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Iranian Alert -- August 8, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 8.8.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 08/08/2003 12:01:04 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: iran; iranianmovement; protests; studentmovement
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To: DoctorZIn
Bush administration paralyzed over Iran

By Jim Lobe
AsiaTimes Online 8.8.2003

WASHINGTON - Does the administration of US President George W Bush still consider al-Qaeda and its associates the main target in its almost three-year-old "war on terrorism", or has its military victory in Iraq whetted its appetite for bigger game?

That is in effect the question that the powers-that-be in Iran appear to be posing to Washington at a critical moment in the war's evolution. The administration appears deadlocked over an answer.

According to a series of leaks by US officials, Iran has offered to hand over, if not directly to Washington then to friendly allies, three senior al-Qaeda leaders and might provide another three top terrorist suspects that Washington believes are being held by Tehran.

But its price - for the US military to shut down permanently the operations of an Iraq-based Iranian rebel group that is on the State Department's official terrorism list - might be too high for some hardliners, centered in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, who led the charge for war in Iraq.

Members of this group see the rebels, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), or People's Mujahedin, as potentially helpful to their ambitions to achieve "regime change" in Iran, charter member of Bush's "axis of evil" and a nation that is believed to have accelerated its nuclear-weapons program in recent months.

The question of what to do about the reported Iranian offer is one of the issues being discussed this week in successive visits to Bush's Texas ranch by Secretary of State Colin Powell (who returned from there Wednesday night), Cheney, and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld.

Iran has confirmed that it is holding three al-Qaeda leaders, including Seif al-Adel, considered the network's No 3 and chief of military operations who already has a US$25 million bounty on his head; its spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith; and Saad bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's third-oldest son.

In addition, Washington believes Tehran also has custody of three other much-sought-after targets: Abu Hafs, a senior al-Qaeda operative known as "the Mauritanian"; Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has been depicted by the administration as a key link between al-Qaeda and former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein; and possibly Mohammed al Masri, an al-Qaeda associate active in East Africa, according to a recent report by a special investigative team of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain.

"If Washington could get its hands on even half these guys, it would be the biggest advance since the fall of Afghanistan in the fight against al-Qaeda," said one administration official who declined to be identified. "If we could get them all, that would be a huge breakthrough."

The State Department has been pushing the administration to engage Iran more directly in pursuit of the best deal possible and was reportedly authorized to hold one meeting with the Iranians two weeks ago.

Washington and Tehran broke off bilateral relations during the US Embassy hostage crisis in 1980, but quiet meetings were held over the past year, until they were broken off in mid-May after administration hardliners charged that a series of terrorist attacks carried out against US and other foreign targets in Saudi Arabia on May 12 were organized from Iranian territory, presumably with the approval of elements of its government.

But the same hardliners reportedly oppose a deal with Tehran, which they depict not only as a sponsor of terrorism determined to acquire nuclear weapons, but also an exhausted dictatorship teetering on the verge of collapse that could be easily overthrown in a popular insurrection, with covert US help or even military intervention.

The hawks are backed by the Likud government in Israel, which has been urging Washington to go after Iran since even before the war in Iraq. As soon as Iraq is dealt with, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the New York Post last November, he "will push for Iran to be at the top of the 'to do' list".

Pentagon hardliners, who exert the greatest control over the occupation authority in Iraq, last month authorized the rebirth of the arm of Saddam Hussein's intelligence service - the Mukhabarat - that worked on Iran, according to the Pentagon-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), which is helping in the effort.

That was the same unit that worked closely with the MEK under Saddam Hussein.

The MEK, which began in the late 1960s as a left-wing Islamist movement against the Shah but broke violently with the leaders of the Islamic Republic after the 1978-79 revolution, was given its own bases, tanks and other heavy weapons by the Iraqi leader during the Iran-Iraq War, all of which it retained during his regime to use in raids against Iran, but also to help Saddam put down unrest, particularly after the 1991 Gulf War.

US forces bombed the group's bases in the initial phases of the Iraq campaign this year, but negotiated a ceasefire and eventually a surrender as Washington expanded its control over Iraq. Yet the group has been permitted to retain most of its weapons, remain together, and, despite its listing by the State Department as a terrorist group and Tehran's demands that it be completely dismantled, continue radio broadcasting into Iran.

Although the MEK, which displays many of the characteristics of a cult in its hero-worship of its "first couple", Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, appears to have intelligence assets inside Iran - the group was the first to alert Washington to the existence of a previously unknown nuclear facility this year - most Iran specialists believe it has no popular following there whatsoever, and is mostly despised because of its alliance with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war.

"It's hard to see how they could ever be seen as a political asset to the United States in Iran," one administration official who favors a deal said recently. "The [MEK] is precisely the kind of common enemy against which both the reformists and the conservatives - and even the students - are likely to rally against."

A deal would also reconfirm to an increasingly skeptical Islamic world that al-Qaeda was indeed the primary target of Bush's "war on terror" and not simply a pretext for a major intervention in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to ensure US and Israeli domination of the entire region, say analysts here.

"Our priority should be al-Qaeda, and if we can engage the Iranians tactically to get some high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives, we should," Flynt Leverett, the top Mideast expert on the National Security Council under both presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush until his departure this year, told the New York Times on Saturday.

The same analysts argue that disbanding the MEK would help demonstrate that Washington is not applying a double standard to different terrorist groups, depending on their usefulness. But the Pentagon reportedly remains resistant to stronger action against the group.

"There is no question that we have not disbanded them, and there is an ongoing debate about them between the office of the Secretary of Defense and the State Department," Vince Cannistraro, a former counter-terrorism director in the Central Intelligence Agency, told USA Today this week.

It appears that some officials believe the MEK could yet serve some purpose.

(Inter Press Service)
21 posted on 08/08/2003 8:46:22 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; ...
Bush administration paralyzed over Iran

By Jim Lobe
AsiaTimes Online 8.8.2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
22 posted on 08/08/2003 8:47:33 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for the ping
23 posted on 08/08/2003 9:20:03 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: DoctorZIn
Secret US-Iran Talks?

I am not breaching any secrecy regulation if I say that ALL branches of the Iranian government from clerics of various brands to government officials regularly is in contact with US and EU officials. Apparantly without the knowledge of other parts of the Iranian "government" This has been going on since the 80s (Sic!)It is very confusing.
24 posted on 08/08/2003 10:40:28 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
The [MEK] is precisely the kind of common enemy against which both the reformists and the conservatives - and even the students - are likely to rally against."

Correct, dump them.
25 posted on 08/08/2003 10:44:08 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
(Student news and news of interest in bold.)

US, Israel
Hostilities In Vain

TEHRAN, Aug. 6
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei here on Wednesdaysaid despite the propaganda warfare that a global anti-Iran drive has been formed, Iran's enemies are only the US and Israel.
According to IRNA, Ayatollah Khamenei was addressing the heads of the threebranches of the government, chairman of State Expediency Council, cabinet members, MPs, judicial officials and senior military and police commanders of the country.
The leader noted that the US and Israel showed their hostility towards Iran from thevery beginning of the Islamic Revolution in different ways, such as the Nojeh coup attempt, Tabas military operations, encouraging Iraq to fight against Iran, rendering unconditional support to the former Baathist regime of Iraq during eight wars of war with Iran, attacking Iranian oil platforms, downing an Iranian airbus towards the end of the Iraq-imposed war and imposing various economic sanctions.
"Thanks to Almighty God, all these hostile efforts have been in vain so far," he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei underscored that the only way to withstand the enemies is by forging such a high level of national unity that the enemies would become automatically disappointed with their hostile approach.
Referring to the country's natural resources, the leader stressed that Iran has many potentials to undergo progress and development.
"The enemies of the Islamic Revolution have been forced to admit that Iran is among 10 countries of the world with access to the nuclear fuel cycle know-how he pointed out.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that the Islamic system has succeeded in institutionalizing public participation in electoral undertakings.
"Serving the public under the banner of the Islamic system is source of honor. This glorious feeling should also be conveyed to the youth so that they also feel proud of living in Iran,despite all the enemies' propaganda," he concluded.

Iran Daily August 7, 2003
Reformist Tactic
Siasat-e Rouz reflected on the rumors pertaining to a widening rift among reformist groupings. The paper asserted that veteran reformers argue that the newly-formed reformist entities are extremely radical and that they have a poor track record. How is that the vanguards of the reform movement have only recently spoken about the shabby performance of new reformist groups?" asked the paper.
More senior reformers actually blame the new reformers for the existing economic shortfalls, it added. It claimed that because the public did not vote for reformers the way they were expected in the course of City Council elections last March, some reformist groups, such as the Assembly of Combatant Clerics, have decided to regain people's support by blaming all the existing problems on the so-called neo- reformers.

Khatami's Statements
Yas-e Nou covered the statements of President Mohammad Khatami during his recent meeting with MPs and cabinet mem bers. The paper recalled that the president's remarks have received a mixed reaction. In fact, Khatami's comments could be assessed from two different angles; namely the people whom the chief executive addressed and also the content of his speech, it asserted. It must be clearly understood that the people who were addressed by Khatami are not those whom he expects to win their votes in the next presidential elections, because he cannot become president for another time, it maintained. The crux of the matter is that what Khatami said revealed his concern about the ongoing plots masterminded against the Islamic system and Islam, it highlighted.

US Stance

Resalat in an editorial wrote that the recent standpoint adopted by US President George W. Bush with regard to Iran's nuclear activities was not completely covered inside the country. Bush said that the US wants to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear activities by seeking assistance from the European Union (EU) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it recalled. The paper noted that Bush also intends to force the 18 European member-states of the IAEA's Board of Directors to issue an anti-Iran resolution in an upcoming meeting.

Continued Efforts
Nasim-e Saba in a political commentary discussed the issue of Iran's joining the UN Convention for Removing All Forms of Discriminations Against Women. The Majlis and reformers came under attack by those who consider the Majlis ratification, which urges Iran to join the convention, to be contradictory to Islamic tenets, it stated. The main issue at stake is not what the Majlis has done, but rather that efforts are still underway to portray that the incumbent Majlis and the reformist camp are incompetent, argued the daily.
Amid all this, some ruling elite insist our adminis trators should have "absolute power" and be off limits to "criticism" which actually means "account- ability".
But is this not contradictory to the lofty notion of a religious-democracy?
Sections of the officialdom should realize that the survival of the system largely depends on transparency and putting the performance of senior officials to the full glare of public scrutiny.
The fact remains that constructive criticism is no longer an issue of political or any other convenience. It is a strong and undisputed necessity if we really want to build our country, know our flaws and move forward with confidence, honor, and dignity.
Those who think otherwise should be great enough to do a service to themselves and the nation. The need to get out of the way and kiss politics and economics goodbye.

Learning From Criticism
TEHRAN, Aug. 6--President Mohammad Khatami here on Tuesday called on the nation to continue the historical movement for establishing democracy.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Scientific Committee and the Headquarters for Commemorating the Centenary of the Constitution Movement, he referred to the Constitution Movement as a sym bol of the will and determination of the Iranian nation in the past century to materialize democra cy. He added that though people's attempts failed for various rea sons, the nation never stopped its campaign even after the constitu tion was established, IRNA reported.
Turning to Iran as a forerunner in establishing a democratic system in the region, Khatami said, "I believe that the major success achieved by mankind in the field of human sciences was that power, which is a material con cept, should be harnessed in accordance with a nation's will and determination."
Referring to the democratic rule of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at the outset of Islam, the presi- dent regretted that in practice and similar to the history of other communities, the prophet's demo cratic legacy was violated by powerful empires and eventually replaced by the prevalent system which ignored the national will.
Khatami noted that Iran's Constitution is rooted in the peo- ple's Islamic and national beliefs and marks the historical maturity of a nation determined to release itself from the grip of dictator ship linked to foreign powers.
Turning to traditionalism and western concepts as the major factors behind the Constitution's failure, he reiterated that tradi tionalists and western-oriented groups interfered with the move ment in the name of religion and freedom, and sidelined moderate reformists such as Allameh Naini.

"Unfortunately, our contempo rary community suffers from extremism and needs to be mod erated to help meet people's demands," he declared.

Pakistan Denies Nuke Assistance
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 6--Pakistan has rejected as "completely false, irresponsible and motivated" a US media report alleging Pakistani assistance to Iran in the latter's alleged enrichment program, IRNA reported.
"Such reports appear part of a malicious campaign against Pakistan's consistent and established record of safeguarding its sensitive nuclear technology and ensur- ing that this technology was not transferred by any orga- nization or individual to any other country," a foreign office spokesman said Tuesday.
He was responding to a question regarding a news report in the US, alleging Pakistan's assistance to an alleged Iranian enrichment program.
The spokesman said the allegation had already been denied at the highest level.
"Pakistan's commitments, affirmed at the highest level that it would not export any sensitive technologies to third countries, remain unquestionable. Pakistan has a strong export control regime in place. Pakistan's record in this regard is impeccable," he added.
With regard to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the spokesman said, "Pakistan's prominent scientist had never set foot in Iran or ever met with any Iranian nuclear experts. The false allegation by the so-called defector from Iran that A.Q. Khan had a villa on the Caspian Sea further demonstrated the baseless and fabricated nature of these wild flights of fancy."

Call for Tracking Journalist's Killer
TEHRAN, Aug. 6--Wife of Iranian journalist Mahmoud Saremi, who was killed by Talibanmilitia when they captured Mazar-i-Sharif,urged the Iranian government to identify the killer of her husband. Khadijeh Rouzbahanisaid here on Wednesday that those who were behind Saremi's death have not yet been identified since five years ago.
She went on to say that theambiguities surrounding Saremi's death add to the great sorrow of his death.
"I expect the officials to help Saremi's family to visit Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan, where he was killed,lt she said.
Born in 1968 in Boroujerd, Saremi worked at the state news agency IRNA as an expert in 1992. He was sent to Afghanistan in 1996 as the head of IRNA bureau in Kabul and undertook the responsibility of disseminating news and developments about the war-torn country.
Saremi was killed on August 7, 1998, along with eight Iranian diplomats. The day is annually marked in Iran as Journalist Day.

UK Unions Slam US Policies
LONDON, Aug. 6--British labor unions have been urged to voice their opposition to US threats against Iran in the annual congress slated for next month.
According to IRNA, they are also expected to con- demn the US-led war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq and call for the end of the war-ravaged country's occu pation.
The congress, which represents some seven million British laborers, will also emphasize the necessity of administering justice in occupied Palestine.
In a communiqué on the threshold of their annual meeting, British labor unions denounced US efforts to put pressure on such independent states as Iran, Syria and Cuba to change their regimes. It added that the US- led war on Iraq further destabilized the Middle East region and gave rise to the possibility of acts of terror worldwide.

Kharrazi Sympathizes With Russian Victims
MOSCOW, Aug. 6--
Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has expressed condolences over an explosion at a Russian military hospital, which claimed at least 50 lives.
In a message to his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, a copy of which was faxed to IRNA officehere, the Iranian foreign minister regretted theblast and hoped for an end to such incidents.
"With deep regret, I condole your Excellency and the Russian nation, especially the bereaved families, over the deathof several Russian nationals in the tragic Mozdok hospital incident in North Ossetia," Kharrazi said.
"I hope that the existing crises will end in favor of the peace-loving Russian people in the wake of helpful conciliatory negotiations."
A vehicle packed withexplosives blew up outside a hospital in a Russian region bordering Chechnya on August 1, killing at least 20 people.
Mozdok, North Ossetia, was the base for Russian troops when they entered Chechnya to deal with a separatist rebellion in 1999.
Mozdok was also the scene of a suicide bombing two months ago when a woman blew herself up killing 18 people, mainly military pilots on a bus in the outskirts of the town.

Jakarta Bomb BlastsCondemned
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi here on Wednesday condemned a bomb blast at a hotel in Jakarta which left at least 15 people dead and tens others injured. The massive explosion at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on Thursday was caused by a car bomb.
Expressing Iran's sympathy with the Indonesian government and the families of the victims, Asefi said that such inhuman and illegal acts only incite anger and hatred.

Secular Systems Cannot Survive
HAMEDAN, Aug. 6--A senior cleric said secular ruling systems can no longer survive as human beings realize the futile nature of the world minus the here after.
Leader's representative and Shiraz Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Mohieddin Haeri-Shirazi, added that many are of the view that "religious establishments are on the verge of extinction, while this is the beginning of religious rule in the world".
"In the current age, human beings have figured out what futility is and those who wrongly believe that spir- ituality is a thing of the past must know that mankind has made new attempts for greater familiarization with the creator," he analyzed.
The senior cleric also noted that while criminal and brutal acts are on the rise worldwide, man's endeavors to find the truth has also improved significantly.
Haeri-Shirazi pointed out that the man of today does not voice strong opposition to secularist thoughts, although religious rationality has greatly improved. He went on to say that the enemy has resorted to economic means to lure the youth away from the 1979 Islamic Revolution's lofty ideals.

Ganji in hospital
TEHRAN, Aug. 6--
Relatives of prominent political activist Akbar Ganji said he has been taken to hospital from prison on Monday after his health deteriorated, the student news agency ISNA reported.
They also said that thejailed journalist was medically treated in the prison before he was transferred to a Tehran hospital for further treatment.
Ganji is reportedly suffering from a chronic flu.
His relatives told ISNA that he is still not allowed to speak to his family.
Ganji was sentenced in 2000 to five years in jail by a revolutionary court in Tehran on charges of undermining national security and carrying out propaganda against the Islamic system.

Iraqi TV Director Resigns
Ahmad Al-Rikaby
TEHRAN, Aug. 6--
Managing director of Iraq's national TV net- work stepped down for what he said was the humiliating failure of US propaganda against Iran and the former regime of Saddam Hussein.
Ahmad Al-Rikaby, a former London-basecorrespondent for Radio Free Iraq, was quoted by the Saudi daily Ar-Riyadh as saying that the US has lost its psychological war against Iran and Saddam.
He also said that Washington has failed to bring Iraqi media under control, because the "Iranian Al-Alam satellite TV as well as Qatar-based Al-Jazeera are enormously popular in the war-battered country."
The former political dissident went on to say that the US must try to meet the Iraqi people's demands.
Al-Rikaby's family was forced into exile when the Ba'ath party came to power in 1968.
"It has been very difficult not to have a homeland, or rather to have a homeland you cannot visit without risking your life," he said.
His family sought refuge in seven different countries. He complained about not knowing the comfort of his close rela tives.
"When I speak now with other Iraqis in exile, we talk mainly about the future. We don't dwell on torture inside Iraq because it is something so obvious. We are concerned about the future--how to change the current situation, how to rebuild our country. We talk about our dreams of a democratic Iraq, whereyou can travel, write and express your opinion about the government or any other subject. As a journalist, I want to meet the next Iraqi president and ask him tough questions without fearing for my life," he said.

"IRAN" faces new complaints
TEHRAN, Aug. 6--
Managing director of the Persian daily ‚Iran™ showed up at Branch III of the Government Employees and Press Judicial Complex, ISNA reported on Wednesday.
Abdorrasoul Vesal was summoned to respond to a compli- ant filed against "Iran" by the prosecutor general for printing a headline about Information Ministry being dissatisfied with the follow-up on the case of Zahra Kazemi in its July 4 issue.
After leaving the complex, Vesal said, "After several hours of interrogations, I was informed that in addition to this complaint, other complaints have also been filed against "Iran" for printing the viewpoints of Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (an outspoken veteran journalist), Mohsen Armin (a prominent MP),Mohammad Reza Khatami (Majlis first vice speaker) and Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour (head of the Majlis reformist faction).
"I have been given five days to defend myself against these complaints.
Of course, the Information Ministry has not yet directly reacted and the first complaint was only filed by the prosecutor general."
Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, died of brain hemorrhage caused by a severe blow to her head while in police custody.
The popular daily has been accused of spreading lies, libel, and propigating against the Islamic system.


26 posted on 08/08/2003 11:26:21 AM PDT by Nix 2 ( QUINN AND ROSE IN THE AM)
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To: DoctorZIn
Bush administration paralyzed over Iran

IMHO I would state that as "Bush Administration appears to be paralysed over Iran situation".

27 posted on 08/08/2003 2:27:49 PM PDT by EGPWS
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Iranian journalists refuse prizes in sign of rejection

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 8, 2003

Several Iranian journalists and reporters who were invited, yesterday evening to a meeting hosted by the Islamic republic Ministry of Propagation of Islamic Culture, refused taking their prizes and left the meeting sign of opposition.

These journalists protested to the action of the regime's officials and the Minister as they avoided any comment on the fate of the arrested journalists and the murder of Zahra Kazemi.

It' to note that the meeting took place according to the official "Journalists Day", while tens of Iranian journalists have been murdered or imprisoned by the Islamic republic regime.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
28 posted on 08/08/2003 2:43:32 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Journalists Call for Release of 21 Colleagues

August 08, 2003

TEHRAN -- Iranian journalists on Friday called for the release of 21 imprisoned colleagues, many of whom have been detained in the past few weeks making Iran the biggest jail for journalists in the Middle East.

''Every morning when I want to go to work I feel this could be my last day and they will arrest me,'' Akbar Montajebi, who writes for the liberal Yas-e No newspaper, said at a sit-in organised by the Trade Union of Iranian Journalists.

''And when I get to the office, I can see the same feelings in the eyes of my colleagues,'' he said.

About 200 people attended the sit-in, held on the Islamic Republic's annual Journalists' Day.

The print media has been a battleground in recent years between reformers who advocate greater freedom of speech and conservatives who fear too much press freedom may undermine religious values and Iran's Islamic political system.

Around 100 liberal publications have been shut down in the last four years, often as the result of closed door, jury-less court hearings.

According to the Paris-based rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), at least 14 journalists have been arrested in Iran in the last few weeks on charges ranging from ''propaganda against the regime'' to ''publishing an improper photograph.''

RSF says Iran has more journalists behind bars than any other country in the Middle East.

''Those lucky enough to have been freed have talked of very harsh conditions of detention, psychological pressure and mistreatment,'' Robert Menard, secretary-general of RSF, said in a statement earlier this week.

Last month a Canadian photojournalist died in custody after receiving a severe blow to the head following her arrest for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison where many political dissidents are held.

The wave of newspaper closures and arrests has intimidated those journalists who continue to work, said Mohsen Kadivar, a dissident cleric who addressed the sit-in.

''Right now there is self-censorship and our newspapers are not even mentioning the main issues that are happening in society,'' said Kadivar, who was convicted in 1998 of engaging in propaganda against the Islamic state and jailed for 18 months.

Kadivar read out the names of all 21 journalists currently in jail and criticised conservative-controlled constitutional watchdogs for blocking a Press Law which would have improved the rights of journalists in the country.
29 posted on 08/08/2003 2:45:32 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 Journalists Call for Release of 21 Colleagues

August 08, 2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
30 posted on 08/08/2003 2:46:14 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rumsfeld Downplays Secret Meeting On Iran By Officials

August 08, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
Nasdaq Headlines

NEW YORK -- Pentagon officials held a clandestine meeting with Iranians who were reportedly seeking a regime change in Iran, but the gathering took place more than a year ago and "it went nowhere," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday.

Rumsfeld was downplaying a Newsday report published Friday that claims Pentagon hardliners pressing for regime change in Iran held secret and unauthorized meetings in Paris with Manucher Ghorbanifar - a controversial arms dealer who was also a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.

At press briefing in Crawford, Texas, broadcast by major TV news channels, Rumsfeld said two Pentagon officials were approached by people claiming to have information about Iran. A meeting did take place, "and the information was moved around" between agencies before being dropped, Rumsfeld said.

"As I understand it, there wasn't anything there that was of substance or of value that needed to be pursued further," Rumsfeld said.
31 posted on 08/08/2003 2:48:02 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; ...
Rumsfeld Downplays Secret Meeting On Iran By Officials

August 08, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
Nasdaq Headlines

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
32 posted on 08/08/2003 2:48:50 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: Tehran Takes A Keen Interest In Regional Road Building

By Antoine Blua

While the United States increases pressure to isolate Iran, Tehran is pressing ahead to build a highway into neighboring Afghanistan. Iran, which is seeking to establish itself as a main trade route, sees Afghanistan as a potential land link between the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and China.

Prague, 8 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Representatives of two Iranian companies this week arrived in Tajikistan to assist in the construction of the 5-kilometer Anzab tunnel, providing a direct link between Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe and the northern city of Khujand. Tehran is giving $31 million in loans and grants to Tajikistan to complete the work by 2006.

The new link will bypass the existing route via Uzbekistan, which requires a transit visa for Tajiks traveling from one part of their homeland to another, and sometimes closes the border without notice, creating traffic chaos and trade disruptions.

Iranian Road and Transportation Minister Ahmad Khorram mentioned last month that the Anzab tunnel is part of a broad transport blueprint, in which Afghanistan plays a central role. The plan consists of establishing a transit route running from Iran through Herat in western Afghanistan, Mazar-e Sharif and Sherkhan Bandar in northern Afghanistan to Tajikistan, and from there up to China.

Mohammad-Reza Djalili is a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He told RFE/RL that Iran has been developing several transport plans since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when the possibility arose to become a major transit country.

"There are at least three projects: the Caspian oil-and-gas-pipeline project; the so-called north-south corridor linking Northern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Iran, the Persian Gulf, and then India [by sea]. Iran's [road] plan in Afghanistan is in keeping with a third project, the so-called new Silk Road. It is a question of making Iran a transit country for two Central Asian states, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, via Afghanistan, and then to extend this route to China," Djalili said.

This year in June, the Uzbek and Tajik presidents, Islam Karimov and Imomali Rakhmonov, signed two separate trilateral transport agreements in Tehran with their Iranian and Afghan counterparts, Mohammad Khatami and Hamid Karzai, envisaging the construction of land routes. Accordingly, Iran would provide access to international routes, while Afghanistan would connect Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to Iran.

Central Asia already is connected to Iran's highway and rail networks via Turkmenistan. However, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan seek to access Iran's developed transportation infrastructure and the Persian Gulf by a shorter land link through Afghanistan.

Tajik Transport Ministry spokesman Mohammad Yusuf Shodiev explained what the completion of road links with Afghanistan means for the region: "Passing from Tajikistan to Afghanistan, and from there to Iran, would certainly be another move to break Tajikistan's isolation. All the Central Asian countries are trying to build as many international-standard highways as possible between their nations."

Iran's projects to improve Afghan roads and link them to its own transport system include the 125-kilometer highway connecting the Iranian city of Dogharun to Herat, and the Milak bridge over the Helmand River between Iran and Afghanistan. Iranian Minister Ahmad Khorram stated earlier in June that his country has allocated $43 million for the former and between $3 million and $4 million for the latter.

On its own territory, Iran is to upgrade the road between Milak and the Iranian port of Chabahar, on the Persian Gulf, to facilitate international trade. Afghanistan is to receive the right to use the port of Chabahar with a 90 percent discount on port fees, except for oil tankers.

According to Hooman Peimani, a Geneva-based independent consultant, the connection of the Uzbek and Tajik road infrastructure to Iran through Afghanistan will not translate into a major change in the region's economy, as the two Central Asian republics have very limited industrial production and exports.

However, in the long run, the connection of Iranian and Chinese roads via Afghanistan will turn Iran into a major intersection of trade, connecting Europe to China's fast-growing economy and 1.3 billion-strong domestic market.

"Iran, India, and Russia have created the north-south corridor to connect Europe to Asia via land routes and also sea routes. Connecting China and Afghanistan to the Iranian routes in the long run will help the north-south corridor to become even more interesting for all parties in Asia and Europe, because that will give them, particularly the Europeans, a land access to China through the shortest possible way. And of course it also gives the Chinese the possibility to try to decrease their dependency on the American market," Peimani said.

Peimani noted that China's expanding international trade could generate billions of dollars in transit fees for Iranians, while uplifting their regional status and political influence. It will also help stabilize Afghanistan.

"In the long run, if the connections become reliable and Iran conducts huge international transactions to and from China or the Central Asian countries via that road, that operation would generate a huge amount of income for Afghanistan in terms of transit fees," Peimani said.

More generally, Peimani pointed out, multilateral transport agreements have the potential to significantly expand regional cooperation to deal with common concerns. These include peace and security, the two major prerequisites for economic prosperity for the entire region. However, Peimani added, this is all dependant the actual implementation of the agreements, for which specific dates are yet to be announced.

Djalili sees three obstacles -- technical, financial, and political -- to the implementation of Iran's road projects: "First of all, there are technical obstacles: the digging of north-south tunnels in Tajikistan requires, for instance, sophisticated methods. Then there is a financial dimension: Iran has relatively limited [financial] means, although it has agreed to invest in Afghanistan and Tajikistan to improve transport infrastructures. There is also a political obstacle, owing to Iran's isolation on the international stage and to its very bad relations with Washington, which has increased its presence in the region."

Furthermore, Afghanistan's continued instability means the roads will not translate into an immediate jackpot. Unknown attackers killed six Afghan soldiers and the driver of a U.S.-based aid group in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday (6 August) night.
33 posted on 08/08/2003 2:52:18 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: Tehran Takes A Keen Interest In Regional Road Building

By Antoine Blua
Voice of America 8.8.2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
34 posted on 08/08/2003 2:53:15 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Go easy, says Khatami

Middle-east Times 8.8.2003

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has urged the judiciary to show leniency to dozens of students who were arrested during pro-democracy protests in June and July.

The announcement follows growing calls by student bodies, reformist politicians and human rights groups for the release of students arrested during street protests which took place in several Iranian cities in the past two months.

Judiciary officials said in July that 4,000 people were arrested during the protests although more than half of them were quickly released.

Mohsen Safaei Farahani, parliament's special envoy to investigate the status of detained students, said that 30 were being held in Tehran's Evin prison, where most of Iran's leading political dissidents are detained.

Local analysts said Khamenei's move on Tuesday may indicate an effort by Iran's clerical establishment to ease lingering tensions left by the protests and the wave of arrests.

His instruction to the judiciary came in response to a letter he received from two of his appointed representatives in tertiary education.

"We are asking you, if you agree, to order that the few [arrested] students... be handled based on Islamic kindness and mercy and the grounds be prepared for their release," Mohsen Qomi and Muhammad Hassan Aboutorabi wrote in their letter to Khamenei.

Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters in the Islamic Republic, said he agreed generally with this suggestion but that it was up to the institutions responsible for their detention to decide how the leniency would be exercised.

Local media earlier this week reported that Tehran's Revolutionary Court had sentenced two students.

One received a 10 million rial ($1,250) fine and a suspended sentence of 30 lashes. The other was handed a three-month jail term and a suspended sentence of 50 lashes. Four other students were acquitted.

35 posted on 08/08/2003 2:54:18 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; ...
Go easy, says Khatami

Middle-east Times 8.8.2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
36 posted on 08/08/2003 2:55:37 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Chinese Bank Gives Iranian Company Credit for Trade Deal

Biz News
Aug 8, 2003

SHANGHAI - The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Shanghai Branch will provide an Iranian passenger transport company with US$84.46 million worth of buyer's credit for an export deal.

An agreement on the deal was signed on Wednesday between representatives of the bank and the State Bank of Iran.

Under the agreement, Raja, a state-owned railway company operated by the state railway administration of Iran, will use the credit to import 150 first-class carriages and 25 generator cars from China for its construction of a railway hub in the Middle East.

It was the third time the Chinese bank had provided financial support to China-Iran projects.
37 posted on 08/08/2003 5:41:33 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Pentagon met with discredited figure from Iran-Contra scandal

The Associated Press
8/8/03 6:54 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that Pentagon officials met more than a year ago with a long-discredited Iranian middleman from the Iran-Contra scandal.

Rumsfeld did not say exactly when the discussion with Manucher Ghorbanifar took place but he characterized it as a meeting with people who had information about Iranians that they wanted to provide to the U.S. government. He didn't elaborate.

A senior Pentagon official said the Defense Department participants were two people from the office of Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith and that the meeting was about two years ago, which would place it around the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Standing by Rumsfeld's side at the president's Texas ranch, President Bush said, "We support the aspirations of those who desire freedom in Iran" when he was asked if the meeting was a good idea and if his administration wants a regime change in Iran.

The two Pentagon officials who met with Ghorbanifar were Harold Rhode and Larry Franklin. Franklin was on loan to Feith's office from the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the senior Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Feith is the undersecretary for policy.

Rumsfeld's comments followed disclosure of the Ghorbanifar contact in the newspaper Newsday.

"One or two Pentagon people were approached by some people who had information about Iranians that wanted to provide information to the United States government," said Rumsfeld.

Ghorbanifar, according to congressional testimony 15 years ago, was among those suggesting that profits from the Reagan White House's secret arms-for-hostages deals with Iran be funneled into covert arms shipments to U.S.-backed Contra rebels fighting the leftist government of Nicaragua.

Subsequent public exposure of the two operations that the Reagan administration had concealed from Congress gave rise to the scandal that scarred the last two years of Reagan's presidency.

Known to the CIA even before the Iran-Contra scandal as someone to avoid, Ghorbanifar in the 1980s failed two lie detector tests for the spy agency, which issued a "burn notice" to other agencies advising that the U.S. government should have nothing to do with him.

"Ghorbanifar is clearly a fabricator and wheeler-dealer who has undertaken activities prejudicial to U.S. interests," stated a CIA report that surfaced in congressional hearings into the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987.

Despite the CIA report, Ghorbanifar, an exiled Iranian businessman, managed to attend meeting with Reagan's aides about arms deals, playing on U.S. desires to free American hostages held by terrorists in Lebanon.

When asked to explain the Pentagon's contact with Ghorbanifar, Rumsfeld said that "people come in offering suggestions or information or possible contacts, and sometimes they're pursued."

"A meeting did take place, and the information was moved around the interagency process to all the departments and agencies," said the defense secretary. "There wasn't anything there that was of substance or of value that needed to be pursued further."

Rumsfeld said it was "absolutely not" the case that the meeting with Ghorbanifar was intended to be part of any other ongoing, unofficial talks with Iranians.

The Bush administration's posture toward Iran has become increasingly strident since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

After Iran's pro-reform president was re-elected in the summer of 2001, some Iranians had predicted Tehran would push for improved relations with the United States, but Iran's supreme leader ruled out any Iranian help for a U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan.

Iran, however, condemned the Sept. 11 attacks and assured U.S. officials through Swiss intermediaries it would try to rescue any American military personnel it found in distress on its territory.

In his State of the Union speech on Jan. 29, 2002, President Bush characterized Iran as being part of an axis of evil. Since then administration officials have repeatedly denounced what they characterize as Iran's expanded support of regional terrorist groups and its program to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is solely to produce electricity. ------

AP Pentagon reporter Pauline Jelinek contributed to this story.
38 posted on 08/08/2003 5:43:35 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; ...
Pentagon met with discredited figure from Iran-Contra scandal

The Associated Press

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
39 posted on 08/08/2003 5:46:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
There have been a few posts in the past inquiring about present day Tehran.
Thought I'd post a few photos

40 posted on 08/08/2003 7:53:24 PM PDT by nuconvert
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