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Iranian Alert -- August 22, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 08/22/2003 12:07:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.
From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.
These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.
Iran is a country ready for a regime change. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary.
Please continue to join us here, post your news stories and comments to this thread.
Thanks for all the help.
TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement
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Discover all the news since the protests began on June 19th, go to:
posted on 08/22/2003 12:07:03 AM PDT
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread
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posted on 08/22/2003 12:08:00 AM PDT
Khatami says Iranians free to demand he step down
Thursday, August 21, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com
TEHRAN, Aug 21 (AFP) - President Mohammed Khatami, who is facing mounting public disillusionment over his failure to bring promised reforms, said people were free to demand that he step down, local media reported Thursday.
He that the people voted into power must keep in mind that the people can sideline him if they want," Khatami told former prisoners of war from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in a speech Wednesday.
Last week, conservatives blocked three bills passed by parliament authorizing the government to adopt parts of the 1979 UN convention on women's rights, another convention against torture and one bill on electoral reform.
They were shot down by the Guardians Council, a small conservative-run body that vets all legislation in line with the constitution and Islamic law.
Many saw the bills as a last-ditch attempt to assert Khatami's embattled position in the face of entrenched religious conservatives.
Disillusionment with the deadlock in the Islamic republic led to a series of student demonstrations in June that were violently repressed.
Analysts have raised the likelihood that Khatami will resign if reformers lose their majority in legislative elections slated for February-March 2004, one year ahead of presidential elections.
Some press reports Thursday said government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh had resigned, but there was no official confirmation of this. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=17564&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
DoctorZin Note: President Khatami is the Gray Davis of Iran.
posted on 08/22/2003 12:13:06 AM PDT
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
posted on 08/22/2003 12:14:17 AM PDT
This is another interesting article by Amir Taheri. It isn't discussing Iran directly, but its lessons do apply. -- DoctorZin
THE BEST OF THE U.N.
By AMIR TAHERI
August 21, 2003 -- THIS was to be Sergio Viera de Mello's dream come true: helping a major Arab country become a modern democracy.
Vieira de Mello, the United Nations' special representative in Baghdad, did not live long enough to see his dream come true. On Tuesday a car bomb destroyed the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. Vieira de Mello was among the 18 people killed.
The Brazilian diplomat, his mood always as sunny as his tanned face, knew that Iraq was a difficult case. It was a society emerging from more than three decades of violence and war under some of the most brutal regimes ever seen in Arab history. Nevertheless, after a two-month spell in Baghdad, he had been totally charmed by the Iraqis.
"These people deserve the best," he told me in a telephone conversation last July. "All that Iraq needs is a decent chance: it now has that chance."
Vieira de Mello had long experience in nation-building - that is, in taking a war-shattered country and transforming it into a working polity.
Vieira de Mello played the central role in Cambodia as it emerged from decades of war and savage rule by the Khmer Rouge gangsters. He did not succeed in turning Cambodia into a modern democracy. But the least that one can say is that Cambodia has been put on the path of democratic development.
Vieira de Mello was also involved in East Timor, a largely Catholic enclave that had suffered from years of violence under Indonesian occupation. Today, the Brazilian is among East Timor's national heroes, thanks to his patient efforts to put down the flames of revenge and focus people's attention on the future.
Had he not been so tragically slain, Vieira de Mello was well in line to succeed Kofi Annan as U.N. secretary-general. He was preparing to take over the position of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in just two weeks time.
Vieira de Mello's Iraq mission was already a success. He had managed to establish a personal relationship with Paul Bremer, the U.S.-led coalition's interim administrator for Iraq. It was partly thanks to Vieira de Mello's quiet diplomacy that Bremer agreed to speed up the formation of the Governing Council and to give it extensive powers.
That move, in turn, paved the way for the Security Council resolution that welcomed the formation of the Governing Council, thus bestowing on it a wider measure of legitimacy.
During the past few weeks, many members of he Governing Council had learned to rely on Vieira de Mello to understand their concerns and to exert pressure on the Americans to take the measures needed.
Vieira de Mello also played a key part in distancing the United Nations from a negative stance on Iraq, as urged by some Security Council members, including France and Germany. With exceptional patience he had persuaded senior U.N. officials, including Kofi Annan, that this was no time and Iraq was no place to play the traditional anti-American game for diplomatic effect.
Vieira de Mello understood one crucial fact: The United States must remain in overall charge of Iraq until there is an elected government in Baghdad. He saw the U.N. role as one of providing support and helping improve public services. It was while chairing a session on such practical issues that Vieira de Mello was blown up along with 16 others working for the United Nations.
According to Bremer, Vieira de Mello had been a target for assassination since he first arrived in Iraq last June.
Vieira de Mello is not the first senior U.N. official to be brutally killed. In 1948, Zionist extremists murdered the Swedish Count Bernadotte who represented the U.N. in Palestine. In 1961, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was kidnapped and murdered in the Congo.
Who wanted Sergio Viera de Mello Vieira de Mello, a man of peace, to die? Most likely, those who wish to plunge Iraq into chaos, and so prevent the speedy emergence of an Iraqi government, were behind the attack.
After every crime, the key question is: Who will profit from it? In this case, the only groups likely to profit are the nihilists who believe that they can halt the inevitable march of Iraq toward normalization.
Whatever the motives behind the attack, it is unlikely that it will have a lasting impact. On the contrary, it may raise the stakes for the United States, making the Bush administration far more determined to impose its will on Iraq.
One thing is certain: The clock of history will not be turned back in Iraq.
E-mail: email@example.com http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/3691.htm
posted on 08/22/2003 12:20:18 AM PDT
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
posted on 08/22/2003 12:22:10 AM PDT
Iranian envoy faces extradition
Scotsman - By John Innes
Aug 22, 2003
An Iranian former diplomat studying in Britain was arrested last night in connection with a terrorist attack in Argentina nine years ago.
Hade Soleimanpour, 47, the Iranian ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, was detained on an extradition warrant at his home in Kepier Court, Durham, Scotland Yard said.
Soleimanpour, a research student at Durham University, is accused of conspiracy to murder in connection with the attack on a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires on 18 July, 1994. He will appear before Bow Street magistrates in London today.
It is understood a formal request was made by Argentine authorities for Soleimanpour to be extradited from Britain.
Nearly 90 people were killed and 200 injured when a blast destroyed the headquarters of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association and the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations. The seven-storey building was the main community centre for Jews in Argentina, which has the largest Jewish population in Latin America.
Argentine and Jewish leaders blamed the Lebanon-based Islamic terrorist group, Hezbollah, and the Iranian government.
Irans foreign ministry rejected allegations of Iranian involvement at the time.
Last month, the Argentine president, Nestor Kirchner, said the lack of progress in the investigation of the bombing was a "national disgrace". http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_1876.shtml
posted on 08/22/2003 12:25:04 AM PDT
posted on 08/22/2003 2:27:53 AM PDT
"Khatami says Iranians free to demand he step down"
Anyone keeping track of how many times he's said this?
"DoctorZin Note: President Khatami is the Gray Davis of Iran."
Gotta work on the hair.
posted on 08/22/2003 4:32:27 AM PDT
Always such a tragedy to needlessly lose someone who has devoted their life to doing so much good.
To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; McGavin999; AdmSmith; Valin; RaceBannon; Texas_Dawg; Eala; dixiechick2000; ...
"Iran Travels Down Iraq's Nuclear Path"
Posted by Gary Fitleberg
Friday, August 22, 2003
Why would Iran blazenly and recklessly travel down the same road as Iraq in pursuing a nuclear weapons program? Will it suffer the same destiny as Iraq and Saddam Hussein ultimately for its dangerous and destructive defiance of calls to curtail its activities?
Irans development of a nuclear program in the Middle East is a definite threat to security and stability in the region as well as worldwide.
Tehran has approved the second phase of construction of a nuclear plant in defiance of the U.S. and despite efforts by the U.N. Atomic International Energy Agency to curtail future plans to build a nuclear program.
Irans dangerous and determined defiance recalls the leadership of its neighbor Iraq.
One of the heads of Iran's atomic energy program announced that the government had approved the implementation of the second stage of plans for constructing a nuclear power plant in the city of Bushehr, Israel Radio reported.
Iran claims that the nuclear power plant in Bushehr will be operational in two years time. Most of the world is of the opinion that the plant will not be used as a power plant, but rather as part of Iran's plan to acquire nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not mention the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities during his meeting with President Bush last month, Israel Radio quoted Israeli officials in Washington as saying.
However, the sources were quoted as saying that the issue of Iran's nuclear capabilities has been on Bush's agenda for a long time and that he shares Israel's view on the matter. Iran is on the radar screen of both the U.S. and Israel regarding potential nuclear capability.
On Wednesday, a senior Washington Post columnist reported that after the latest meeting between Sharon and Bush in Washington, there was mounting concern in the administration that Israel might be planning to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
Columnist Jim Hoagland opened his column on Wednesday by saying: ''A grim warning from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to President Bush that Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than U.S. intelligence believes, has triggered concern here that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive strike against Iran's Busher nuclear reactor.'' According to Hoagland, who quoted U.S. and Israeli sources, Sharon brought Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, his army liaison officer, ''to shower a worried-looking Bush with photographs and charts from a thick dossier on Iran's covert program.''
Hoagland said Sharon told Bush that Israel believes Iran is much closer to a bomb than American intelligence suspects, and that as far as Israel is concerned, the delivery date of Russian fuel for the Iranian project will be a point of no return. Hoagland noted that Israel deliberately struck the Iraqi reactor in 1982 before it was supplied with nuclear fuel.
The column indicated that Sharon still ''enjoys'' a reputation in Washington as a ''wild card'' or ''rogue,'' a reputation that the prime minister put to good use leading up to the war in Iraq when his semi-veiled threats to take action if Baghdad struck Israel made Washington provide both a defensive umbrella for Israel and a hefty aid package.
But Sharon has been careful not to make explicit threats, lest they be tested one day and meanwhile cause unnecessary escalation. Instead, he has preferred to make vague statements that have left the Arabs, Iranians, and Americans in a worrying fog.
Israel has made no secret that the Iranian nuclear program is the leading risk to its national security. Israeli intelligence believes the point of no return in the Iranian nuclear program is within two to three years, and some elements in Israeli intelligence apparently think it could come sooner.
But attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would be far more complicated than the 1982 strike outside Baghdad. First, Iran's nuclear program is dispersed at several sites, some of which are protected from conventional weapons; the distance to fly is much greater; and perhaps most importantly, the Iranians could respond in a painful manner.
Therefore, Israel would prefer that the United States handle the problem through either diplomatic means or force. There have been recent reports that the CIA has shown some countries, although not Israel, plans for an air and missile attack on the Iranian facilities.
Israel, is naturally a nervous neighbor with a nuclear threat right it in its back yard. Iran appears to be resolved to destroy Israel and test its position internationally as did Iraq.
Iran has recently armed its elite revolutionary guide with ''Shihab'' missiles that can easily reach and strike Israels heartland. Iran continues to arm and fund Hezbollah in Lebanon and the recent missile fired from there killed Israeli citizens despite Israels withdrawal from this country. This escalation and military provocation is enough. Enough to make Iran the very next target in a preemptive strike just like Iraq. So Iran better beware for a preventative attack!
Iran, unless it changes course, from a dangerous destructive path, is about to learn the hard way that ''History Repeats Itself''!
Gary Fitleberg is a political analyst specializing in international relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs. http://www.chronwatch.com/featured/contentDisplay.asp?aid=3962
Iran condemns UK following arrest of former ambassador to Argentina
Iran on Friday condemned the recent move by the British police to detain Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, stressing that the measure had been politically motivated.
"The measure had been politically motivated and has been carried out under the influence of the Zionists. It is meant to serve the interests of the Zionist regime," said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, according to IRIB.
Jewish sources based in Buenos Aires have claimed that Soleimanpour was arrested in a London suburb on Thursday.
Marta Nercellas, the lawyer representing the Amia Jewish Community Center, has claimed that Soleimanpour was among those wanted for the 1994 bombing of the center which left 85 killed and 300 wounded.
Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who is presiding over the case of the bombing, last week issued arrest warrants for eight Iranians for their alleged involvement in the incident.
Asefi said the warrants had been political and lacked judicial grounds.
"We realized this from the very moment that they showed they were not interested in cooperating with Iran to clarify the issue," he said.
"The Islamic Republic will do all it can to retrieve the rights of any of its nationals that are arrested on an unjustifiable basis, and will try to release them."
The foreign ministry spokesman further stressed that Tehran will carry out the required steps in that connection through diplomatic channels to guarantee his rights and freedom.
"We will take necessary measures through any means deemed necessary and in this connection we will hold talks with the British officials, asking them to provide necessary explanations," said Asefi.
He strongly dismissed any sort of Iran's involvement in Amia blast, saying that Argentine should assume responsibility for the judicial and political consequences of such a measure, which runs counter against international regulations. http://www.albawaba.com/news/index.php3?sid=256871&lang=e&dir=news
VW, Ericsson, Statoil Invest in Iran, Undeterred by Tensions
August 22, 2003
The Fifth Tehran International Auto Fair, a five-day event that closed July 5, drew companies such as Renault SA, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Mazda Motor Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz, Fiat SpA and Volkswagen AG.
Many foreign companies continue to invest in Iran even though U.S. President George W. Bush described the country as part of an ``Axis of Evil,'' along with Iraq and North Korea.
Some foreign investors, such as Japan, are delaying projects. Yet most of the about 200 companies present in Iran, such as Ericsson AB, the world's largest maker of mobile-phone equipment, and Alcatel SA, the second-biggest producer of telecommunications gear, are staying put though adopting a low profile. Others, like Statoil ASA, Norway's biggest oil company, and Technip SA, Europe's largest provider of oilfield services, state openly that they're in the country for the long term.
``When the political temperatures go up, companies take a low profile,'' said Siamak Namazi, managing director of Tehran-based Atieh Bahar Consulting, an adviser to companies such as BP Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Alcatel. ``But we haven't heard of any that have cut their investments.''
As the U.S. raises political pressure on Iran over a suspected nuclear-weapons program, student demonstrators have been calling for more democracy and for the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei to give up his special powers. Many Iranians are unhappy with the slow pace of political change initiated by President Mohammad Khatami.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham was in Europe last week and held separate discussions on Iran with Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst and Italian Industry Minister Antonio Marzano, a Department of Energy spokesman said. He declined to disclose details.
``They only talked about Iran in general terms,'' Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Paula de Jonge said. ``The subject of investments didn't come up.'' Italian officials refused to comment.
``Iran is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world but its political risk is among the highest of any rated sovereign nation,'' said James McCormack, a senior analyst at ratings company Fitch, which rates Iran's foreign debt as B+, on par with Romania and one notch below Azerbaijan.
After years of shunning Western investments, Iran is now actively seeking funds from abroad. In the five-year plan covering 2000-2004, the government is seeking $4.5 billion to $5 billion in direct foreign investment.
VW, Europe's biggest automaker, sent its regional manager, Peter Poersch, to Tehran. Kerman Car Manufacturing, Iran's No. 3 car company, said at the fair that it signed a preliminary agreement with VW to produce four models in Iran, according to Iranian state news service IRNA.
If the accord goes ahead, the first model would come off assembly lines in the third quarter of next year with a goal of eventually producing some 200,000 units. Iran has plans to produce 600,000 cars by 2004, primarily to meet domestic demand.
``Nothing has been decided up to now,'' VW spokesman Hans Peter Brechinger said.
Iran has the fifth-largest proven oil reserves, holding about 90 billion barrels, or about 9 percent of the world total. It holds the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas, surpassed only by Russia.
Since 1995, the U.S. has tried to put an economic noose around Iran and slow the development of its energy potential. Then- President Bill Clinton banned U.S. companies and their foreign subsidiaries from conducting business with Iran.
The following year, under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, the U.S. imposed mandatory and discretionary sanctions on non-U.S. companies investing more than $20 million annually in the Iranian oil and natural-gas sectors.
In the post-Iraq War period, Bush has renewed calls for tough sanctions because of Iran's alleged nuclear plans.
``The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate the construction of nuclear weapons,'' Bush said in June after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the country didn't properly report some of its activities as required by the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty. ``Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear weapon.''
Iran has denied that it is developing nuclear weapons and says the program is designed to generate electric power to spur the economy. The country has an 18 percent unemployment rate and inflation is 25 percent.
Keeping a low profile is the best strategy for companies dealing with Iran, says Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ``When companies ask my advice, I've had to tell them candidly that so long as they can keep the investments off the front pages of the newspapers, it's likely that the United States government will do very little,'' he said.
Case in point: General Electric Co. and Halliburton Co. are coming under pressure from pension funds such as those for New York City's police and firefighters that have more than $205 million of investments in GE and $18 million in Halliburton.
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., has submitted shareholder resolutions calling for board committees to examine risks posed to the companies by dealings in Iran and Syria. California Public Employees' Retirement System, the U.S.'s largest public retirement fund, has asked Congress and administration officials to identify companies that might unwittingly support terrorism.
General Electric, the biggest maker of medical-imaging machines and power-generation equipment, is active in Iran through its Canadian subsidiary, while Halliburton, based in Houston, has an office in Iran opened in 2000 by a Cayman Islands subsidiary, Halliburton Products & Services Ltd.
``As we said in our proxy this year, U.S. law, regulation and policy contemplate that U.S. companies will do business in Iran and elsewhere through foreign subsidiaries and provide clear guidance on how those activities are to be conducted,'' said GE spokesman Gary Sheffer.
Some companies are reacting. In May, ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany's largest steelmaker, paid 406 million euros ($473 million) or three times the market price for shares in the company that were owned by Iran to avoid potential U.S. economic penalties. The move reduces Iran's stake in ThyssenKrupp to 4.4 percent from 7.79 percent.
Japan's government was close to an agreement to invest $2.5 billion to develop Iran's biggest oil discovery in 35 years before getting cold feet after the U.S. opposed the investment.
``This would be a particularly unfortunate time to go forward with major new oil and gas deals,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said July 1, in a statement in Washington.
That prompted the Japanese to delay the agreement. ``Suspicion about Iran's nuclear development is not an issue affecting only our country,'' Yasuo Fukuda, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, told reporters in Tokyo last month.
``The U.S. has done its best to prevent the Iranian economy from growing,'' said Tahmasb Mazaheri, Iran's minister of economic affairs and finance who was in London to attend a conference in June as the U.S. put pressure on Japan.
Still, the Japan incident was a rare victory for the U.S., which since 1998 has seen European and Asian companies such as Eni SpA and Total SA disregard its call for sanctions. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1998 granted a waiver to Total and partners OAO Gazprom and Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad when it became apparent they planned to bypass the U.S. sanctions to help develop the South Pars natural-gas field. Other European and Asian companies have since asked for, and received, waivers.
``Over 200 publicly traded companies are doing business in Iran,'' said Roger Robinson, chief executive of Conflict Securities Advisory Group, based in Washington, which provides research reports on companies dealing with potentially hostile regimes. ``The bulk of them are in energy.''
In testimony to a subcommittee of the U.S. House International Relations Committee in June, Robinson said 41 companies have invested more than $20 million each in Iranian energy projects.
Around 80 percent of Iran's total export earnings and as much as half of the government budget is based on oil exports. Still despite the high oil revenues Iran needs to attract investment in areas other than energy to ease the high unemployment, said Fitch's McCormack,
``The oil industry creates foreign currency but doesn't create jobs,'' McCormack said.
Total of France in 1995 became the first foreign company to sign a petroleum development agreement with Iran since the Islamic Revolution 16 years earlier. Two years later it signed another contract for South Pars, the Persian Gulf's biggest gas field, which holds about 6 percent of the world's supply. Total executives declined to comment.
Royal Dutch/Shell Group, the biggest gasoline retailer in the U.S., won a contract in 1999 to develop the Soroosh-Nowruz offshore oilfields, pledging to invest $800 million.
Italy's Eni, Statoil and Russia's Gazprom are also developing oil and gas fields. Statoil is seeking to boost its $300 million investment in Iran.
``We will continue to monitor the political situation closely, but our long-term strategy is to increase our business in the country,'' said Inge Hansen, Statoil's chief financial officer.
``Iran is keen to make more deals and the oil companies are interested to put more money in,'' said Caroline Cook, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG and one of the authors of a report on Iran. ``The American oil companies are the ones losing out.''
BP, Europe's second-biggest oil company, is negotiating to develop the Bangestan fields, which hold more than a billion barrels of oil.
Still, BP, the largest natural-gas producer in the U.S., is eager not to antagonize the U.S., says Cook.
With good reason. A subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee in June asked a panel of experts how the U.S. could bolster the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act and stop granting waivers to European and Asian companies.
``Taking risks is a price of doing business in the Middle East,'' said Sylvie Hallemans, spokeswoman for Technip, Europe's top provider of oilfield services.
Technip, which has been trading with Iran for 25 years, is building the largest ethylene plant, with an output of 1.4 million tons a year, at a cost of 300 million euros.
If the financing is there, Technip said it has no problems providing engineering services in Iran.
``We are not very nervous people. About 70 percent of our work is outside of the quiet regions of Europe and America,'' Hallemans said. ``We know how to handle risk, otherwise we'd be nervous every day.'' http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000100&sid=aEwGuFdDPUVs&refer=germany
To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Iran Says Britain's Arrest of its Former Envoy Illegal
August 22, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iran reacted angrily Friday to Britain's arrest of its former envoy to Argentina, saying international arrest warrants issued by a Buenos Aires court over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural centre were illegal.
"Argentina should be held politically and legally responsible for this action, which is not in line with international rules," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told AFP.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran will follow up the case through the necessary channels to free its citizen, and we will talk to the British and ask them for the necessary explanations," he said.
Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpur, was arrested Thursday by police in Durham, northeast England, where he was attending university.
He was one of eight Iranian diplomats wanted by Argentina on charges they plotted the July 1994 car bombing which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others.
International arrest warrants were issued on August 13.
"The Argentine court decision (to issue the warrants) is a political measure with political incentives under the influence of the Zionist regime in order to do it a service," Asefi said, reiterating Iran's longstanding denial of any involvement in the bombing.
Soleimanpur, 47, has been in Britain on a student visa since February last year. Magistrates were to decide later Friday whether to extradite him to Argentina to face trial, police said.
Last month, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner said the lack of progress in the investigation of the bombing of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association building was a "national disgrace".
Argentine authorities, who have long believed Iran was behind the attack, have previously issued arrest warrants for other Iranian diplomats they believe were involved in the bombing.
Tehran has repeatedly denied the charges. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=17568&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
To: DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; nuconvert; McGavin999; Valin; RaceBannon
Iran ex-diplomat faces terror hearing
A former Iranian diplomat has appeared at a London court in connection with claims that he was involved in a terrorist attack which killed 85 people and wounded 200.
The Argentine Government wants Hade Soleimanpour extradited to face charges that he was part of the conspiracy to bomb a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Mr Soleimanpour, 47, spoke only to confirm his name when he appeared before Bow Street Magistrates' Court, and was remanded in custody until 29 August.
The former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, who is now a research assistant at the University of Durham, denied the charges when he was arrested by police on Thursday.
The Argentine intelligence service has long believed Iran was behind the car bombing and Mr Soleimanpour's arrest follows a fresh investigation.
Iran has strongly denied involvement and has described Mr Soleimanpour's extradition warrant as politically motivated.
On Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi condemned the arrest as illegal, saying it had been carried out under the influence of a Zionist regime.
He said the Islamic Republic would do everything possible to secure Mr Soleimanpour's release, adding that Iran's foreign ministry would be seeking answers from British diplomats in Tehran.
Mr Soleimanpour made no comment as the conspiracy charge was read to him on Thursday.
But Detective Sergeant Keith Richardson, from Scotland Yard's extradition unit, said he had told officers "it is false" when it was put to him during his arrest.
DS Richardson told the court that Argentine authorities believed the former ambassador had been involved in planning and commissioning the bombing.
They also claim that he provided information about the location and timing of the attack.
Mr Soleimanpour's lawyer, Michel Massih QC, said: "He has always publicly and strenuously denied these allegations.
"There is a political vendetta here and political points being scored against the country and against him."
The extradition warrant for Mr Soleimanpour was one of eight issued by an Argentine judge, Juan Jose Galeano, against Iranian citizens last week.
Similar warrants issued in March against four Iranian diplomats caused tension between Buenos Aires and Tehran, and resulted in the recall of the Iranian ambassador.
Last month, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner said the lack of progress in the case was a "national disgrace", and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
Argentina's 300,000-strong Jewish community is the largest in Latin America, and has been the target of other attacks.
A 1992 bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in which 29 people were killed also remains unsolved. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3174625.stm
To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; AdmSmith; McGavin999; dixiechick2000
Iran President says Iran honors others' security
President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Friday that Iran calls for guaranteeing her security while respecting others' security, IRNA reported.
President Khatami told a group of Information Ministry officials that Iran calls for a democratic government tailor-made to its religious and national values.
He said that while trying to build up its power on different scenes, Iran asks the world to officially recognize its standpoint.
He added that dialogue among civilizations had been aimed to settle acute clashes among civilizations in terms of their fundamentals and it does not at all mean political talks.
The president pointed to the incidents that followed the September 11 terror attacks, saying that campaign against terrorism and restoration of freedom and democracy have turned into the most important pretexts for the US to justify its hegemony.
He stressed that the Iranian people advocate independence, progress and freedom in line with their cultural norms.
"If efforts by the great Iranian nation in establishing religious democracy proceed, the move can serve as a lesson for other Muslim nations, who are fed up with the isms and violence in the world of Islam," said President Khatami.
He said the West is concerned with extremism in the world of Islam, adding that the Islamic Republic, too, opposes those who chant the slogan that "anybody who is not with us is against us" or to those who chant "anybody who is not with us is an atheist."
The President said Iran is not an extremist and that what is mirrored by the path of the late Imam Khomeini, people and Constitution, is conformity with freedom and democracy in accordance with local beliefs.
He asked the Information Ministry officials to identify the plans that try to distort he pure image of the late Imam Khomeini or tarnish achievements of the Iranian nation. http://www.payvand.com/news/03/aug/1127.html
Comment #19 Removed by Moderator
Will Lebanon's Horror Become Iraq's?
August 22, 2003
The Washington Post
As soon as I heard about the truck bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, my first thought was, oh, no, here we go again, the nightmare of Beirut, 1983.
The U.N. bombing has all the markings of a professional terrorist attack, the same expertise we saw in Lebanon during the '80s, even the same delivery system that was used to kill 241 U.S. servicemen in their Beirut barracks on Oct. 22, 1983 -- the strike that brought U.S. policy in Lebanon to a halt and altered the course of Middle East politics.
Like the one in Beirut, the U.N. truck bomb was expertly placed. It wasn't just designed to do massive damage -- although it did. It was apparently intended to hit the office of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. secretary general's special representative to Iraq. Using a suicide bomber ensured that the bomb went exactly where it was supposed to go. The attack may even have been timed to coincide with a news conference underway inside the building so that the bomb would kill as many people as possible.
The truck was packed with enough explosives (more than a thousand pounds of military munitions) to blast through a twelve-foot wall. Although the FBI says the bomb itself wasn't particularly sophisticated, I know from experience how difficult it is to string explosives together and make all or most of them detonate at the same time. And remember: This was the second successful bombing in just 13 days. Combine this well-coordinated attack with the car bombing of the Jordanian embassy, which killed 17, and it is starting to look like we are up against a lot more than the "remnants" of Saddam Hussein's regime.
One bomb is an outrage. Two bombs are a campaign. Anybody who was dealing with the Middle East in the early '80s can tell you exactly when things began to change: April 18, 1983, the day a suicide bomber drove a beat-up GMC pick-up truck through the front door of the U.S. embassy in Beirut and detonated it. Seventeen Americans and 32 Lebanese died in the blast.
I was working for the CIA in the Middle East at the time. As best we were able to figure out, the target of the attack was Ambassador Philip Habib, the president's special representative to the Middle East. Habib, who was trying to help negotiate a truce between Lebanon and Israel, was not in the embassy when the bomb went off. But the bombing had a larger goal than killing Habib: As we later realized, it was the opening shot in a well-coordinated and well-financed effort that eventually drove the United States out of Lebanon. After the second suicide bombing at the barracks, President Reagan ordered the Marines "re-deployed" off shore. With the official American presence gone, the terrorist campaign switched to kidnapping. Most Americans soon left Lebanon.
Those of us who lived through the Lebanon horror will be asking if Beirut 1983 might not be a template for what's happening in Iraq. While Iraq isn't Lebanon, there are enough similarities that we should be worried. Starting with the obvious, neither Lebanon then nor Baghdad now has a functioning government. At the start of the Lebanese civil war in 1975, that country's government collapsed. By 1983, there was no army or police to protect our embassy, let alone an effective internal intelligence service to warn us of possible attacks.
Iraq today is probably worse off than Lebanon was in 1983. There is not even the skeleton of an army or a police force. Members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council now claim they warned us of a bombing, possibly aimed at the United Nations. But don't forget the council includes some of the same people who were telling us that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, deployed and ready for his orders. The only intelligence in Iraq that we can count on is our own.
Both Iraq and Lebanon are fractured societies, divided by deep ethnic and religious differences. Foreigners have tended to get caught up in these conflicts, inevitably paying a price in blood. In 1983, Lebanon's Christian Maronites, who once ruled Lebanon, were fighting for their survival, while Lebanese Muslims were fighting to take their place. Because the Muslims thought the United States was propping up the Maronites, we became the Muslims' target.
When Baghdad fell on April 9, we hurled ourselves into the middle of the same sort of violent social conflict. By invading Iraq and removing Saddam, the United States in effect deposed the ruling Sunni minority, about 20 percent of Iraq's population. In case there was any doubt about the end to Sunni power, the coalition made it final when it dissolved the Baath Party on May 16 and the army on May 23 -- the two organizations through which the Sunnis had ruled. Having destroyed Iraq's social and political balance, we can pretty much count on taking casualties.
So why was the U.N. headquarters hit rather than an American target? After all, the group behind the U.N. bombing could have easily run the same truck into an American patrol, killing dozens of soldiers. Again, I go back to Lebanon, 1983. The objective of the terrorists then was to create a sense of complete hopelessness in Washington. The terrorists wanted to show the Americans that no amount of military might, money or international assistance would help -- that U.S. deaths would be in vain and that the only logical response was to pull out.
If the people behind the U.N. bombing are the same ones who are responsible for last week's sabotage of Baghdad's water main and the oil pipeline to Turkey, this may very well be their plan. By attacking the U.N. and other indirect targets, they are probably attempting to drive away any potential international investment. They want the Bush administration to feel isolated. As for the common Iraqi who has been taking the brunt of their campaign, the terrorists believe it is worth it. They think in the long term.
If things go from bad to worse in Iraq, Washington will want to blame outside agitators. It will find it difficult to admit that the Iraqi population has turned against the occupation. We saw this happen in Lebanon: The Reagan administration convinced itself that Syria was behind the attacks on the embassy and the Marines. It came close to fighting a real war when a U.S. battleship shelled Syrian-controlled positions in the mountains outside Beirut. As it turned out, it was the Lebanese (with Iranian financial backing) who had carried out the bombings against us.
It is still too early to tell how much outsiders are involved in Iraq. With the Lebanon template in mind, I tried to get a sense of this earlier this year, in the weeks running up to the war. I was on contract with ABC News at the time. My first meeting was with Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the Lebanese Shiite cleric accused of issuing a fatwa that encouraged the Beirut embassy bombing. We met at his Sitt Zaynab mosque office, outside Damascus. One reason Fadlallah kept an office there was to court support with Iraqi Shiite exiles, who also had offices in the area. I thought Fadlallah might have a good idea of what was going on in Iraq.
My first question was whether he or other Islamic leaders would declare a jihad against the United States if it invaded Iraq. "We don't need to," he said. "The Iraqi people will spontaneously rise in opposition to a U.S. invasion." When I pressed him about whether he thought fighters from other countries would come to Iraq, he said some would -- but in the end, it would be Iraqis themselves who would expel the coalition forces.
I also talked to Munir Makdah, a member of PLO leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement and a key leader of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon -- the same resistance that forced Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. Makdah was less guarded than Fadlallah. He said he intended to send fighters into Iraq, and if the coalition managed to occupy the country, a relentless jihad would ensue, drawing believers from everywhere. To make his point, Makdah handed me a document circulating on the Internet that called for a jihad against the United States.
Whether you believe Fadlallah or Makdah, or even the theory that "remnants" of the regime are behind the latest attacks, my sense is that we are in for a rougher time in Iraq.
One of the lucky ones to survive Tuesday's bombing, Ghassan Salame, shares this view. Salame, my professor at the Sorbonne years ago and a minister in the Lebanese government until this year, was working for the U.N. mission and had left Vieira de Mello's office minutes before the bomb went off.
When we talked in March, he declined to predict how the war would go, but he was convinced the United States would end up in the middle of a violent social upheaval in Iraq. By removing Saddam, he said, we would disenfranchise the Sunnis. Smashing a fractured society like Iraq could only lead to sustained violence, he warned, at least until a new balance is found.
"But you know," Salame said, as best as I can recall the conversation, "you can't just get up and walk away from Iraq like you did Lebanon. No matter how bad it gets. If Iraq turns into anarchy, it's likely to spill into the rest of the Gulf. It would be a catastrophe."
Salame is right. Leaving Iraq now, in a state of anarchy, would lead to civil war. And then almost anything could happen, from pulling in Iran to spreading chaos to the Arab states of the Gulf -- which, by the way, control something like 60 percent of the world's oil reserves. No matter how tough things get in Iraq, we cannot leave until it is mended.
Robert Baer is a former CIA officer who served in the Middle East for 21 years, leaving the agency in 1997. His new book, "Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude" (Crown), was published last month. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=22&a=8
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