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Iranian Alert -- August 16, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 8.16.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 08/16/2003 12:04:44 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; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement
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To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; dixiechick2000; McGavin999; Valin
Iran: Another Deck of Cards Needed
News Analysis by J.J. Johnson
21 posted on 08/16/2003 10:49:32 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: nuconvert
"...our ancestors were the pioneers in that struggle."

Why not follow in their footsteps and skip Islam.
22 posted on 08/16/2003 10:51:16 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert
Customs role should change to promote Iran's economic status

Tehran, Aug 16, IRNA -- Head of Iran's Customs Administration Masoud
Karbasian here on Saturday said that to promote Iran's status in
the world economic scene, the general role of customs should change.
He told IRNA that given the decisive role of electronic trade in
the world, mechanized services and electronic customs should develop
across the country.
"At present, over 90 percent of Iran's trade exchange is handled
mechanically. We are determined to apply the method of electronic
manifest, according to which the client is notified on the
information about products by the shipping company prior to its
delivery to customs," he added.
Stressing that mechanization of customs affairs will expedite
the process, he added that once the system of payment after the
release of goods becomes effective, the investors capitals will no
more be kept suspended at customs.
He reiterated that the growing trend of the world trade requires
a change in the customs in proportion to it.
Karbasian said that heavier punishment for smuggling of goods
has prompted the customs to safeguard the benefits of the community
more effectively.
"Customs plays a decisive role by preventing import of unhealthy
foodstuff, non-standard medicine, drugs, arms, unethical published
material and infected cattle," he added.
The official said that Iran's Customs Administration is
determined to encourage domestic producers and investors to attend
the world markets to facilitate export.
23 posted on 08/16/2003 11:00:55 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: AdmSmith; nuconvert; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Valin; McGavin999
Iran says Argentina playing politics over ‘94 bomb

TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused Argentina’s judiciary on Thursday of playing politics after an Argentine judge ordered the arrest of eight Iranian officials suspected of involvement in a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires.

“The sentence of the Argentine judge is a political sentence and we condemn it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid ........

24 posted on 08/16/2003 11:08:46 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; nuconvert; dixiechick2000; AdmSmith; Valin; piasa; Eala; McGavin999; ...
Profile: Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani

Once considered a progressive force, he is widely seen to have moved closer to the conservative camp since the election of the reformist President, Mohammad Khatami.

President for two terms from 1989-97, Mr Rafsanjani is currently chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, as well as a deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts.

The Expediency Council arbitrates in disputes between the Majlis, Iran's parliament, and the Guardian Council, which can block legislation. The Assembly of Experts appoints the Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Mr Rafsanjani's pre-revolutionary credentials earned him a place among the trusted advisers of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He established himself as a powerful figure soon after the revolution as co-founder of the Islamic Republican Party. The party played a major role in Iranian politics until its disbandment in 1987 following internal wrangling over policy.

Mr Rafsanjani was Majlis speaker from 1980-89. In the last year of the 1980-88 war with Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini appointed him acting commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

He is seen as the main influence behind Ayatollah Khomeini's acceptance of the UN Security Council resolution which ended the war.

As president between 1989 and 1997, Mr Rafsanjani sought to encourage a rapprochement with the West and re-establish Iran as a regional power. His influence in Lebanon helped bring about the release of Western hostages in the early 1990s.

Domestically, he has opposed harsh Islamic penal codes and promoted better job prospects for women. His daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, is a known champion of women's rights. Her reformist publication Zan (Woman) was closed down by the hardliners in 1997.

Since the war in Iraq, he has used Friday prayers to denounce US "plots" in the region.

"Anyone who stretches out their hands towards Iran will have those hands cut off," he said in one sermon.

And he warned students who took to the streets in June over the slow pace of reform that the US was "pinning its hopes" on them. "They should take care they are not entrapped by the Americans' sinister networks."
25 posted on 08/16/2003 11:20:24 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; nuconvert; dixiechick2000; AdmSmith; Valin; piasa; Eala; McGavin999; ...
Profile: Reza Pahlavi

Reza Pahlavi is the eldest son of the former Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Followers see him as the heir to the Peacock Throne.

Since the death of his father in exile in 1980, he has been a focus for monarchists and other dissidents hoping to oust the authorities in Tehran.

Some Washington hawks are said to regard him as their most promising ally in pushing for regime change in Iran.

In 1979, when his father was swept from power, Reza Pahlavi was in Texas completing his air force training.

After a number of years in Egypt and Morocco, he moved to a Washington suburb in 1984, where he still lives with his wife and two daughters.

The extent of his support among Iranians at home and abroad is difficult to gauge.

But since the reformists' poor showing in local Iranian elections in early 2003, there are signs Reza Pahlavi is seeking to broaden his constituency in a possible bid for a future political role.

"In the past I defended the idea of a constitutional monarchy," he told a Turkish newspaper in June 2003. "But my views have changed. I think the best for Iran is a secular and democratic system."

'New chapter'

His vision for Iran is set out on his website. It speaks of a country in the "abyss" of isolation, inflation, unemployment and corruption.

The time has come to write a "new chapter", it says, where freedom and prosperity for Iranians, including women, are guaranteed. The way ahead leads through a referendum, then on to "free and fair" elections.

In June 2003 he told London's Financial Times that regime change could happen "in months, or in one or two years".

Comparing the situation in Iran to the economic decline of 1978, which precipitated the Islamic Revolution, he said he was committed to "non-violent civil disobedience".

And he appealed to the opposition to organise an Afghan-style loya jirga to map out the future.

But, according to Iranian media, Reza Pahlavi's campaigning has not gone down well at home.

Reformists have criticised what they see as his attempt to exploit the June student unrest in Tehran to further his own political ends.

26 posted on 08/16/2003 11:25:31 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: Hard-Liners Strike Down Bill To Loosen Election Restrictions

August 15, 2003
Radio Free Europe
Charles Recknagel and Azam Gorgin

Prague -- A reformist bill to loosen conservatives' hold over Iran's election process looks ever more doomed to failure after hard-liners struck it down this week for a second time.

The parliamentary bill, originally written at the initiative of President Mohammad Khatami, seeks to limit the ability of Iran's watchdog Guardians Council to vet and bar candidates running for public office. The conservative-dominated council routinely uses its power to screen candidates for vague qualities, such as loyalty to the Islamic Revolution, in order to disqualify liberals from elections.

The watchdog council, which also vets parliamentary bills for conformance to the Islamic Republic's constitution, rejected the bill and two other reformist initiatives on 13 August on the grounds they were unconstitutional and against Islamic law. The other two bills required Iran to adopt United Nations conventions on eliminating torture and ending discrimination against women.

The latest rejection of Khatami's election-reform initiative comes almost a year after he first sent it to parliament. The parliament is now considered likely to resubmit the bill to the council yet again in hopes of reaching some compromise. Khatami has said he does not want the dispute to go to arbitration by another, higher body. That body, the conservative Expediency Council, would have the authority to increase the Guardians Council's powers further if it ruled against the parliament.

Analysts say the new setback for the election-reform bill could be a signal that Iran's hard-liners have made up their minds to use the candidate-screening process to wrest back control of the parliament from reformists in the next legislative election, due in February.

This week's rejection of the bill closely follows moves by the council to set up scores of permanent provincial election-supervision offices around the country to monitor the statements and records of potential candidates. Reformists have called the new offices illegal.

Firuz Guran, a Tehran journalist, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda recently that he expects the next legislative elections to go to the conservatives.

Speaking to Farda correspondent Fereydoon Zarnegar, he said: "I think that the next parliamentary seats will be filled by the right-wing conservatives. If people are willing to go to the polls, they must realize that they have to vote for the candidates chosen by the Guardians Council. The next parliament will pass a piece of legislation or two for the people's welfare, but it will be run by totalitarians."

Other observers say there appears to be little reformists can do to derail any such plans. Sadeq Zibakalam, a professor at Tehran University, said the Islamic Republic's constitution deliberately divides authority over elections between the unelected Guardians Council -- whose members are appointed by the supreme leader -- and the Interior Ministry, which is a branch of the elected government.

He told correspondent Zarnegar the division of powers makes it difficult for reformists to use the executive branch to close the new provincial election-monitoring offices or put other practical limits on the Guardians Council's operations. "Unfortunately, in the Islamic Republic we have parallel institutions where some are linked to the Supreme Leadership [appointed] and some to the Republic [elected]. They often have conflicts since their realm of responsibilities has never been specified and both the Guardians Council and the Ministry of Interior can legally oversee the elections," Zibakalam said.

Iran's conservative camp rejects the reformist charges that the Guardians Council selectively screens out liberal candidates. The conservatives say the reformists' own sweep of the parliamentary elections four years ago proves the screening process is impartial. The council claims to screen out only those candidates who are "antirevolutionary" or have criminal records.

As conservatives and reformists battle over candidate screening, there are increasing signs that the Iranian public is losing faith in elections as a way to bring about change. The most recent elections, the nationwide local and municipal polls in February, saw 28 percent voter turnout, compared to 60 percent in the previous local elections of 1999. The February local elections saw mostly only hard-core conservatives going to the polls, resulting in a severe setback for reformist candidates.

Zibakalam said Iran's conservatives appear to be ready to accept low voter turnouts so long as they win at the polls. "I think the conservatives will be the sole beneficiaries [of the next elections], and will utilize their utmost power to refute the competency of [reformist] candidates," he said. "Undoubtedly, not many people will come to the polls."

He said of 28 million voters who went to the polls in the last legislative election in 2000, "only 14, 15, or 16 million will vote [this time]. The conservatives are fully aware and have accepted this fact and are prepared to pay its international and internal political consequences. Under no circumstance will the conservatives allow the [next] parliament to be filled with reformists and have legislative power out of the right wing's hands."

Khatami publicly warned hard-liners this week that their opposition to reforms is alienating the country's youth and storing up trouble for the future. He said, "Ignoring young people and their demands and misusing religion and Islamic values to oust political rivals from the scene could create big problems for society."

The president, re-elected two years ago on promises to push reform, also acknowledged that he has largely been unable to deliver. He said that "recently it has been difficult for me to speak because...many of my opinions, my beliefs, and my promises which I expressed truthfully and sincerely and were supported by the people have not been fulfilled."

Still, despite the continuing string of setbacks being suffered by the reformist camp, few observers in Iran expect the demands for change to die away -- as many conservatives hope.

Asked if he expected a conservative takeover of parliament to end public pressure for reforms, journalist Guran replied, "Not at all...people have not vested all their hopes [for change] in one or two reformists, but in themselves."
27 posted on 08/16/2003 12:20:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Iran: Hard-Liners Strike Down Bill To Loosen Election Restrictions

August 15, 2003
Radio Free Europe
Charles Recknagel and Azam Gorgin

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
28 posted on 08/16/2003 12:21:08 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran and the Bomb: Three Endings

August 14, 2003
Shijie Xinwen
Lu Ling

In the years since the end of the Cold War, the United States has put a strategic focus on containing countries that are capable of challenging its superpower status. But the events of Sept. 11, 2001, convinced the Americans that antiterrorism and antiproliferation are their highest priority. Considering the general political atmosphere in the United States, it was just a matter of time before it started investigating Iran’s nuclear plan.

After a swift victory in Iraq, the Americans came to believe that it was a good time to solve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. So they went ahead and began pressuring Iran to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In a way, the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program is just the inevitable result of America’s strategic readjustment. But one can’t help but wonder what the results will be in this round of the U.S. battle with Iran.

Iran suspects that the United States is politicizing the nuclear issue and is really trying to kill Iran’s legitimate nuclear plan and activities in the name of nonproliferation. So Iran insists that the “international community” should guarantee Iran the right to obtain advanced nuclear technology and develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In a press conference hosted by the British Foreign Minister Jack Straw during his recent visit to Iran, the Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, told the press, “When we make any concessions on our side, we have the right to request the other side to make a positive response accordingly.”

Having drawn lessons from the Clinton administration’s handling of the North Korean nuclear issue, the Bush administration believes it is necessary to seek a thorough solution to the issue by uprooting Iran’s nuclear programs and eliminating any possibility of their re-emerging. The United States has explicitly refused to bargain with Iran about its “right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.” The general U.S. strategy is to eliminate any possibility that Iran might develop nuclear weapons through a program of checks and inspections; to create barriers and obstacles against Iran’s peaceful development of nuclear energy; to pressure certain countries to terminate their nuclear partnerships with Iran; and to eventually suffocate and kill Iran’s nuclear program in the cradle.

Taking the current situation into consideration, the current controversy over Iran’s nuclear program has three possible outcomes:

Scenario one: Iran will fight to the end.

One possible scenario is that Iran would fight to its last breath, refusing to accept any “flash inspections” from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Since the [1979] Islamic Revolution, U.S.-Iranian relations have ebbed and flowed but have always been marked by confrontation and conflict. Iran’s nuclear program actually has a lot to do with the current state of the relationship between the United States and Iran. If Iran wants to change its strategically passive position in its relationship with the United States, it must possess some “decisive” leverage and develop a strategic counterbalance against the United States.

In the past two years, the U.S. antiterrorism campaign has succeeded in Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States is tightening its net around Iran. This galvanized Iran’s determination to pursue nuclear weapons even more vigorously. If Iran does sign the additional protocol, its nuclear program will die in the cradle or be put off indefinitely. Iran will lose the opportunity to turn the situation around in its confrontation with the United States.

Recently, Iran’s religious elites and high-level officials have started discussions about Iran’s future. The conservative extremists claim that Iran should develop nuclear weapons at any expense and in spite of U.S. pressure. They propose that Iran should completely isolate itself from the international community and revert to its “not West, not East” position of the early revolutionary era. As the conservatives are currently in charge of setting the country’s foreign policy, it is possible that Iran might make some drastic moves under intense pressure.

If that is the case, the United States, once again, will probably dish out a resolution to “fix” Iran at September’s International Atomic Energy Agency conference. At the moment, the United States is in the process of negotiating with 10 allied countries to block Iranian ships and planes carrying nuclear materials in the open sea and air. If necessary, the United States is likely to use “the military option” and launch “surgical strikes” against Iran’s sensitive nuclear facilities.

Not long ago, an poll conducted by a U.S. news outlet showed that 56 percent of the U.S. public supports the government’s tough approach to Iran’s nuclear program. As the election is approaching, it is likely the Bush administration will use the issue of Iran’s nuclear program to garner more public support.

Scenario Two: Iran and the United States will reach a secret deal

This scenario is possible because Iran is holding the card that Americans badly need. Iran is a big kid on the Western Asian block with great geopolitical significance and a unique religious situation. Iran has a major influence on the peace and stability of the region.

In the Middle East, Iran has close links with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas. Anxious to push forward its “road map” peace plan, the United States is frustrated with Hamas’ constant provocations but has yet to come up with a good solution.

In Iraq, after years of maneuvering, Iran has built a large body of political supporters among the Shiites and has a sizable military presence in the country. Without Iran’s full cooperation, the Americans won’t be able to get the support of the Shiites in the South.

Besides, Iran has arrested many Al-Qaeda fighters, many of them senior members of the organization. America has been drooling to get hold of them, in the hope that they might help in the quest to find Osama bin Laden and destroy the intelligence and operations systems of Al-Qaeda.

Although Iran and the United States have been in a constant state of confrontation for decades, communication between the two has always been flowing on some level. The way Iran and the United States communicated with each other during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suggests that the possibility of the two reaching a secret deal on Iran’s nuclear program has always existed.

Scenario Three: Iran will make unilateral concessions.

At the moment, Iran’s biggest challenge is the unified voice of the “international community,” which is now insisting that Iran sign an additional protocol to the NPT providing for tougher inspections before discussing any further cooperation on nuclear energy. The European Union has made the additional protocol a prerequisite for its signing a new E.U.-Iran trade and cooperation agreement. Russia, which has worked with Iran on nuclear development, is also concerned by the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear-weapons program. Iran might find itself forced to make concessions when it realizes that there is little hope of dividing the international community.

The Iranians will not find it impossible to make such compromises. Islamic law contains provisions that allow certain practices to be sacrificed in times of emergency or urgent necessity. Such acts of compromise have been seen in Iran before. When Ayatollah Khomeini signed the 1988 cease-fire that ended the Iran-Iraq War, he famously remarked that even if the cease-fire was a glass of poisonous wine, he would still drink it.
29 posted on 08/16/2003 12:22:08 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Iran and the Bomb: Three Endings

August 14, 2003
Shijie Xinwen
Lu Ling

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
30 posted on 08/16/2003 12:23:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Divisions Over the Road to Tehran

August 14, 2003
Counter Punch
Jim Lobe

After the occupation of Iraq, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush appears to be torn between moving from Baghdad on to Tehran, or refocusing on al-Qaeda as the main target in the "war on terrorism."

According to a series of leaks by U.S. 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 U.S. military to permanently shut down 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 hard-liners, 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 Mujahedin el 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 by Cheney, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice during Bush's summer vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch.

Al Qaeda Leaders in Custody

Iran has confirmed that it is holding three al Qaeda leaders, including Seif al-Adel, considered the network's number three and chief of military operations who has a $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," according to one administration official who declined to be identified. "If we could get them all, that would be a huge breakthrough."

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi in a statement on August 11th, Iran plans to try any al Qaeda members it cannot extradite, and while it has so far said it will not hand over any al Qaeda members to the United States, it would extradite some of those it has arrested to unspecified "friendly countries." The Iranian Foreign Ministry has not made any public statements with respect to a deal with the U.S.

State Department Battles Pentagon, Again

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 U.S. embassy hostage crisis in 1980, but quiet meetings were held over the past year, until they were broken off in mid-May after administration hard-liners charged that a series of terrorist attacks carried out against U.S. and other foreign targets in Saudi Arabia May 12th were organized from Iranian territory, presumably with the approval of elements of its government.

But the same hard-liners 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 U.S. 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 hard-liners, who exert the greatest control over the occupation authority in Iraq, last month authorized the re-birth 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 Hussein put down unrest, particularly after the 1991 Gulf War. U.S. forces bombed the group's bases in the initial phases of the Iraq campaign earlier this year, but negotiated a cease-fire 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 earlier this year--most Iran specialists believe it has no popular following there whatsoever, and is mostly despised due to its alliance with Hussein 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. "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 re-confirm 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 Gulf to ensure U.S. 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 Clinton and Bush until his departure earlier this year, told the New York Times on August 2nd. 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 in early August.

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

Jim Lobe is a political analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus. He also writes regularly for Inter Press Service. He can be reached at:
31 posted on 08/16/2003 12:23:52 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Divisions Over the Road to Tehran

August 14, 2003
Counter Punch
Jim Lobe

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
32 posted on 08/16/2003 12:24:54 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Our Wobbly Ally

August 15, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Caroline B. Glick

Eyebrows were raised on Tuesday when, just hours after Fatah and Hamas bombed civilians in Rosh Ha'ayin and Ariel, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Palestinian terrorism would have no effect on US Middle East policy.

"We will continue to move forward on the road map " he said. "We will not be stopped by bombs, we will not be stopped by this kind of violence."
The question arises: How can the US not reassess its policy of coddling the Palestinian Authority when the policy has already failed so abundantly?

Unfortunately, the Bush administration's policy on the Palestinian issue is part and parcel of an overall inconsistency in the administration's approach to the Middle East that bodes ill not simply for Israel, but for the US and its allies all over the world.

Laying out the foundations of the administration's foreign policy doctrine last week, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice explained that US foreign policy is aimed at making the world a safer and better place.

The former, she said, is advanced through military campaigns like those in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latter is done by promoting freedom and democracy abroad.

"There is one region of the world where all the challenges of our time come together, perhaps in their most difficult forms the Middle East," Rice said.

She's right. After the 9/11 attacks, it is inarguable that the Arab world, whose 22 states have not one democratic government among them and whose clerics daily call for jihad against the US, manifests the most direct threat to US and global security.

Iraq and the PA were Rice's two examples of how the US is advancing its dual agenda in the Middle East. She referred to the recently inaugurated Iraqi Governing Council as the "most promising" advance toward stability and democracy since Saddam Hussein's regime was deposed in April. In her words, "It serves as a first step toward Iraqi self-government and toward a democratic Iraq which can become a linchpin of a very different Middle East in which ideologies of hate will not flourish."

Yet there are indications that the Bush administration will squander much of the good work US forces have done in destroying the Ba'athist regime. Over the past month, reports have surfaced that the White House intends to appoint former secretary of state James Baker to lead the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Proponents of the appointment note Baker's tremendous experience in the region and his close association with regional leaders.

But a Baker-led occupation government is cause for alarm. "Putting Baker in charge of Iraq means the US is handing the country over to the Saudis," one senior diplomatic source told me this week. Baker is one of the Saudi government's chief supporters in the US. His law firm, Baker Botts, is now representing the Saudi government in the $1 trillion law suit filed against Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the 9/11 attacks by the victims' families. Baker also serves as senior counsel and partner in the Carlyle investment group, which is a financial adviser to the Saudi government.

In view of this, it is not unreasonable to assume that as head of the Iraq occupation authority, Baker would not support the geostrategically vital idea of keeping liberated Iraq out of the OPEC cartel.

As for the Palestinians, Rice applauded the "reformed" leadership of PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and security chief Muhammad Dahlan. "A new Palestinian leadership is emerging that says, in Arabic and in English, that terror is not a means to Palestinian statehood, but rather the greatest obstacle to statehood," she said.

Then she added that "Israel has to fulfill its responsibilities to help that peaceful state emerge."

It is debatable at best whether either leader has made such anti-terrorist declarations. Not debatable is that Dahlan and Abbas refuse to take any action against terror groups. Far from working toward reconciliation, they, like their boss PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, have used every opportunity to condemn Israel and to undermine the legitimacy of its actions to defend itself against the same terrorist aggression that they are supposed to be combating.

In insisting on backing its hand-picked Palestinian leadership, the Bush administration is both rhetorically and effectively embracing a terror regime and abandoning a democratic ally.

Speaking of the US's own fight against terrorism, Rice briefly noted operations by the Homeland Security Department to secure potential targets like airports, power plants, and government buildings against attacks.

"But if we in the United States are to preserve the nature of our open society there is only so much of this 'hardening' that we can do. We must also address the source of the problem. We have to go on the offense," she said.

So while the Bush administration claims to be going on the offensive, it attacks every move Israel makes both defensive and offensive to protect itself against terrorism.

Last week, the administration attacked the newly passed legislation that makes it more difficult for Palestinians who marry Israelis to receive citizenship. This law, whose national security implications are clear, is no more draconian than procedures the US itself enacted in 1986 to protect itself against foreigners who enter into fictitious marriages to receive residency status.
The decision to build a fence to protect itself against terrorists is even more strongly condemned. From Bush to Powell to their spokesmen, the entire apparatus of the US government seems to have ratcheted up its rhetoric in placing the IDF's counterterror operations on a moral par with the massacre of Israeli civilians.

The administration has also ordered Israel not to take action against the growing Hizbullah threat from Lebanon, which over the past month has taken the form of direct aggression against civilians and military installations.

As for the greatest strategic threat presently emanating from the region, the Iranian nuclear program, the US is now moving steadily toward repeating with Iran the same failed policy of UN weapons inspections it used for 12 years against Iraq.

While Israel estimates that the Iranians are only one year away from nuclear capabilities, the US has moved discussion of the imminent threat to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

In a fine imitation of the policy of Iraq's former government, Iran is making a show of cooperating with IAEA officials. Now IAEA officials are apparently set to present a second inconclusive report about Iranian compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty at their meeting in September.

The consequences of the Bush administration's policies for Israel can be simply put: We must no longer seek to coordinate our activities with Washington. The US is actively abandoning Israel, while embracing its authoritarian and terrorist enemies and neighbors even as it hollowly claims to be doing just the opposite. The unreformed and unrepentant PA leadership cannot be given control of territory today or statehood tomorrow.

Hizbullah bases in Lebanon must be destroyed. And the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran must not be allowed to materialize as the UN impotently engages the duplicitous Iranian government.

The consequences of the administration's policies for US national security are no less apparent. Its current fetish with Israeli-Palestinian engagement has allowed the Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Saudis to continue with their support for terrorism and incitement against the US.

Perceiving the US as unwilling to confront its open hostility, the Arab League did not bat an eyelash when it voted to refuse to recognize the Iraqi Governing Council.

As the Egyptians loudly proclaim their support for Israeli-Palestinian peace and blame its nonexistence on Israel, a weapons smuggling tunnel from the Sinai to Gaza unearthed this week was found to have originated in an Egyptian border guard base. On July 30, Egyptian religious authorities reiterated their call for all Muslims including women and old people to attack US and coalition forces in Iraq.

As for Syria, President Bashar Assad is directly arming and enabling Hizbullah as well as the guerrilla fighters in Iraq. He also continues to aid and abet Palestinian terror groups headquartered in his capital city.

For their part, the Saudis have taken no steps to close down the offices of their government supported charities either at home or abroad that have been directly implicated in global terror funding.

The US's abandonment of Israel is also liable to impact its strategic posture in Asia. Why should China be deterred from overrunning Taiwan when the US is abandoning Israel to similar totalitarian forces? Why should South Korea or Japan trust the US's commitment to their security from the North Korean nuclear threat when the US is not taking action against Iran and reportedly reining in Israel from taking action against Iran on its own?

In concluding her remarks, Rice said, "The desire for freedom transcends race, religion, and culture The people of the Middle East are not exempt from this desire. We have an opportunity and an obligation to help them turn this desire into reality.

That is the security challenge and the moral mission of our time."

Again, Rice is correct. And yet, with its current Middle East policy of embracing terror regimes like the PA and anti-American tyrannies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, while publicly condemning Israel for trying to advance the administration's own stated policy, the US is failing to meet this challenge. Instead, the Bush administration's policies are damaging America's credibility, moral standing, and national security.
33 posted on 08/16/2003 12:25:53 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Our Wobbly Ally

August 15, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Caroline B. Glick

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
34 posted on 08/16/2003 12:26:43 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Europe Pressed to Shun Iranian Oilfield

August 15, 2003
The Financial Times
Carola Hoyos

Spencer Abraham, US energy secretary, has warned the Netherlands and Italy not to allow its companies to invest in Iran's giant Azadegan oilfield.

Mr Abraham's move, made on a trip to Europe this week, heralds a new US campaign to increase pressure on a reluctant Europe to isolate Iran over its nuclear weapons programme.

In 2000 Iran agreed with the Japanese government to give priority rights to Japex and Indonesia Petroleum, both Japanese companies, to develop the field in return for Japanese loans.

The US State Department in the past months has put pressure on Tokyo to forgo developing the field, which is said to hold up to 45bn barrels of oil.

Mr Abraham, who on Friday cut short his trip to Europe because of the massive power outages in North America, was asked to "secure commitments from other governments and companies" not to step in and snatch up the field if the US was successful in dissuading Japan from making an investment, a senior administration official told the FT.

He said that Japan was "open to the idea of forgoing the field" and that discussions were "moving in the direction we want".

The Iran-Libya Act of 1996 imposed sanctions on non-US companies that invested more than $20m (?17.7m, £12.4m) in Iran's oil or natural gas sector. But neither Bill Clinton, the former president, nor President George W. Bush enforced the measure.

Antonio Marzano, Italy's industry minister, told Mr Abraham that Eni, Italy's biggest energy company - which has interests in both Iran's on and offshore oil and natural gas fields - would provide written assurance that it would not take over the Azadegan field.

However, the Dutch government gave the US no commitment that Royal Dutch/Shell would not widen its investment in Iran. Shell in 1999 signed an $800m deal to develop two oilfields, one of which began production in late 2001.

Shell, together with Total of France and British Petroleum, has also shown interest in another oilfield in south-western Iran.

The US is still looking for a promise by France that Total, which rarely has qualms about investing in countries deemed unacceptable by the US, would not expand its oil and gas activity in Iran.

Iran, which holds 90bn barrels of oil reserves, is counting on foreign investment of up to $5bn a year to increase its daily oil production. This was as high as 6m b/d in 1974 but has remained less than 4m b/d since the revolution in 1979. Despite the threat of US sanctions, more than 90 companies are active or have shown interest in Iran's oil sector.
35 posted on 08/16/2003 12:28:56 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Europe Pressed to Shun Iranian Oilfield

August 15, 2003
The Financial Times
Carola Hoyos

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
36 posted on 08/16/2003 12:29:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Islamic order re-established in Esfahan province

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 16, 2003

The Islamic order has been reported as re-established in the Semiram area of Esfahan province following 3 days of unrest.

The situation has been reported as calm, today, after riots during which clashes and use of incendiary devices, such as Molotv Cocktails, were reported.

Esfahan province has been the scene of major popular actions, during the last 2 years, against the Islamic regime and subject to harsh repressive measures.

Several Esfahanis have been killed and tens of other injured especially in the cities of Shahin-Shahr (renamed as Khomeini-Shahr) and Esfahan City itself.

The degree of some of the repressions were so high that the regime had to name the former governor as Esfahan as its current ambassador in Kuwait in order to try to calm the situation.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
37 posted on 08/16/2003 12:35:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
The Clerics are in a box, Dr. Z. 65 million citizens are incapable of being thwarted if they choose to force a new destiny. The Czars, Roman Chinese and Japanese Emporers, European Monarchs and Fascist Oppressors cannot endure absent violent repression.

Iranian folks demonstrated once they're not accepting of that when they threw the Shah overboard. An unstoppable force doesn't necessarily translate to the implementation of a superior system ... but the Clerics are going to have to withdraw into a strictly limited influence platform of religious guidance and authority, or they will be toppled. Iranians have an $1800 per capita GNP, that's an outrage in a nation blessed with the most prolific oil, mineral and geographically resourced potential for prosperity of ANY state in that region.

We need to talk sense to the theocrats, help them see that their secure world bordering Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the former Soviet republics and Turkey is gone forever. There's no more smuggled oil from Iraq and the U.N. There's no more express lanes across Iraq to Syria with terrorists and weapons, and we should make sure the black market trading funnel of Poppy/Opium from Afghans to Iraq to Turkey directly or through former Soviet states is OVER as well.

The jig is up. The threat from Hussein can no longer be employed to discipline the masses. There's no more unfettered money, people and resources moving to Syria for positioning against Israel. Pakistan is cleaning house. We're cleaning Afghanistans house. Iraq will have a free Shiite people. There's going to be no Food for Oil booty to support China and North Korea, no black market bankrolll for Hizbollah and Syria's Corrupt Lebanese lackey and to provide sanctuary and state tools to agents of Al Qaida.

There is an incalculably bright destiny for Islam and its devout worshippers, but there's no future for the despots of violence and merchants of murderous terror anymore.

38 posted on 08/16/2003 1:38:19 PM PDT by ArneFufkin
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To: DoctorZIn
I don't trust what the Saudis say and we should treat all of their intelligence as unverified until it's verified by more reliable sources. The Saudis are still far more inteested in their own derrieres then in anything or anyone else. They are as likely to be hiding in Saudi or Iran as they are in Pakistan or Kashmir.

Thanks to all tho pinged me to this thread for the pings ;- )

39 posted on 08/16/2003 2:15:40 PM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: DoctorZIn
This is not George W. Bush's campaign, this is a quest for peace, security and prosperity between ISRAEL and the Palestinian Authority.

I'm tired of agenda-obsessed mega extemists here on FR, and within U.S. and Israel press, accusing Ariel Sharon, Israel's greatest warrior lion, of dereliction of his LIFE SWORN loyalty to Israel, her people and his duty in an obsequious appeasement to George W. Bush and the Pali terrorists. They're trying to wound Bush, period.

This Peace process is moving ahead with resolve because the Israeli people and her unimpeachably patriotic leaders and Palestinian leaders of courage and vision are tired of the killing, tired of the fear, tired of the poverty and hate and hopeless futures.

Anyone who empowers George W. Bush with the cynical, reckless power to force Ariel Sharon to pursue a road that will destroy Israel and the miracle of Zion is either ignorant or a corrupt operator.

This is Israel's game. This is the Palestinian's game. We've steamrolled Saddam, we've turned the sweet little world of Iran, Syria, Hizbollah, IJ and Hamas upside down, and we want a peace that is enduring and flourishing and prosperous for Israelis and Palestinians.

That means a Palestinian State. That means a recognition and negotiation with a former PLO enemy. That means accomodation, that means consensus and that will eventually mean a life where a 13 year old Israeli student and a 13 year old Palestinian student can look forward to a life of security, prosperity and dutiful worship and a long life blessed by God.

I'm sick of this "State Department this, George Bush that" .... this is a tough journey that will require resolve and courage under seige from Islamist Terrorists and Pyrrhic End of Times Masada-fantasizing extremists. Mostly here on FR, we've got a slew of people who love seeing others go down in a blaze of principled display. That guy over there, he should make a principled last stand.

This thing may or may not work, but both the Israeli and Pali parties are invested, empowered and ultimately the shepherd of their own destinies. We're providing political cover, bolstering the power base of the Sharon government and the PA as necessary, it's posturing and gaining support and neutralizing parties bent on the sabotage of peace. There has never been a time more ripe for a lasting peace in that small tract of land.

40 posted on 08/16/2003 2:23:28 PM PDT by ArneFufkin
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