in Iraq under U.S. military supervision.

There will be "no quid pro quo," the Times quoted the official as saying of the reported exchange proposal.

The United States has accused Iran of harboring and assisting terrorists. Tehran denies the charge.

The New York Times quoted senior U.S. and Middle Eastern officials as saying Adel was among al Qaeda members in Iranian custody after having been detained several weeks ago.

They said they believed other al Qaeda figures in Iranian hands include Saad bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden's older sons, and Suleiman Abu Ghaith, an al Qaeda spokesman.

The Times quoted a U.S. official as saying Washington believes Iran is also holding Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian identified by the United States as a lieutenant of bin Laden.

Iran publicly acknowledged for the first time last month that it was holding some senior al Qaeda figures.

"Since the collapse of the Taliban regime we have arrested a large number of them," Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said on July 23. "Many of them have been expelled and a large number of them are in our custody -- a mixture of big and small members."

The Mujahideen Khalq, the main armed opposition to Iran's clerical leadership, lost its guerrilla base in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion toppled its principal patron Saddam Hussein.

The Mujahideen joined the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the shah but later broke ranks with Iran's new leaders.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1520.shtml


13 posted on 08/02/2003 10:01:27 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; ...
Iran Wants U.S. to Swap MKO Rebels for Qaeda Men

World News
Aug 2, 2003

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=13#13

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
14 posted on 08/02/2003 10:02:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Will U.S. Negitiate?

August 01, 2003
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Waren Strobel and John Walcott

WASHINGTON - A terrorist group based in U.S.-controlled Iraq continues to broadcast propaganda into Iran, purchase equipment and move about the country without interference from American authorities, despite a White House order banning any U.S. support for the group, according to senior administration officials.

The officials said the continued operations of the Mujahedeen Khalq, or MEK, could cost the United States an opportunity to negotiate a deal with Iran's theocratic regime to turn over five senior leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network who are being held by Iranian authorities in what one American official described as "some kind of preventive detention."

Iranian envoys have approached U.S. intermediaries and offered to turn over the terrorism suspects - including Osama bin Laden's son Saad and Saif al Adel, who's wanted in connection with attacks that killed Americans in East Africa and Saudi Arabia - in exchange for putting the MEK out of business, the officials said.

Some Pentagon officials oppose negotiating any deal with Iran because they fear it might undercut an opportunity to overthrow the increasingly unpopular militant Islamic regime in Tehran, one senior official said.

U.S. authorities could try to shut down the MEK without cutting any deal with Iran, of course, but Pentagon officials may prefer turning a blind eye to the group because they like the pressure the MEK puts on the Iranian regime, other officials suggest.

"The fact is, we now have a group that we ourselves have declared a terrorist organization operating out of a country that we control, in direct violation of our own policy," one official said. "We said we would shut down the MEK, but they're still in business, we know they're in business and we haven't done anything about it."

A senior Defense Department official denied that, saying 4,200 MEK members are under U.S. control and are not broadcasting into Iran. The official also denied that the Defense Department plans to keep the MEK in business as an option to destabilize the government of Iran. That is "simply false. It is not true."

The officials all spoke on the condition of anonymity because the issue is under fierce debate in the Bush administration and they aren't authorized government spokesmen.

However, their willingness to discuss the controversy illustrates how the long-standing battles among the Defense Department, the CIA and the State Department over control of intelligence and foreign policy have escalated to active sabotage of one another's plans by exposing them in the press.

The suspicion that some defense officials are reluctant to put the MEK out of business is one of a growing number of questions about a secretive Pentagon office that current and former officials charge has been devising its own policies and running its own intelligence and other operations, independent of the rest of the government.

The Office of Special Plans, which deals with policy toward Iran and Iraq, is under congressional scrutiny for lapses in postwar planning in Iraq; for relying too heavily on intelligence from Iraqi exiles and foreign governments; for allegations that it manipulated intelligence; and for employing a large number of like-minded advisers and consultants who, according to current and former employees, ignored the professional staff and kept their colleagues in the dark about what they were doing.

"I personally witnessed several cases of staff officers being told not to contact their counterparts at State or the National Security Council because that particular decision would be processed through a different channel," wrote Karen Kwiatkowski, a now-retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who worked in the Pentagon's Near East policy office until February. She recently wrote about her experience for the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

Two senior officials said some activities of the Special Plans Office bore a disturbing resemblance to the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, in which officials on the National Security Council staff shipped arms to Iran and funneled some of the proceeds to Nicaraguan opposition groups in violation of official policy and without the knowledge of most - although not all - other officials.

Similarly, these officials say, the Pentagon's Special Plans Office appears to have run its own operations independent of the rest of the government, with potentially disastrous results.

"This is a huge tar baby for the administration," said one senior official. "We're only beginning to find out what all was going on in there."

Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, is asking the General Accounting Office, Congress' watchdog agency, to conduct an inquiry into the Special Plans Office, a congressional aide said.

It's in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 civilian. Feith and his deputy, William Luti, called a news conference in June to deny reports that their office manipulated intelligence and planned to use the MEK, the Iraq-based terrorist group, to help overthrow the Iranian regime. "There never was such a plan. We will not do that," Feith said.

Other officials, however, said that while there might not have been a formal plan to use the MEK, some Pentagon officials urged that the United States covertly back the group's efforts to topple the Iranian regime.

However, President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, vetoed any discussion of cooperation with the MEK because it's a terrorist group. "A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist," Rice said in one meeting, according to an official who was present.

The MEK, which Saddam's regime supported and which had bases in Iraq along its border with Iran, has launched numerous anti-Western attacks as well as terrorist attacks on the Iranian regime's facilities worldwide, according to the State Department's annual terrorism report.

Nevertheless, MEK members in Iraq continue to make radio broadcasts into Iran for nine hours a day and militia members are driving around the country in SUVs making purchases that could be intended to support their terrorism campaign against Iran, several U.S. officials said. Iran and Great Britain have complained to the United States about the broadcasts, officials said.

It remains unclear how seriously the United States should take the Iranian offer, made through intermediaries in Washington and elsewhere, to turn over high-ranking al Qaida operatives - who are eagerly sought by U.S. intelligence agencies - and what the Iranians are demanding beyond disbanding the MEK.

In addition to al Adel, bin Laden's security chief and No. 3 on the CIA's list of wanted al Qaida leaders, and Saad bin Laden, intelligence officials said Iran was holding Abu Hafs "the Mauritanian"; Mohammed al Masri, who's believed to have been planning new terrorist attacks in East Africa; and Abu Musab Zarqawi, who's wanted in connection with the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan and who some U.S. officials have named as a link between Iraq and al Qaida.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was tight-lipped Friday when he was asked in an interview about the possibility of a deal to get the al Qaida operatives in return for disbanding the MEK.

"Using the appropriate interlocutors, we are in touch with the Iranians on both of those issues," Powell said. Asked if he was optimistic, Powell was noncommittal, saying simply: "Wait and see."

A defense official said trying to disband the MEK now could trigger more violence at a time when U.S. forces in Iraq already are fighting a guerrilla war in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's regime. American forces are continuing to interview and fingerprint members of the group, the official said.

But others said that fear of provoking more violence doesn't explain the latitude MEK members are getting.

"The question," said one senior official, "is whether somebody in the Defense Department, with or without proper authorization, doesn't want to put the MEK out of business because they still want to use it to help overthrow the regime in Iran."

(Joseph L. Galloway, Jonathan S. Landay and researcher Tish Wells contributed to this report.)

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/politics/6439353.htm
15 posted on 08/02/2003 10:04:11 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; ...
Will U.S. Negitiate?

August 01, 2003
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Waren Strobel and John Walcott

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=15#15

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
16 posted on 08/02/2003 10:05:19 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
It will not be easy for them to go back.

I agree. And as Iran's nuclear capablities rise to the surface, the Europeans may end up looking like hypocrites. The European media may start to get really quiet, when they can push forward a strong agenda.

17 posted on 08/02/2003 10:06:29 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran’s student movement: a catalyst for change?

Recent civil unrest in Iran reawakened interest in the potentially significant role Iranian students can play in the evolution of the Islamic Republic. There is much frustration at the inability of reformists to act as catalysts for real change, but also hope that the increasing independence of the country’s students will help alter this.

Iran has had well-organized student societies since the end of World War II. These have generally been aligned to leftist and nationalist causes and ideologies. Students played an important role in the 1979 Iranian revolution, and some historians have cited the shah’s November 1978 assault on Tehran University as a turning point before his overthrow.

Despite the organized and disciplined nature of Iranian student societies, it was only after the Islamic revolution that they acquired power and influence. On the first anniversary of the Tehran University assault, students stormed the US Embassy and took hostages. In hindsight, the act, apart from determining the premises of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy for the next decade, was the main catalyst for the post-revolutionary theocratic system. Clerics aligned to the late Ayatollah Khomeini used the hostage crisis to settle scores with their opponents and consolidate theocratic institutions.

After a two-year closure, Iranian universities reopened in 1982, ushering in a new chapter in student politics. The main student body, the Office for Fostering Unity (OFU), which had been set up in 1979, was a supra-organizational entity representing dozens of smaller political-cultural student societies and groups. Contrary to some views, the OFU was never a rubber stamp for the interests of the ruling clergy in the universities. From the outset it was a decentralized and autonomous body that maintained strong ties with and loyalties to left-wing factions in the Islamic regime.

The influence of the OFU went beyond Iran’s universities. Many of its founders and leaders played pivotal roles in the Islamic Republic’s security and political apparatus. Abbas Abdi and Ebrahim Asghar-Zadeh are two prominent examples. Both had played a leading role in the seizure of the US Embassy ­ Abdi became deputy to the chief prosecutor in the 1980s, while Asghar-Zadeh held an important position in the political-ideological directorate of the Revolutionary Guards.

The OFU’s decline began a decade after the revolution, around the time of Khomeini’s death. This was largely due to the sidelining of the Islamic left by conservatives in the regime. Moreover a split within the OFU in 1990 led to the emergence of the Islamic Society of Students and Graduates (ISSG). In its early years the ISSG gravitated towards the Islamic right, though it later returned to the OFU fold.

The May 1997 election of President Mohammad Khatami and the beginning of the reformist offensive provided a massive boost to the student movement, which had had to contend with seven years of relentless low-level political and cultural suppression during the Rafsanjani era. The old loyalties of the 1980s re-emerged as reformists, virtually all of whom hailed from the ranks of the Islamic left, forged a close alliance with the student movement. This alliance reached its peak during the student riots of July 1999, when reformists, many of whom occupied government positions, protested against the harsh measures meted out to students.

The alliance of reformists and students did not last. The reformists’ inability and unwillingness to confront the Islamic Republic’s theocratic power centers alienated students. There were also sharp differences over objectives. Whereas many reformists in government sought to reconcile Iran’s democratic and theocratic facets, the students overwhelmingly wanted to dismantle the latter. The decisive break occurred in the February 2003 local council elections, during which reformers suffered their first electoral defeat since May 1997. The OFU officially withdrew from the Dovomme Khordad Front, the main reformist coordinating forum.

This was followed by moves to change the OFU’s name to the Office for Fostering Democracy. Saeed Rezavi Faghih, a member of the OFU’s central committee, initially made the suggestion, which was long overdue. The OFU was forged in the 1980s, when the embryonic Islamic Republic was in need of unity to overcome a multitude of internal and external challenges. Today, however, Iran’s main test is to reconcile its deep philosophical and ideological incongruities, and this can only be done by irreversibly dismantling the clerical component of the regime.
The OFU’s increasing independence, and that of the broader student movement in general, is welcome. It challenges the stalemate in Iranian politics and exerts real pressures on reformists to adopt a bolder strategy vis-a-vis the conservatives.

However, the separation of the students from the reformists entails real and imagined dangers. The imagined dangers come from the increasingly hollow and perverse rhetoric of conservatives, who seek to link students to foreign plots and discredited exiled opposition groups. In fact, Iranian students have always been at the forefront of resistance to illegitimate foreign influences. Moreover, exiled opposition groups do not have significant constituencies inside Iran. In outlook, knowledge and political acumen, the students are far more sophisticated than the increasingly isolated and extreme voices from beyond the country’s borders.

The real dangers stem from increasing radicalization and the potential for the emergence of a “disloyal” opposition from the students’ ranks. The disturbances of June 2003 showed how peaceful and legitimate protest could turn into mayhem. This can only be to the detriment of students and the democratic movement, undermining the peaceful transition of power in Iran.

Another danger lies in the students’ overestimating themselves and, hence, inflicting real damage on the reform movement. They must recognize, as representatives of a sectional interest, that they are unlikely to transform Iran on their own. Their power resides in prodding the reformists to come to terms with their own ideological confusion and take decisive steps to dislodge unelected regime institutions.

These unelected institutions lack the resources and the popular mandate to decisively halt the inexorable drive toward transparent and accountable governance in Iran. The conservatives’ success has been due to a combination of reformist diffidence and lack of imagination. It is entirely possible that the independence of the students will propel reformers into a decisive confrontation with Iran’s enfeebled theocratic institutions.

Mahan Abedin, a London-based financial consultant and analyst of Iranian politics, wrote this commentary for THE
DAILY STAR

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/02_08_03_b.asp
18 posted on 08/02/2003 12:42:11 PM 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; ...
Iran’s student movement: a catalyst for change?
Mahan Abedin

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=18#18

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
19 posted on 08/02/2003 12:43:59 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
EU policy towards Iran unchanged

2003/08/02
Brussels, Aug 2 - EU sources in Brussels are denying that is any major shift in policy by the European bloc towards the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"There is no major change in the policy towards Iran. There is no suspension of talks or threat of any break in dialogue with Iran," an European Commission official said speaking on condition of anonymity.

EU foreign ministers in a meeting in Brussels on 21 July said the European council will review future steps of the co-operation between EU and Iran in September in view of further developments particularly with regard to the second report of IAEA Director General, Elbaradei, on Iran's nuclear programme.

"Of course, we would like to see more cooperation from Iran on the nuclear issue," said the official adding that the ministers merely formalized their position to review future relations with Tehran.

"There was no threat of cut in dialogue or any major shift in policy towards Iran, noted the official.

http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=184972&n=32
20 posted on 08/02/2003 12:45:46 PM 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; ...
EU policy towards Iran unchanged
2003/08/02

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=20#20

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

21 posted on 08/02/2003 12:47:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Emails work. I agree.
22 posted on 08/02/2003 12:54:09 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
I don't detect a shift with the governments of Europe. The press and the people may be boisterous in their support for the students. But, it may take time for the governments to react to the change.

Perhaps the issue may not be as cut and dried as we think. The governments may have reason to be wary of opening the pandora's box that is Iran. I couldn't profess to know what goes on in the quiet meetings of the men in power.
23 posted on 08/02/2003 1:09:15 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Good background info on student mvmnt.
24 posted on 08/02/2003 1:15:33 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
"The press and the people may be boisterous in their support for the students."

That's what we need here.

"But, it may take time for the governments to react to the change."

Seems our situations are reversed.

We have a lot of work to do to force the press here to give this story the coverage it deserves.

25 posted on 08/02/2003 1:40:31 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20030701faessay15401/kenneth-m-pollack/securing-the-gulf.html

Securing the Gulf
Kenneth M. Pollack
Summary: The sweeping military victory in Iraq has cleared the way for the United States to establish yet another framework for Persian Gulf security. Ironically, with Saddam Hussein gone, the problems are actually going to get more challenging in some ways. The three main issues will be Iraqi power, Iran's nuclear weapons program, and domestic unrest in the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. None will be easy to handle, let alone all three together.


I thought you might want to read this.
26 posted on 08/02/2003 2:14:03 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
The scourge of terrorism began while Cliunton was failing the Republic. It grew because Clinton allowed it to get a firm rooting. His wimpy, legalistic responses were like fertilizer.

Your lame attempt to spread the blame is based on your desire to cleanse the Rats from their philosophical fear of war and the direct blame for spread of the terrorist cancer to America. The pacifist Rats have American blood on their hands.

27 posted on 08/02/2003 2:30:50 PM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: DoctorZIn
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030802/wl_mideast_afp/us_iran_qaeda_030802141752
Iran holding al-Qaeda number three, refuses to surrender him: report
28 posted on 08/02/2003 2:38:32 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
I'm trying to contain myself.
29 posted on 08/02/2003 2:42:58 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Thank you. I did. Not sure about the "security condo" as it pertains to Iran. But certainly thought provoking.
30 posted on 08/02/2003 2:46:21 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: bert
...Your lame attempt to spread the blame is based on your desire to cleanse the Rats from their philosophical fear of war and the direct blame for spread of the terrorist cancer to America. The pacifist Rats have American blood on their hands...

Please explain how I "attempt to spread the blame."
You must NOT be referring to something I wrote but to something I posted. I post a wide variety of material here. I do this so people can read first hand the entire debate on an issue.

Please be more careful of what you accuse others of. It is not very responsible. Read the thread carefully and you will find we probably agree on almost everything, except irresponsible rhetoric.
31 posted on 08/02/2003 3:07:09 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: A Situation Analysis

August 03, 2003
Iran va Jahan
Koorosh Afshari

Situation

Not dissimilar to the pre-crisis years of the late 1970s, the world appears to have, once again, been caught off guard vis-à-vis its assessment of the political dynamics of Iran and the survivability of a regime, not long ago, classified as "secure" by most western intelligence and think-tank analyses.

September 11, the ensuing removal of the Taliban and the subsequent forced fall of Baghdad have brought a new and very real focus on the clerics of Tehran whom by most measures serve as the poster boys of radical extremism, in quest of the atomic bomb.

In many respects, the international focus on Tehran has bolstered and added fuel to the voice of domestic discontent against the ruling religious regime. President Bush's axis-of-evil speech followed by a crescendo of unprecedented personal overtures to the Iranian people -- in support of their cause against the clerical regime -- has had an undeniable influence on the Iranian psyche: While the dissident movement and, for the most part, the people welcome such overtures, the ruling regime, including its so-called reformist faction, has been nerved by the underlying intent of such calls.

Not withstanding, there is a real and vibrant civil discord brewing in Iran which is simply based on an epic and uncompromising conflict between a regime, set on ruling by divine right, and a populace in need of earthly freedoms and opportunities.

Approaching his seventh year of presidency and term limited, Hojatolislam Mohamad Khatami, by his own admission, has failed. Powerless or unwilling, the mid-ranking cleric president failed to draw on a mandate of "reform." Despite successive presidential and legislative elections, no meaningful challenge was ever risked against the ruling conservatives. Consequently, the recent student crackdowns, preceded by the rejection of "reform legislations," by the conservatives, are viewed as the final acts bringing as end to what was once dubbed as the "2nd of Khordad Movement" (named after Khatami's first election date).

Adding to its domestic turmoil, the regime's chronic inability to steer away from militant positions on a variety of international issues (i.e. pursuit of WMDs, obstruction of the Middle East peace process, relations with Al Qaeda operatives, overt and covert support of subversive anti terror forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the latest beating death of a Canadian-Iranian journalist, etc.) has strengthened the case against it, legitimizing its classification as a rogue, evil and non-conventional state.

Policy Reassessment

This dynamic has brought forth an urgent need, in many western capitals, for a serious reassessment of their respective "Iran Policies." Any such reevaluation however will only translate into an actual policy shift (away from "dialogue and engagement") if its findings convincingly satisfy the following questions:

1) Is there mass discontent in Iran? If so, how deep and how broad based is it?

2) Is there leadership at the helm of the Iranian discontent; and if so, is it armed with a strategy and organization – inside and outside of Iran?

3) Absence a leadership, how long will public voicing of dissent and protests be sustainable?

4) How brutal will the regime get and how far will it go in its suppression?

5) What are the prospects of a "Palace Coup," and or how far will the regime bend in offering concessions to and compromise with, the people or the "reformist" faction?

To most Iran experts, it is painfully and glaringly obvious that the missing ingredients in the equation for regime change in Iran are: leadership and organization, both domestically and among an extraordinarily affluent diaspora.

Fractious, splintered, unimaginative, spiteful and apathetic are words often used to describe the Iranian opposition. Hence, despite years of "waiting for their moment," the Iranian opposition is today ill-prepared and not in position to provide leadership for a movement that has a very real and legitimate chance of bringing positive and permanent challenge to a visibly paranoid and de-legitimized regime.

Despite numerous attempts and calls for unity among and between the various opposition groups, factions and personalities, very little has been accomplished and prospects of a miraculous coalition or even détente among such groups are dim.

This is especially troubling, since the regime's efficient intelligence apparatus is, by and large, quite successful in regularly draining the pools of political leaders that emerge from the domestic front of its political opposition. Those "leaders," who escape incarceration by the regime, find themselves in exile, where they either get consumed by exile politics, or become ineffective when disconnected from their domestic peers.

Window of Opportunity

Rushed by an increased acceleration of political events within Iran, there is a growing and very legitimate concern over the closing of a window of opportunity and the imminence of political chaos in Iran.

Irrespective of political orientations, a strong case can be made that the window of opportunity for meaningful change in Iran (either via internal "reform" or regime change) is approximately 7-16 months -- with the next Majlis (February 2004) and presidential (May 2005) elections as the critical focal milestones.

Based on this window, there are three distinct schools of thoughts which attempt their best to foretell the unfolding of events in Iran.

1) One school believes the regime will weather the storm: Arguing that the so called pragmatists among the ruling elite are survivors and, thanks to a leadership vacuum among the opposition, the regime will buy itself time by inevitably offering a series of strategic concessions. These concessions may come in two form:

a) To the West: in the areas of WMD's, the Middle East peace plan, war on Al Qaeda and even human rights; and,

b) To the Iranian people: it will loosen some social controls, offer an amnesty, concoct revisions to the election vetting process and shift some of the powers of the expediency council to the presidency. Under this formula, the regime will find the perfect opportunity to unveil "Khatami II," just in time for the next election cycle. (This time perhaps a western educated non-cleric, a former "dissident," or even a "liberal" female can become the dark horse to win the purse.)

2) The second school believes that the clerical regime will be unable to stand the socio-economic and political heat and will be left with one of two options:

a) A "palace coup" by the conservatives in an attempt to save political Islam and its "Republic" from the pagans. Or,

b) A "palace coup" by the pragmatists / reformers in an attempt to "bring to the people what they want." (In either case, it is thought that Mr. Rafsanjani will play the power broker. Unclear though, is which camp he will choose to pay his brokerage fee?)

3) The third school believes that regime change is inevitable. Irrespective of tactical maneuvers by the regime, or an absence of an organized leadership by the opposition, this school believes that the regime will be unable to stave off the energy of dissent and the demands of the youth – who want nothing less than a complete exit of the clergy from governance and the establishment of a secular democracy.

Haplessly optimistic, this group discounts the absence of an organizational leadership for the freedom movement by subscribing to one of two views: a) That the movement is on the verge of spawning its leadership, from within Iran, and that it will happen literally overnight. Subscribers of this view believe that any such candidate will need to have either an armed services or a religious, yet secular, credential; or, b) There is an emerging non-traditionalist view that regards the current Iranian movement as a completely new phenomenon, breaking all rules and traditions and bucking all historic trends. It argues that Iran's freedom movement is so well ingrained among the people that it needs not the traditional leadership; it needs not a set traditional organization or a pre-defined disciplined strategy. In fact, it attributes the resilience of this movement to the very fact that there is nothing tangible for the regime to "shut down." The strength of the movement lies in the fact that it is mature, entirely homegrown and genuine. It is popularly driven and purely spontaneous – driven by individuals, in the streets, in the alleys and neighborhoods of Iran. This school argue that Iran will produce the first "leaderless tidal wave of the masses" culminating in regime paralysis.

U.S. Factor

Notwithstanding its domestic problems, the Islamic Republic is also faced with increased and very serious challenge from outside its borders.

As the remaining superpower, and more especially because of the inherent "conspiratorial" psyche of the Iranian political culture, the United States will have an important role in determining the general direction and speed with which events unfold in Iran.

Yet, as reflected by grueling public debates and the ambiguities emanating from various Iran policy camps in Washington, America's direction and clarity of purpose will only come as a result of its dealing with the following issues:

1) America's Paranoia: America suffers from a crippling paranoia emanating from its Iran-experience over the last half century. On one hand America feels bound by the principal of "in defense of freedom, whenever and wherever," yet it suffers from its own inability to bridge the gap between 1953 and 2003. Two historic windows, half a century apart, with distinctly intertwining messages, Iran's current political predicament provides America's champions of "freedom" and "popular will" with a golden opportunity to make the right choice by backing the right side – the people of Iran.

Irrespective of which face of history one sides with -- the coup or counter-coup of 1953 – there is clarity in the opportunity afforded to America today. Instead of endless therapy sessions over 1953, America's choice today must be non-other than an unwavering support of the Iranian people. This resolve will not only strengthen the rightful aspiration of 70 million people – but will also cure America's paranoia that has manifested itself through catatonic foreign policy blunders such as Iran-Contra, the Clinton/Albright apology or the ongoing continuous search for "moderates" within the regime.

2) America's alternatives? With Khatami's "reform movement" virtually decapitated and in a hole, America's political options on Iran are limited to: a) A few undesirables within the regime's "conservative" camp -- with the claim to have the ability to offer Washington "a deal;" b) A daring, yet leaderless, student movement limited, in action, thanks to the brute force and crushing suppression of the regime; c) The disorganized opposition within Iran; or, d) The unimaginative, pale and insipid Iranian opposition in exile.

It is an undeniable reality that without a tangible alternative, it is difficult for any argument, no matter how morally just, to win a U.S. foreign policy debate in favor of ridding the status quo in Tehran -- especially with Baghdad and Kabul in such disarray. Nevertheless, President Bush may have already limited his options against Tehran with his increasingly uncompromising rhetoric.

Iran's freedom movement and dissidents are hopeful that, much like Ronald Reagan's calls against the "evil empire," Bush's doctrine of rhetoric against Iran will not let up. They hope that similar to Reagan's Soviet policy, Bush's posture on Iran is also firmly heeled on a personal commitment and belief that ultimately (and despite a leadership vacuum at the helm of Iran's freedom movement) it is the freedom movement itself that remains America's only and clear alternative for investment.

3) With or without Europe? September 11 afforded America a unique mandate to lead the global war or terror. That mandate however found little translation when it came to international resolve on Iraq. Led by commercial interests, important powers within the European Union (EU) failed to follow America's lead threatening to deepen an Atlantic rift. Predictably that experience, caused American foreign policy careerist to draw a new line as to how far America's unilateralism should be tested – come next time.

With vast gas and petroleum reserves, a consumer market of 70 million, Iran serves as a valuable multi-billion dollar annual asset to the EU. Hence, the very same commercial and political issues that served as the core reason for Europe's mutiny against Washington -- on Iraq -- are at play today with Iran. This time, however, making the case for the EU are camps among foreign policy careerists and certain lobby groups in America favoring "dialogue and engagement" with the clerical regime as opposed to a unilateral American confrontation with Tehran.

The clerical regime however, has not played its hand very well with the EU in that, it has managed, on its own, to increasingly make the case for Washington. The regime's belligerent and militant posturing vis-à-vis its WMD program and gross human rights violations, among other issues, are turning the tide against Tehran. Many members of the EU are taking formal and serious positions in support of Iran's freedom movement.

To exert successful pressure on the clerical regime, America needs Europe. Hence, here lies a perfect opportunity to defuse friction with the EU by favoring a multilateral policy and close alliance with Europe in support of the Iranian freedom movement.

4) Election Fix: For decades, America's strength -- its democracy and elective process – has also been viewed as its weakness when it comes to long-term formulation and commitment to foreign policy. Every four years America's domestic politics and electioneering, handicaps its foreign policy considerations.

With national elections (Presidential, the entire House and 2/3 of the Senate) 15 months away, the Bush administration will need to stop the hemorrhage of public opinion support of its foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. Suggesting that the Administration's foreign policy choices will be severely limited by temptations of "quick fixes" and "settling down" the Middle East in favor of badly needed "success stories" and campaign sound-bites.

Unless something dramatically energizes the Iranian political process, within the next six months, it would be unreasonable to expect the Administration to take dramatic risks on Iran -- as U.S. campaign season kicks in by January/February 2004.

However, Iran and the story of its 50 million youth have a place in America's forthcoming elections. What better story than the story of freedom fighting for its place among a disenfranchised generation looking, not away from, but to America for support?

Serious or Curious?

Despite an overall pessimism among Iran experts in regard to exiled Iranian opposition, there has been, in recent months, a curious buzz about an unlikely name: Pahlavi.

The former crown prince, "Reza Pahlavi of Iran," as he prefers to be called, a few years ago embarked on a quiet campaign to re-introduce himself to the world at large, but more especially to the 50 million youth of Iran whom never knew him nor his father.

Young, modern, articulate and genuinely unassuming, Reza Pahlavi has found much success in the West, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, in presenting himself as a selfless "citizen-prince," calling for secularism by way of a referendum – brought about as a result of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign of political defiance.

Careful analysis, as reflected by sentiments within power circles in western capitals, however, suggest Reza Pahlavi's bold public relations campaign significantly outweighs his organizational capabilities inside and, surprisingly, outside Iran.

This analysis suggests that in many respects Reza Pahlavi's strengths also appear to be his weaknesses: His high name identification among all Iranians; his recent success with a well disciplined public relations campaign; as well as, his articulate campaign message serve him as double edged swords: 1) To those who find it counter-intuitive to support a return of monarchy in Iran, the name Pahlavi is an insurmountable problem; 2) To those who find little problem with his message, the fact that he has become an "overnight" media darling in the west is suspect and immediately attributed to a "conspiracy by the powers" to yet-again return a Pahlavi to the peacock throne; 3) Ironically, to those who may be willing to take him at face value, there is a looming contradiction between Reza Pahalvi's public relations campaign and an obvious inability or, worse, lack of desire to assemble, forge, command or partake in a cohesive political mobilization effort (i.e. united opposition); and, 4) finally to those who are not convinced of his formula: "Nonviolent political defiance and civil-disobedience = regime paralysis = facilitating a referendum and secular democracy," he is suspect of either not being serious or, of being motivated by ulterior motives.

It remains to be seen, and especially difficult to gauge, whether the citizen-prince is able to translate his strong rhetoric into a solid emotional connection with the frustrated masses living under the Islamic Republic. His message has great appeal, but any legitimate chance for success largely depends on his ability to personally overcome the serious questions that have, for years, haunted him about his leadership skills and personal commitment to the cause.

Nevertheless, Reza Pahlavi has made inroads and is a name to be reckoned with. If for no other reason, for the very simple fact that the institution he represents still commands emotions among Iranians and can command a natural constituency deeply rooted in Persian culture dating back well before both Islam and Christianity.

http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news_en.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=03&a=1
32 posted on 08/02/2003 4:39:44 PM 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; ...
Iran: A Situation Analysis

August 03, 2003
Iran va Jahan
Koorosh Afshari

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/956863/posts?page=32#32

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
33 posted on 08/02/2003 4:42:28 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for the pings
34 posted on 08/02/2003 4:43:57 PM PDT by firewalk
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To: DoctorZIn
Unless something dramatically energizes the Iranian political process, within the next six months, it would be unreasonable to expect the Administration to take dramatic risks on Iran -- as U.S. campaign season kicks in by January/February 2004.

That seems like an awfully long time to wait. But, then again, it takes time to formulate a plan. And there could be a lot that could transpire behind the scenes.

35 posted on 08/02/2003 4:59:10 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
This was very good and deserved to be posted again.

An important update on the jamming of the satellite broadcasts into Iran. -- DoctorZin

The Power of the Dish and the War of Ideas

By Nir T. Boms
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 1, 2003

On March of 2003, Zia Atabi, a former Iranian rock star placed a small satellite dish on the roof of a former pornographic studio in one of Los Angeles neighborhoods and began broadcasting.

Atabi, formally known as the "Tom Jones of Iran” escaped his homeland shortly after 1979 and found refuge in California, where approximately 600,000 ex-Iranian patriots live today. As is common in many ethnic groups in the United States, The Iranian community enhanced its local cultural activities. Zia, contributed support to his community’s cultural needs by borrowing some money from his wife, and launching a Farsi satellite station. He called it NITV (The National Iranian Television Network) since he wanted to stress its non-partisan nature to his ex-patriot community. The station began airing some old films, music and eventually news and original programs. Few days later he received his first telephone call from Teheran The Iranians on the line were exhilarated, telling him how excited they were to finally see programming that has been banned in Iran for over two decades. This caught Zia by surprise... “What do you mean? ” he asked.... “I am not even broadcasting to Iran!”. Well, He wasn’t. But someone in the satellite dispatch station pushed a button that opened an additional link that quickly went across the ocean. The Iranian regime had feared an American invasion, but did not prepare for an intrusion that entered 300 new homes every single day.

According to Zia, approximately 25 million Iranians who encompass a third of the population have up until now, viewed NITV. It has created a culture around it. Since private satellite dishes are expensive (and not to mention, illegal), the programs are often recorded and distributed to the public on VHS tapes and via the Internet, often bringing large local crowds together for a private screening. Zia was quickly able to set a satellite link to other centers of Farsi speaking communities like those in Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. The channel was received in the Middle East, Europe, the Persian Gulf, South America, and even Australia adding millions of viewers.

“We tell the Iranian about Gandhi and Nehru in India”. Says Zia “We broadcast programs about the iron curtain and about the fall of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, I asked young Iranians to show solidarity with America. The world must understand that the Iranian people do not stand for the terrorists. Using my channel, I asked that they take to the streets and they did. The images of students in the streets of Teheran were broadcasted all over the world”. Ali Dean, an Iranian comedian, known for impersonating ayatollahs was hired by Zia. Ali successfully recreated the popular 1980’s British show “Spitting Image”. The difference was that instead of puppets in the spitting image of Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock, the Farsi speaking community was watching deformed puppets in the image of Mullahs. NITV began fighting the Iranian theocracy by revealing its leaders true faces.

Following NITV’s example, other Farsi news channels begun beaming their way to Iran. Among these are private channels like Azadi TV and Channel One TV, one of the fastest growing Los Angeles-based Farsi TV stations, and government sponsors channels such as Voice Of America and Radio Farda, a 24 hours U.S.- run radio service in Farsi.

In response to this new wave of streaming information, the Mullahs of Iran launched their counter attack. Private ownership of satellite dishes has long been illegal in Iran and is a punishable offence. Armed with government microwave trucks designed to jam satellite signals and help locate the satellite dishes themselves, the Mullahs unleashed the revolutionary guards in the urban and rural parts of the country. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former, very influential Iranian president, ordered an early end to the academic year in order to avoid the forth commemoration of the first wave of student riots July 9th 1999. Iran also reached out to its allies for help. Only a few weeks ago, intelligent sources reported a secret visit to Cuba by Moshen Hashemi, the son of Mullah Rafsanjani. The details of the visit remain on unknown, however by July 4th, 5 days before the anticipated July 9th anniversary, Cuban satellite jamming systems were successful in blocking Parsh TV, Azadi TV, VOA, and NITV broadcasts into Iran. The jamming signal is thought to have come from a monitoring complex outside Havana, a facility built by the Soviet Union to eavesdrop on the United States during the cold war.

Though the Mullahs have been temporarily successful in their efforts to turn off the waves of freedom, Zia believes that the power of the dish has been unleashed and will not be forgotten. He tells me that when Iranian students, Arrested by the republican guard, come out of jail, they immediately call his station. They play a crucial role giving information on the evolving situation on the ground. In turn, Zia promises to send them the new satellite frequencies that will be in use.

Unfortunately, finding alternative ways of reaching the audience in Iran becomes an increasingly difficult task.

Kourosh Abbassi , a spokesperson for Azadi Television, says that they tried changing the satellite frequencies but "within minutes" the new ones were blocked. The task of locating these broadcasts on the satellite dial becomes increasingly more difficult. “The morale is so low here”, adds Mr. Abbassi, as he notes over 2000 responses received from supporter’s in Iran; "Technically if they can do it to us, they can do it to anyone, even to CNN."

On June 28th, Iranian students took to the streets by the thousands - and they are still in the streets today. According to government reports, 4000 of them were arrested (although the actual number is estimated at 10,000), many with the use of excessive force. Some of the Television and Radio stations were able to find alternative ways to reach their audience using short wave, the internet, and telephones. Alireza Morovati, an anchor for Voice of Iran radio station told me that the students were coordinating their activities on the air: “Someone from Shiraz was talking with someone from Teheran, telling them about the demonstration and the riots. Teheran and Shiraz were connected only via Los Angeles” It seems that the battle over the power of the dish is reaching a climax. “Our mission is to bring the voice of freedom to Iran” says Morovati and sometime all it takes is one small dish.

Nir Boms is the Vice President of the Washington based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9168
36 posted on 08/02/2003 8:54:19 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
And I think will deserve to be posted again tomorrow.
37 posted on 08/02/2003 10:17:09 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us at the Iranian Alert -- August 3, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 8.3.2003 | DoctorZin

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

38 posted on 08/03/2003 1:53:11 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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