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Iranian Alert -- September 3, 2003 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 9.3.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 09/03/2003 12:10:36 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; studentprotest
Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:

1 posted on 09/03/2003 12:10:36 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

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

2 posted on 09/03/2003 12:11:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Danger from Tehran

Bill Gertz

Faced with mounting evidence that Iran has lied about its nuclear program and is developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering mass destruction weapons, Washington is stepping up the political pressure to force Tehran to come clean about its nuclear programs. Both the United States and Israel have hinted that, if the international community remains unable or unwilling to persuade Iran to jettison these programs, military action to take out the radical Islamic regime's nuclear facilities cannot be ruled out.

In June, the United Nations-affiliated International Atomic Energy (IAEA) issued a report which confirmed longstanding U.S. complaints that Iran was secretly attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Since that time, the IAEA has sought unsuccessfully to persuade Iran to permit its inspectors to make surprise visits to suspected nuclear facilities in the country. (Agency inspectors have already found traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility.) These issues are expected to come up again on Monday, when the IAEA Board of Governors meets in Vienna, Austria.

A major problem is that the IAEA has been putting out mixed signals as to whether it seriously intendstochallengeIran'scontinued stonewalling. The trade publication Nucleonics Week reported July 3 that, at the IAEA's board meeting in June, the agency's director-general, Mohammed ElBaradei, resisted pressure from Washington to declare that Iran had failed to comply with IAEA regulations which covered the handling of nuclear materials. Last Friday, however, Mr. ElBaradei sounded somewhat tougher, declaring that Iran had shopped for nuclear components on the black market and appeared to acknowledge that Iran might be running a secret weapons program. Noting Tehran's refusal to sign a protocol allowing surprise inspections of suspected nuclear facilities throughout the country, Mr. ElBaradei said that, along with Iraq and North Korea, Iran has "been giving the international community the runaround."

While Iran continues to stonewall, the combination of a) an unchecked nuclear weapons program; and b) an ongoing program to develop ballistic missiles with a range of many hundreds of miles creates a potentially dangerous combination. In July, U.S. officials confirmed that Iran had deployed the new Shihab-3 missile, which is capable of hitting Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan. At a White House meeting last month, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned of an Israeli pre-emptive strike against one or more Iranian nuclear facilities. And The Washington Times' Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough reported Friday that Israel has actually mapped out a route its jet fighters would take to destroy Iran's two-reactor nuclear plant at Bushehr. The Times report also said that Pentagon officials talk "unofficially" about what action would need to be taken in order to knock out that facility.

The bottom line is that, in both Washington and Jerusalem, there is a growing sense that it would be intolerable if a regime like the one currently in Tehran were to possess nuclear weapons. (Pentagon officials, in particular, have declined to rule out using force.) It would certainly be preferable to have the problem resolved peacefully through cooperation with the IAEA. But so far, there seems little to justify that hope. At some point in the next few years, the United States and/or Israel may decide that pre-emptive action to remove the Iranian nuclear threat is the least unpleasant alternative.

3 posted on 09/03/2003 12:15:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Danger from Tehran

Bill Gertz

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
4 posted on 09/03/2003 12:20:17 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Disunity in the US makes Iraq look like a failure

September 02, 2003
Times of London
Amir Taheri

The reality isn't grim; but Bush must find a clear strategy to win the peace

For the world’s 300 million Shia Muslims, Najaf, a dusty city in central Iraq, is the gateway to paradise: to be buried there is a privilege. Today Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim, one of Iraq’s senior religious leaders, will enjoy that privilege when his mortal remains are laid to rest near the tomb of Ali, the first imam of the faith.
Hakim’s death in a terrorist attack in Najaf last Friday is a major loss for the Shias, who comprise 60 per cent of the Iraqi population. He represented a new generation of mullahs who believe that Islam should engage with other cultures, rather than sulk on the sidelines or throw bombs. Hakim had hoped to continue in the tradition of such grand ayatollahs as his late father Muhsen al-Hakim who opposed the participation of the clergy in government.

While the shock of Hakim’s death could take a long time to absorb in religious terms, its political consequences have been exaggerated. His murder does not mean that the political moderates are weakened; it won’t give more power to religious hardliners; nor, though he was important to US plans, will it scupper the formation of a new Iraqi government.

Ayatollah al-Hakim was the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), the largest anti-Saddam movement. He had assumed that position after his brother Mahdi, a Sciri founder, was murdered by Saddam’s agents in 1988. Even then, Ayatollah al-Hakim was careful not to become too absorbed in politics to endanger his religious status. He left the effective leadership of the party, and the command of its military wing, the Badr Brigade, to his younger brother Abdel-Aziz, now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

So those who hoped that Hakim’s murder would break Sciri are likely to be disappointed. In the 1980s and 1990s Saddam murdered 28 members of the Hakim family, including five of Ayatollah al-Hakim’s brothers, but he failed to crush its spirit of resistance. The Sciri was never a one-man show. But Ayatollah al-Hakim’s death increases pressure on the religious hierarchy in Najaf, especially the Grand Ayatollah Ali Muhammad Sistani, the primus inter pares of Shia clerics in Iraq. Sistani faces a dilemma. His theological position, a form of quietism, is based on the principle that religion and politics must have distinct spaces.

Right now, however, Iraqi Shias need leadership that can come only from religious figures. This is why Sistani published a statement yesterday calling on Shias to play a greater role in ensuring the security of the country in co-operation with the coalition. Despite the gloomy impression given by the Western media, it is important to recognise that not one of the five major Shia parties wants the US to leave: in fact, all agree that they need the US Armed Forces. Sciri leaders I talked to yesterday insisted that there would be no change in the strategy of co-operation with the US-led coalition.

That strategy, however, is in trouble. It is not because Iraqis want the Yankees to go home; or because al-Qaeda and the Baathist rump are unbeatable. The cause of the trouble is outside Iraq’s borders. The first is the Bush Administration’s failure to end its internal squabbles and present a coherent policy. Iraq’s political elite is being divided into supporters of Colin Powell and the State Department, and the Rumsfeldians who enjoy the support of the Pentagon.

Outside Iraq, the Powell camp is desperately trying to bring in as many flags as possible by giving the UN a role that it is not equipped to play in this difficult period of transition. The Rumsfeldians, for their part, are reluctant to have any flags other than that of the US and the UK, and reject even what the UN can do best, which is to help with humanitarian aid.

In some cases, such as the “abolition” of the Iraqi army, Washington acted with haste and arrogance. In other cases, such as barring anyone who ever had a Baath party card from holding office, it has been duped by returning exiles who wish to settle old scores.

Washington has also been stingy in spending on urgently needed public services. At the same time the Americans have raised Iraqi expectations and created a “room-service mentality”. Iraqis in Baghdad moan about the US failure to provide round-the-clock electricity, new jobs, better schools and hospitals, and democracy, all in just four months. But not even the grumpy Baghdadis want the US to leave now: they know that the coalition’s presence is protecting Iraq against predatory neighbours and ensuring that there are no revenge killings, ethnic conflicts, or religious wars.

Iraq has become a codename for the disputes of domestic British and US politics. Those who dislike Tony Blair and/or George Bush, for reasons that have nothing to do with Iraq, amplify every act of terrorism to score points and sap political will. But the fact is that Iraq, since liberation, has witnessed only 21 terrorist attacks. This is not a high figure by the region’s bloody standards. Baghdad is not what war-shattered Beirut was in its time and, even now, is a safer place to move about in than Algiers or Karachi.

Iraqis know that there are only two sides. On the one side are those who would stop at nothing to plunge Iraq into chaos in the hope of restoring the fallen regime or replacing it with another despotic moustache. Supported by Islamist terrorist groups, these elements have attacked the UN headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy and have killed far more Iraqi civilians than American and British troops.

On the opposite side there are those who wish to root out what is left of Saddam’s tyranny. With all its shortcomings and mistakes, Iraqis know that this side deserves support if their country is to become a beacon of light in one of the last remaining corners of darkness in the world.

The author is an Iranian commentator on Middle Eastern affairs
5 posted on 09/03/2003 12:24:05 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Disunity in the US makes Iraq look like a failure

September 02, 2003
Times of London
Amir Taheri

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

Another great article by Amir Taheri. -- DoctorZin
6 posted on 09/03/2003 12:25:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iraq has become a codename for the disputes of domestic British and US politics. Those who dislike Tony Blair and/or George Bush, for reasons that have nothing to do with Iraq, amplify every act of terrorism to score points and sap political will. But the fact is that Iraq, since liberation, has witnessed only 21 terrorist attacks. This is not a high figure by the region’s bloody standards. Baghdad is not what war-shattered Beirut was in its time and, even now, is a safer place to move about in than Algiers or Karachi. "


An excellent article. I think it's worth posting it as a stand alone article, starting a thread of its own, so more people will read it.
7 posted on 09/03/2003 12:30:16 AM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: DoctorZIn
Uneasy Alliance;Iran and India move closer

uploaded 03 Sep 2003

India's deepening ties with Iran could redraw the political map of Central Asia, even as the Bush administration commences what some say is an attempt at regime change in Tehran.

On May 18, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Iran that it would be "dealt with aggressively" if it continued its alleged support of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq. A day later in New Delhi, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes met with Iranian Ambassador Siavosh Yaghoobi and offered to cooperate with Iran in all strategic areas, including defense. Saying that unilateralism posed a great danger to the world, Fernandes affirmed India's commitment to a strategic and military partnership with Iran.

The move capped a series of quiet diplomatic maneuvers that have complicated security equations in Central and South Asia. Even as Washington has been building military ties with India, which it sees as a natural ally and potential counter to China, New Delhi has been forging a close relationship with Iran, which President Bush has declared a part of the "axis of evil."

On January 26, in the shadow of the then-looming Iraq war, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was the guest of honor at India's grand Republic Day parade. During the visit the two nations signed a strategic cooperation agreement that set in place energy and military deals valued at more than $ 25 billion.

Jane's Defense Weekly and Defense News reported that India and Iran signed a secret accord that gives India access to Iranian bases in the event of war with Pakistan. Both governments deny there is such a deal, but India is building a new port at Chahbahar, Iran, a project that is being closely watched by foreign powers.

In March, India and Iran conducted their first-ever joint naval exercises. Such close military cooperation between India and Iran is "unprecedented," says Rahul Bedi, New Delhi-based correspondent for Jane's Defense Weekly. India and Iran were on opposite sides during the Cold War, and later their relations were compromised by Iran's fraternal ties with Islamic Pakistan.

Iran is "focused on breaking out of the pincer" that the United States' continuing trade embargo and its expanded military presence in the region have created, Bedi says. "Iran is keen to acquire new energy markets," he adds. Militarily, it "is seeking to build up its missile and military software capabilities. It has also acquired four Russian Kilo-class submarines, and, like India, it also has some aging MiGs that need upgrading. Given the common equipment, [the Iranians] are keen to have India support and train them."

But the deepest concern to the U.S. and Pakistani governments is the possibility of Indo-Iranian nuclear cooperation. India and Russia have a long history of nuclear cooperation, and Russia is the key player in Iran's controversial bid to expand its German-built light water reactor at Bushehr. According to the CIA, Iran is also operating a heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

In 1983 India helped Iran restart its nuclear program, and in 1988 New Delhi almost sold Iran a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor for its Ma'allem Kelayah facility near Qazvin on the Caspian Sea. When that deal fell through, the CIA reported that India helped Iran set up a manufacturing plant for phosphorus penta-sulfide, a nerve gas precursor, at the same site. In 1996, the CIA also reported that India had provided Iran with technology that could be used to make biological weapons. When three Indian companies approached German suppliers to buy the equipment needed for the manufacture of Sarin and Tabun nerve agents, German intelligence traced the end-user to Iran.

Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of the report Iran and Nuclear Weapons, writes that Tehran is seeking increased nuclear cooperation with India and other suppliers because the United States has nixed its nuclear cooperation with South Africa, Ukraine, Argentina, and China. Iran's options were further squeezed when Russia supported the Bush administration's call for intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities.

But even if Indo-Iranian nuclear cooperation seems logical, Bedi argues, it is unlikely. "India is not a proliferating country," he says. "This fact is well established." Indian government officials enjoy pointing out that it was the United States that built Iran's first nuclear plant at Amirabad, and then turned a Nelson's eye when the Shah initiated a low-grade weapons research program in 1967.

Shifting sands

Instead Bedi, like many analysts, sees an Indo-Iranian alliance as a stabilizing force in the region and in accord with the long-term interests of the United States.

"India and Iran's cooperation began in Afghanistan, where their support was key in overthrowing the [Pakistan-supported] Taliban," Bedi says. "Their continued cooperation will promote the stabilization and development of Central Asia. Perhaps India can also act as a bridge between Iran and the United States."

For now it is a bridge that the United States is unlikely to cross. Though the administration's initial reaction to burgeoning Indo-Iranian ties was circumspect, and President Bush couched his concerns in soft language, the war in Iraq has changed attitudes.

Anxiety over Iran's alleged attempts to create an Islamic republic in Shia-dominated Iraq has once again flared tensions with Washington. An increased U.S. presence in the region is also making both Iran and India uncomfortable.

In addition to Iran's obvious concerns, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has also voiced unease over the United States' aggressive posture in the region. Speaking at a rally in Kashmir, he pointed to American intervention in Iraq as a reason for India and Pakistan to get serious about settling their dispute over the troubled state.

Syed Geelani, chairman of the Jamaat-e Islami, a separatist political party in Kashmir, says that the driving force behind the recent thaw in Indo-Pak relations "is not the desire to give Kashmiris their rights but the desire to keep the United States from meddling here in the name of terrorism."

Publicly, both Iran and India have been trying to allay U.S. fears over their new relationship. "The text of our agreement clearly states that it is not directed against any other nation," Ambassador Yaghoobi says of the rationale behind India and Iran's strategic cooperation.

India's foreign ministry says it refuses to see international relations as a zero-sum game. "The United States has its relationship with Pakistan, which is separate from our own relationship with them," says Navtej Sarna, the ministry spokesperson. "Our relationship with Iran is peaceful and largely economic. We do not expect that it would affect our continuing good relations with the United States."

Diplomatic and official sources in India agree. They say the Indo-Iranian partnership stems from both nations' longtime allergy toward the Saudi-funded fundamentalism gripping their common neighbor, Pakistan.

"India's new ties with Iran make it more, not less, valuable to Washington," says Stanley Weiss, chairman of Business Executives for National Security, which wants President George W. Bush to "join New Delhi and Tehran in an axis of friendship."

"Both countries played a vital role in creating and sustaining the U.S.- backed government in Kabul, [and] the United States will need Iran to help stabilize a post-Saddam Iraq," Weiss says. "New Delhi will also be an increasing asset to Washington thanks to its military partnership with Israel."

But India and Iran's growing involvement in Afghan politics, along with energy-hungry India's establishment of its first overseas military base at Farkhor in Tajikistan, indicate both nations are pursuing their own interests in oil- and gas-rich Central Asia.

There is also a deeper, more profound layer to the relationship between India and Iran. Both nations see themselves as great civilizational forces and are eager to restore their primacy in the world.

As neighboring countries, India and Iran have deep historical ties dating to the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great, which included parts of India. India's latter-day Muslim rulers were of Persian descent, and Urdu, a mix of Hindi and Persian, is widely spoken in India. Iran's Sufi Islam is substantially influenced by Indian thought, and many of India's religious and cultural traditions owe great debts to Iran.

When discussing Indo-Iranian ties officials from both countries often allude to these civilizational bonds. "We are from the same motherland and share deep cultural links," Yaghoobi says. "Though political differences separated us during the Cold War, President Khatami and Prime Minister Vajpayee have brought us back to our natural relationship."

Pipeline for peace?

Clearly, the public aspects of the Indo-Iranian accord envisage widespread economic and strategic cooperation. Iran will provide India with 5 million tons of liquefied natural gas a year for the next 25 years, giving it much-needed, revenue. Significantly, Indian firms will upgrade Iranian oil refineries and be granted concessions in Iranian oil fields. The possibility of constructing a $ 4 billion gas pipeline from Iran to India -- possibly via Pakistan, if politics permit -- is also being pursued.

"In effect, all this means that India is now a member of OPEC," Yaghoobi says.

The January agreement also includes plans for India to construct a new road and rail network in Iran. Both countries will use this as a trade and transit route to get their goods into Russia and Europe.

Since Pakistan's involvement will make both the pipeline and transit route much easier to build and operate, observers on all sides hope these projects will provide a strong incentive for India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes.

"This is a pipeline for peace," Yaghoobi says. In the recent rapprochement with India, he explains, "Pakistan has given emphasis to commercial aspects of their bilateral relations. . . . Both need cheap energy, and so we hope this project will help them resolve their issues."

"In the long run we hope for an economic bloc of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and maybe Central Asia," Yaghoobi says. "Currently there is a gap between the Association of South East Asian Nations and the EU. As the only two democracies in the region, India and Iran can start a partnership to fill this gap."

How the United States will accommodate such Indo-Iranian visions of a strategic region rich in energy and linking Europe with Asia is a prime example of what of Kennedy School of Government Dean Joseph Nye calls "the paradox of American power." Even as America is equipped to pursue its interests unilaterally, it needs the cooperation of many nations with diverse, even conflicting, interests to ensure a stable world order.

Source: IPA
8 posted on 09/03/2003 12:38:55 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Envoy Leaves UK Amid Row

September 03, 2003
BBC News

Iran has temporarily recalled its ambassador to Britain amid an escalating dispute between the two countries.

The foreign ministry in Tehran said Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi had returned for "consultations", but did not specify how long he would stay away.

He is said to have been recalled after failing to win concessions following the arrest of another Iranian diplomat in Britain, Hade Soleimanpour.

Mr Soleimanpour's extradition is being sought by Argentina in connection with the bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, when he was Iranian ambassador there.

The Foreign Office in London denied that Mr Sarmadi's departure amounted to a downgrading of relations.

Iran has threatened to withdraw some of its diplomats, but not its ambassador to London, over the arrest.


The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran says it is unclear what actions the Iranian authorities are planning to take.

There is speculation that they are considering expelling the British ambassador to Iran, our correspondent adds.

Relations between the two countries have been strained since Mr Soleimanpour's arrest on 21 August, following an extradition request from Argentina.

The Argentine authorities believe he was involved in planning and commissioning the Jewish centre bombing, which killed 85 people.

He has strenuously denied any involvement, but has been refused bail after his arrest in Durham, where he was a research student at the city's university.

Iranian President Ali Mohammed Khatami has demanded Mr Soleimanpour's release and an apology from Britain.

Last month, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Ahani, visited London to discuss the matter with UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

The British Government says it cannot intervene in what it calls a purely judicial, and not political, process.

Mr Soleimanpour was on sabbatical from the Iranian embassy when he was arrested.
9 posted on 09/03/2003 1:03:22 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; piasa; Valin; nuconvert; Texas_Dawg; kattracks; RaceBannon; seamole; ..
Shots fired at UK embassy in Tehran hours after Iran recalled ambassador

03-09-2003, 08:40

Britain's embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran has been shut down Wednesday after receiving direct hits from a number of shots fired from a nearby street.

According to an embassy spokesman, cited by the BBC, the five shots were fired on the embassy building just before midday (local time) Wednesday, breaking windows and entering the building.

Nobody was injured in the attack which comes hours after the announcement that Iran had recalled its ambassador to the UK.

The ambassador had been recalled to Tehran over the detention in Britain of Iran's former ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, wanted in connection with a "terrorist attack" in Argentina, nearly a decade ago as well as western pressure on Tehran over its alleged nuclear weapons ambitions, according to the British Guardian.

In its Wednesday edition, the newspaper said Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi flew back to his country after failing to settle any compromise from British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during a meeting held at the Foreign Office earlier this week.

A diplomat in London, cited by the paper, said that although Sarmadi has officially returned for consultations with his superiors, "he may not return."

Such a diplomatic row, according to the paper, could prompt Iran to expel the British envoy to Tehran, Richard Dalton.

Last week Sarmadi said "The arrest of former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, by British authorities is technically wrong and baseless."

Sarmadi told IRNA that based on international law under the 1961 Vienna Convention ambassadors and embassy staff are immune from prosecution.

Spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid-Reza Asefi Asefi confirmed the news about Sarmadi's return to Tehran. However, he dismissed as "baseless and unfounded" news claiming Iran has recalled 400 of its diplomats to the country.

The Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network claimed Tuesday that Iran, following the Argentina case, had recalled 400 of its diplomats back home. Asefi stressed that the news was utterly baseless and false. (
10 posted on 09/03/2003 3:15:19 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
Iran's ambassador to Britain returns to Tehran

LONDON, Sept. 2 — The Iranian ambassador to London has returned to Tehran, British and Iranian officials said on Wednesday, amid a dispute over the arrest in Britain of an Iranian diplomat and pressure over Iran's nuclear programme.
11 posted on 09/03/2003 3:16:24 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; piasa; Valin; nuconvert; Texas_Dawg; kattracks; RaceBannon; seamole; ..
Shots close UK Iran mission

The UK embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, has been closed after a number of shots were fired at the building from a nearby street.
A spokesman said that five shots had hit the embassy but nobody was hurt in the attack which took place just before midday local time (0730 GMT).

The incident comes hours after the announcement that Iran had temporarily recalled its ambassador to Britain amid an escalating dispute between the two countries.

Iran's ambassador to Britain, Morteza Sarmadi, was recalled after allegedly failing to win concessions following the arrest of another Iranian diplomat in Britain, Hade Soleimanpour.

Mr Soleimanpour's extradition is being sought by Argentina in connection with the bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, when he was Iranian ambassador there.

Diplomatic tension

The attack on the main office building in the embassy compound was launched from nearby Ferdowsi Street on a busy working day.

The first and second floors of the building were hit, breaking windows and causing damage.

The embassy has been closed down while investigations begin.

It has been on a heightened state of alert since the current diplomatic crisis with Iran.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran says the shooting will be an embarrassment to the Iranian authorities - it will also make it more difficult for them to approach London on the former ambassador's issue.

And, with ongoing US-led pressure over Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons programme, this is no time for Iran to lose friends, our correspondent says.

Apology demand

Relations between Britain and Iran have been strained since Mr Soleimanpour's arrest on 21 August, following an extradition request from Argentina.

The Argentine authorities believe he was involved in planning and commissioning the Jewish centre bombing, which killed 85 people.

He has strenuously denied any involvement, but has been refused bail after his arrest in Durham, where he was a research student at the city's university.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has demanded Mr Soleimanpour's release and an apology from Britain.

But the British Government says it cannot intervene in what it calls a purely judicial, and not political, process.

Tehran has threatened to withdraw some of its diplomats, but not its ambassador to London, over the arrest.

There is speculation that they are considering expelling the British ambassador to Iran, our correspondent adds.

The Foreign Office in London denied that Mr Sarmadi's departure amounted to a downgrading of relations.

Britain and Iran resumed full diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level in 1999 after a long break following the overthrow of the shah in the 1979 Islamic revolution.
12 posted on 09/03/2003 3:20:13 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
This map shows where shooting happened.
13 posted on 09/03/2003 3:28:11 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
British Embassy in Iran Shuts After Shots Fired

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Unknown assailants fired shots at the British embassy in Tehran on Wednesday and Britain temporarily closed the building for business, British officials said.

Bullets hit windows in upper stories of the building which stand near the perimeter wall next to a busy Tehran street, officials said. No one was injured.

The incident occurred at a time of rising tension between Iran and Britain over Britain's arrest of a former Iranian diplomat in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina.

Iran's ambassador to London returned to Tehran for consultations following the row over the arrest of diplomat Hadi Soleimanpour in connection with the Buenos Aires bombing which killed 85 people, Iranian and British officials said on Wednesday.

Staff at the British embassy in Tehran said up to six shots were fired but they said it was not clear who fired them.

"Just before midday (0730 GMT), five shots were fired from the street at the British embassy in Tehran," a Foreign Office spokesman in London said, adding that the bullets hit offices in the first and second floors of the building.

"Nobody was injured in this incident. The embassy has been temporarily closed for business," the spokesman said.

A Reuters witness said one pierced window in the embassy building was visible from the street. A British embassy official said toughened glass stopped any shots entering the offices.

Some embassy staff were sent home, while others moved to offices away from the street.

On the diplomatic front, Britain said it understood the recall of Iran's London envoy, Morteza Sarmadi, did not mean a downgrading in relations.

Soleimanpour, who was Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the 1994 bombing and who is in custody at Argentina's request, has protested his innocence.

Iran says his detention is politically motivated and has promised "strong action," warning Britain that the issue would harm bilateral ties.

Iran is also facing growing international pressure over its nuclear program. The United States accuses it of secretly developing a nuclear weapons program -- a charge Tehran denies -- and wants the issue referred to the U.N. Security Council.

14 posted on 09/03/2003 4:29:28 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Asefi denies recalling of diplomats

Tehran, Sept 3 - Spokesman for Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid-Reza Asefi dismissed as "baseless and unfounded" news claiming Iran has recalled 400 of its diplomats to the country.

The al-Jazeera news network claimed yesterday that Iran, following the Argentina case and the arrest of Iranian ex-ambassador of Iran to Buenos Aires, had recalled 400 of its diplomats back home.

Asefi stressed that the news was utterly baseless and false.

However, Asefi confirmed the news about Iranian ambassador to London Morteza Sarmadi's return to Tehran.

Some British media had quoted "diplomatic sources" yesterday as saying that Sarmadi had returned to Iran.

Asefi said that Sarmadi was in Tehran for some consultations.

He did not elaborate on how long the Iranian ambassador is going to stay in Tehran.
15 posted on 09/03/2003 6:26:41 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
Iran launches probe into shootout case

Tehran, Sept 3 - Iran's Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) have launched a serious investigation into the case of the shooting at the British embassy in Tehran, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said Wedneday.

Reports said unknown gunmen fired five rounds of bullets to the British embassy in Tehran in midday at about 11 local time.

"The situation is under control", Asefi stressed. The officials have launched a probe into the irresponsible incident, he continued.

Reports said that Iran have tightened security after the shootout on the embassy.
16 posted on 09/03/2003 6:29:56 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: katana; SpookBrat; onyx; ImpBill; concerned about politics; jmcclain19; ambrose; mvpel; ...
El Baradei urges Iran to accelerate cooperation

BERLIN: The head of the UN nuclear agency urged Iran Tuesday to speed up cooperation, expressing hope that it will “very soon” sign a protocol allowing unfettered inspection of its nuclear facilities.

“I would like to see more acceleration of cooperation on the part of Iran, more transparency on the part of Iran,” Mohammed El Baradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said after talks with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. “The earlier we finish the job in Iran the better, both for Iran and the international community.”

The United States accuses Iran of developing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, has said it would agree to unfettered inspections under an additional protocol of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology, as provided for under the treaty.

“I hope they’ll sign it very soon,” El Baradei said of the protocol. “They told me last week that they have taken a decision to conclude the protocol.”

Iran said last week it is ready to begin talks on signing an additional NPT protocol to provide stronger inspection powers to the IAEA.

“I would also hope that Iran, until they sign and ratify the protocol, act as if the protocol is in force, because the more transparency we see from Iran, the more confidence we can create that their programme is dedicated to peaceful purposes,” he added.

The IAEA has said traces of weapons-grade uranium have been found at a nuclear facility at Natanz in central Iran, but Iran said the equipment was contaminated before it was purchased. On Monday, Iran said that, before signing the NPT protocol, it wanted the IAEA to admit Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

El Baradei said the IAEA “would like to assist Iran with nuclear electricity.”

“I support, of course, the peaceful use of nuclear agency but I would like also at the same time to strengthen nonproliferation,” he added. —AP
17 posted on 09/03/2003 7:44:53 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Dr. Zin this is a fabulous article. I'd like to send it and post it, but I need the cite. If anyone has it, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
18 posted on 09/03/2003 7:51:25 AM PDT by the Real fifi
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To: the Real fifi
The original link takes you to a "by subscription only" section of the Times of London.

But here is a link to the article at his agent's web site:

Hope it helps.
19 posted on 09/03/2003 8:13:25 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
12 Iranian Intelligence Agents Arrested in Baghdad (whoops!)
Geostrategy Direct Backgrounder and Baghdad 'New Era'

Newspaper ^ | Week of Sept. 9, 2003 | Bill Gertz
Posted on 09/03/2003 6:38 AM PDT by prarie earth

Iraqi security personnel have arrested 12 Iranian Intelligence agents in Iraq. The Iranians were preparing to conduct bombing attacks in Baghdad, the Arabic newspaper Al-Ahd al-Jadid, or 'The New Era,' reported.

The Baghdad newspaper calls itself a 'democratic, liberal independent' newsweekly whose editor is Abd-al-Basit al-Naqqash.

The director of security patrols in the Al-Sulihiyah district of Baghdad arrested the Iranians at the offices of the Al Mashriq Money Exchange Company, the newspaper reported.

The Iranians were carrying counterfeit dollars and hotel bankcards. They also had visitor cards identifying them as with the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Vehicle Trading Company.

While Al Qaeda terrorists and pro-Saddam Iraqis are key suspects,United States Intelligence officials have not ruled out the possibility that Iranian Intelligence was behind the August 29th bombing of a mosque in Najaf that killed Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, a leading moderate Shiite who headed the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq....
20 posted on 09/03/2003 8:45:09 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
It does, Dr..Thank you so much..It is such a brilliant article..
21 posted on 09/03/2003 9:22:20 AM PDT by the Real fifi
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To: DoctorZIn

By Kathleen Ridolfo

A symbolic funeral was held in the holy city of Al-Najaf in Iraq on 2 September in memory of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim. The ayatollah was killed in a car bombing on 29 August as he left the Imam Ali Mosque in Al-Najaf following a noon Friday prayers sermon. Some 80 Iraqis were killed and more than 100 injured in the incident. Al-Hakim's body has yet to be identified, and mourners carried a casket containing only his wristwatch, ring, and pieces of his turban in a three-day procession from Baghdad to Al-Najaf.

The tension in the holy city is a reflection of the environment of turmoil seen in other Iraqi towns, where acts of sabotage and terrorism occur far too often in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Just one week before al-Hakim's killing, his nephew Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim was targeted when his office in Al-Najaf was bombed. He escaped uninjured. While Iraqi police claim they already have suspects for 29 August car bombing in custody, there would be no shortage of non-Iraqi suspects. Al-Hakim was indeed a target for Hussein loyalists, but he also could have died at the hands of Iranians, rival Shi'a groups, or Islamist militants.

Al-Hakim came from a prominent Iraqi Shi'a family, and like many of his relatives, he was a leading opponent of the Ba'athist regime. He was jailed in 1972, 1977, and 1979. Upon his release in 1980, he sought refuge in Iran and in 1982 founded the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which became the most prominent Iraqi Shi'a group. SCIRI enjoyed Iranian political and financial support, and used Tehran as a base for operations for its armed wing, the Badr Brigades. Prior to the U.S.-led war in Iraq this year, SCIRI claimed to have some 10,000-armed men inside Iraq.

The group had contacts with the United States and participated in the pre-war meetings of Iraqi opposition groups. After the downfall of the Hussein regime, many Badr fighters returned to Iraq and established a presence there. The armed wing was reportedly disarmed by the United States in early June, although a small number of men remained armed to provide security for high-ranking SCIRI members. Al-Hakim returned to Iraq in May and reinstated himself as a leading ayatollah at the Al-Hawzah al-Ilmiyah Shi'ite seminary in Al-Najaf. He told reporters that month that he would not seek a political role in Iraq, but would remain the spiritual leader of SCIRI.

But in the holy city of Al-Najaf, things were not peaceful. A fierce power struggle erupted between the older, established clerics and the younger generation of clerics, none more vocal than Muqtada al-Sadr, the young son of slain Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who was gunned down along with Muqtada's two older brothers reportedly by Hussein's men in 1999. Muqtada's followers, the Sadriyun, are thought to be responsible for the 10 April killing of U.S.-supported cleric Abd al-Majid al-Khoi, who was killed in a bloody attack just steps from where al-Hakim was assassinated at the Imam Ali Mosque. Accounts vary, but it is believed that al-Khoi was killed when assailants attacked him and the mosque's custodian, an Iraqi Sunni cleric who might have been collaborating with the Hussein regime, as the two men emerged following a meeting of reconciliation. It is unknown whether al-Khoi or the Sunni cleric was the target of the attack.

Muqtada al-Sadr denied that the Sadriyun had any role in the attack. He has since become increasingly critical of the U.S.-led occupation, and has established the Imam al-Mahdi Army, a volunteer movement that he claims will protect the Shi'ite seminary in Al-Najaf and spur a nonviolent movement to rid Iraq of coalition forces. Al-Sadr has also clashed with more prominent Shi'a clerics in Al-Najaf, largely because of doctrinal differences, and has openly criticized clerics who were on good terms with the United States. A cleric of little standing, al-Sadr attached himself to Qom-based cleric Ayatollah Kazim al-Ha'iri and relies on the elder cleric to issue fatwas, or religious edicts, that support his agenda. Soon after al-Khoi's death, al-Sadr criticized Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for meeting with U.S. officials, which might have prompted the ayatollah to announce that he would have no relations with the U.S.-led coalition. Al-Sistani promptly took refuge inside the Al-Hawzah, refusing visitors and interviews.

Al-Sadr was equally critical of al-Hakim and SCIRI, particularly when the ayatollah's brother, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, assumed a seat on the Iraqi Governing Council, which al-Sadr refused to recognize. Furthermore, al-Sadr, while of little religious standing, reportedly claims thousands more followers than SCIRI, and is particularly popular with the young, the poor, and the disenfranchised. But, while al-Sadr and his Sadriyun have a motive, it is unlikely he would sanction a terrorist attack of this kind just steps from the holiest mosque to Shi'ites in Iraq.

Another possibility is that elements within the Iranian regime targeted al-Hakim. While al-Hakim and his men lived under the patronage of Iranian clerics for more than 20 years, his return to Iraq was reportedly viewed in Tehran as a loss for the clerics in Qom, both in standing and in financial terms, since Qom had become the center of Shi'ite theology over the past two decades. Furthermore, the decision of the Al-Najaf clerics to welcome Hossein Khomeini, the grandson of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- who moved from the Qom-based Al-Hawzah al-Ilmiyah in Iran to the Al-Najaf Hawzah in early August -- might also have ruffled the feathers of some clerics in Qom. Khomeini, who said that he moved to Al-Najaf to continue his religious training and to teach, quickly made a name for himself by criticizing the Iranian clerics. International press reported that the move reflected a growing division in Iran between some Qom-based clerics and the Iranian religious authorities.

Moreover, Khomeini praised the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and claimed that Iranians were ready to topple their regime, and might even welcome the assistance of the United States in doing so.

Arab militants have also been suspected in the attack on al-Hakim. While the number of foreign militants inside Iraq is unclear, U.S. government officials continue to claim that foreign fighters -- particularly from Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia -- infiltrate Iraq on a daily basis. A leading Saudi cleric told AP on 31 August that the militants, once shielded and supported by the Saudi regime, are now under fire at home due to U.S. pressure on Saudi Arabia to crack down on terrorist cells. "Most youths think the only safe road is to go to Iraq," Muhsin al-Awajy told AP. "They are trapped between the international campaign against terrorism and this campaign at home."

Kuwait's reported on 27 August that Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan sources claim that some 1,200 foreign fighters linked to Al-Qaeda had made their way into northern Iraq from Afghanistan via Iran in recent days. A senior Iraqi police official told AP that there were nine key suspects in the bombing in custody, including two Saudis and one Palestinian carrying a Jordanian passport. The official said all nine, the remainder being Iraqis, admitted ties to Al-Qaeda, the news agency reported on 2 August.

Muhammad Husayn al-Hakim, the son of Muhammad Sa'id, may have unwittingly foretold the attack on Muhammad Baqir when he was quoted in the same article as saying, "We ask the American forces to set up numerous border posts," alluding to the possible involvement of foreigners in terrorist attacks on the UN and Jordanian Embassy. "If they managed to reach and attack UN headquarters, they can carry out assaults in Karbala and [Al-Najaf]," he said.

Hussein loyalists have been blamed for the assassination of al-Hakim, and, as noted earlier, there was no love lost between the ayatollah and deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The governor of the Al-Najaf province has said that the number of Iraqis being held after the bombing is fewer than five and that all are Iraqis tied to the former regime. It is also possible that Al-Qaeda fighters have teamed up with Hussein loyalists to launch attacks to sow discord and chaos in Iraq.

Hussein has purportedly denied any involvement in the incident in an audiotape released to Arab satellite channels on 1 September. However, the type and amount of explosives used indicate the involvement of regime forces. Moreover, nearly every leading Shi'ite figure blamed Hussein loyalists for the attack, with many expressing disbelief that any rival faction -- be it Shi'ite or Sunni -- could carry out such a deadly attack on a site revered by both sects. Shi'ite leaders -- in fact all Iraqi leaders -- agree that the loyalists' motive is to stir up discord among Iraqis in the hope of sparking a civil war in the country. The United States has yet to comment, but the FBI is assisting in the investigation.

In his final sermon on 29 August, the slain cleric denounced Hussein loyalists. "The Ba'athist regime targeted the Marjiya [the leading Shi'ite religious leaders] and carried out acts of aggression against the Marjiya. It killed...[Grand Ayatollah Ali] al-Gharawi, and Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and targeted al-Sistani and Bachir al-Najafi [leading Marjiya]," AFP quoted al-Hakim as saying. "The men of the ousted regime are those who are now targeting the Marjiya," he said. He might have been right.

source: RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 7, No. 167, Part III, 3 September 2003

Comment: At present people are working overtime in Tehran to investigate if someone from any of an official or unofficial agency was involved in the attack. Some fingers are pointing in certain directions, we will see if the government dares to disclose it.

Many mullahs in Qom are worried about the involvement of the "power authorities" in the destruction of Shi'ia theology. Expect increased exodus from Qom to Najaf.
22 posted on 09/03/2003 9:29:14 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Man Accuses Iran of Torture Over Conversion From Islam

September 03, 2003
The Los Angeles Times
Teresa Watanabe

An Iranian American who alleges he was tortured in Iran for converting to the Mormon faith and for allowing mixed dancing at his wedding has filed a lawsuit against the Islamic republic, activists announced Tuesday at a human rights conference in Los Angeles.

Ghollam Nikbin, 56, was whipped with an electric cable on his bare soles, flogged with a leather whip and hung upside-down during interrogation and punishment by Iran's security forces in the mid-1990s, he said this week. He said the torture damaged his kidneys and made walking difficult.

Nikbin told hundreds of Iranian Americans gathered at the Furama Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport that he hoped his lawsuit would make his homeland "ashamed, and they will hear my voice. I want to free my country from these terrorists," he said to a standing ovation.

The conference was held to commemorate the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.

Nikbin's case represents the first of an expected series of lawsuits against Iran by the Los Angeles-based Mission for the Establishment of Human Rights in Iran. The mission is represented in the case by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability.

The suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, is based on a 1996 law that permits U.S. citizens to sue for injuries suffered through torture and terrorism by Iran and other regimes designated by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism. The law, which requires that all claims be filed in U.S. district court in Washington, also covers Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Cuba, Libya and North Korea.

The State Department has designated Iran as a country of particular concern, and the department's 2002 annual report on religious freedom discussed particularly severe violations of religious freedom against members of minority faiths in Iran.

Religious minorities, including Bahais, Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews, constitute about 1% of Iran's 66 million people.

"There are terrible abuses in Iran that need to be called to attention: the routine use of torture, the religious intolerance, the lack of freedom of conscience and freedom of expression," said Joshua Sondheimer, an attorney with the San Francisco center, which was founded in 1998 with the support of Amnesty International and a United Nations agency to help torture victims bring legal action against the perpetrators.

Morteza Ramandi, spokesman for Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, said he had not yet seen the lawsuit and would not comment until he had. He also declined to discuss general allegations about human rights abuses.

Mohammad Parvin, founder of the Los Angeles-based Iranian human rights organization, said the group is working on at least 25 other claims it hopes to bring against Iran. Parvin, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident and adjunct professor of engineering at Cal State L.A., fled Iran in 1992 after being fired as a university professor for his pro-democracy activities and seeing other scholars arrested and even executed.

For Nikbin, the nightmares began after he moved back to Iran in 1993. He arrived in the United States in 1975 on a scholarship from the shah of Iran to study business management at Long Island University in New York. After the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the shah and installed an Islamic theocracy, Nikbin decided to stay in New York.

In 1982, he said, he converted from the Islamic faith of his birth to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after marrying a Mormon woman he had met on a volleyball court in New York. Nikbin said he had not been an observant Muslim, and was attracted to the Mormon Church because of the more honest people. The couple divorced two years later.

Although he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991, Nikbin said he returned to Iran two years later because he missed his family. But he said he was unprepared for the more restrictive religious environment that sharply proscribed mingling between women and men. On the night of his wedding to his second wife, Iran's morality police raided his party and arrested more than two dozen guests for mixed dancing, he said. For that transgression, the lawsuit alleges, an Islamic judge ordered him to be severely whipped with 40 lashes.

Nikbin said he was alerted by neighbors that security officials were starting to ask questions about him. He decided to return to the United States in May 1995. But he said he was stopped at the airport, taken to a prison and accused of changing his religionpunishable by death under Iran's Islamic law.

Although Nikbin said he initially denied the charges, the security officials produced his Mormon baptismal certificate.

After that, he said, he was beaten with an electric cable and hung upside-down.

He said that only his family's bribes to Iranian officials saved him from execution. Instead, he was sent to a mental hospital, where he was forcibly injected with unknown drugs.

Thanks to another bribe, he said, he was released in December 1998 after more than three years in detention and returned to the United States.

"When I was first released, I was like a zombie," he said. "But when I arrived back in the United States, I kissed the ground."

With the help of the Mormon Church and U.S. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), Nikbin was able to obtain visas for his wife and daughter to join him a year later. Nikbin asked that the family's residence be kept confidential for fear of retaliation.

But he said he decided to speak out to bring public attention to what Iranian human rights activists say are thousands of cases like his.

"If I go outside and get killed, I don't care," he said. "as long as I can help prevent the Iranian government from destroying other people like me.",1,6585717.story

23 posted on 09/03/2003 12:35:22 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Man Accuses Iran of Torture Over Conversion From Islam

September 03, 2003
The Los Angeles Times
Teresa Watanabe

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
24 posted on 09/03/2003 12:36:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Routed During the War, Ansar Returns to Join in Iraq Attacks

September 03, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Jeffrey Fleishman

QALAT DIZAH, Iraq — The men carried dollars, euros, a flashlight and five fake Italian passports. They descended the dry, brown mountains, following twisted paths past campfires of nomads and shepherds, and slipped into town in July. People in this part of northern Iraq are especially wary of strangers; the police were summoned and the four men surrendered in the marketplace.

The men — two Kurds, a Palestinian and a Tunisian — are guerrillas in Ansar al Islam, according to local security officials. Blending in with religious pilgrims and traveling on smuggling routes, the men were bound for central and southern Iraq, where the U.S. says Islamic militants and Saddam Hussein loyalists are staging attacks on civilians and killing American soldiers.

U.S. officials say that Ansar, the Al Qaeda-linked militant group that was chased from its bases in the north in the first weeks of the Iraq war, is regrouping and spreading across the nation, becoming one of the parties responsible for the wave of terror against Americans and their allies. The violence is believed to be the work of insurgent cells that include former members of the Baathist regime and nationalists resisting occupation.

"A lot of [Ansar guerrillas] are in Baghdad," U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III recently told reporters. "If Ansar decides to move, they'll move big."

Some local authorities dispute the belief that Ansar has the sophistication, tactics and manpower to orchestrate a countrywide terrorist campaign. About 250 of Ansar's estimated 700 fighters were killed in attacks by U.S. and Kurdish forces in the spring, officials said. Its mountain strongholds were destroyed and its weapons caches, manuals and bombs seized. Hundreds of its members escaped into Iran or hid along the Iraqi-Iranian border. Its leaders, some of them wounded, vanished.

But there is little doubt that Ansar has recalibrated its mission since March and is now a small but lethal threat to Western targets. American officials often make little distinction between Ansar and the Al Qaeda terrorist network. The groups have similar goals and a history of cooperation, and the characterization fits U.S. thinking about the increasing influence of foreign extremists in Iraq.

Some Ansar guerrillas, including three killed by police last week in northern Iraq, are attempting to join other Muslim extremists in operations against the U.S.-led coalition forces, according to Kurdish intelligence.

"There is a link between Ansar and some of what's happening in the south of Iraq," said Mohammed Haji Mahmud, the chief of a northern Iraqi socialist party that earlier this year negotiated the surrender of 26 Ansar fighters. "But not to the level being reported in the international media. Ansar cannot operate to that extent. They don't know the terrain in the south."

The Bush administration had alleged that Ansar was running a "poison factory" capable of producing chemicals for terrorist attacks throughout the region and in Europe. Washington also asserted that Ansar provided a link between Al Qaeda and the Hussein regime.

Those characterizations, which helped make Washington's case for war, were disputed by some European intelligence agencies.

The "poison factory" lacked sophistication and was housed in a small cinderblock building bearing brown granules and ammonia-like scents. Tests by U.S. laboratories revealed traces of chemicals including hydrogen cyanide and potassium cyanide, substances usually used to kill rodents.

So far, no significant evidence has emerged that Ansar and Al Qaeda cooperated with the Hussein regime to launch terrorist attacks against Western targets.

Deciphering the extent of Ansar's role in terrorism in Iraq is tricky in a region infused with rumors, murky intelligence, hidden agendas and overlapping political interests.

The case of one spy in northern Iraq illustrates the problem. He worked for the local socialist party and was passing on intelligence to Iran and indirectly to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, which controls the eastern portion of northern Iraq. The PUK in turn supplied intelligence to the United States. The Socialist Party recently discovered that the spy also worked for Hussein's Baath Party.

Ansar was formed from the merger of several Kurdish militant sects operating in the mountains along the Iraqi-Iranian border. During the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan in 2001, between 50 and 100 mostly Arab Al Qaeda fighters fled to Ansar camps for sanctuary.

Ansar quickly became an Osama bin Laden surrogate as its leaders modeled the group's training and tactics, religious philosophy and instruction for potential suicide bombers after Al Qaeda. Ansar grew more rigid, and its Kurdish members were influenced by the Arab contingents arriving from Afghanistan.

After scattering during the U.S.-led attack against them this spring, as many as 400 Ansar fighters fled to caves and villages in a 50-mile stretch of highlands along the border and inside Iran. The group has apparently transformed itself from a guerrilla army to a band of terrorist operatives. Many members are in Kurdish-controlled Iranian towns such as Mariwan, Pawa and Sina. The fighters, according to Kurdish officials, travel in cells of no more than four and receive instructions from a fighter known as Dr. Omar. The strength of their leadership is uncertain.

Two of their principal leaders — Ayub Afghani, a bomb maker, and Abdullah Shafi, a strategist — are believed to be in Iran. A third leader, Abu Wael, left northern Iraq with a small contingent of fighters shortly before the U.S. invasion and is said to be in Baghdad, according to a senior Kurdish intelligence officer. U.S. forces in Baghdad recently captured six men described as "Ansar financiers."

"This is not only the work of Ansar," said Haji Mahmud, the socialist party chief. "Ansar is masterminded by the global mission of Al Qaeda."

Al Qaeda's influence on Ansar became apparent this year. After several failed bombings and assassination attempts, Ansar's terrorist wing succeeded in February and March with two suicide bombings that killed seven people and wounded 24. Bomb vests and four cars laden with explosives and rigged for suicide attacks were discovered in Ansar strongholds after the group fled advancing U.S. and Kurdish forces.

According to phone intercepts by Italian investigators, Ansar was receiving assistance from Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Bin Laden ally who specialized in biological and chemical weapons.

The recent arrest of the four men here in Qalat Dizah is another indication, according to Kurdish intelligence, that the predominantly Kurdish members of Ansar are assisting Arabs sneaking into Iraq from Iran and Syria. On Aug. 20, U.S. troops arrested an alleged Al Qaeda operative in Iraq who possessed 11 surface-to-air missiles and acknowledged that he had trained with Ansar guerrillas.

Muslims in northern Iraq say the U.S. and the PUK are exaggerating the strength of Ansar to keep pressure on Islamic groups.

"Ansar received a very big defeat this year," said Mohammed Hakim, an official with Komaly Islami, which calls itself a moderate Islamic organization.

"It's not likely they are carrying out the attacks they are being blamed for. It is in the interest of some to amplify the size of Ansar. The U.S. sees Ansar as Al Qaeda in Iraq and the U.S. is relying heavily on the PUK, which has a vested interest against political Islam."

From his hilltop bunker above the town of Biyara, Ali Sofi Hama Amin doesn't consider Ansar to be much of a danger these days.

Biyara was Ansar's headquarters, and villagers are still clearing away debris from the U.S. cruise missile strikes. Hama Amin and his seven Kurdish soldiers scan the mountains daily for Ansar patrols that once moved freely beyond the town's blue-domed mosque. The mountain border with Iran rises in the blue haze. Below, the valley is rocky and brown.

"We're told Ansar exists in parties of twos and threes, but we haven't seen any," said Hama Amin, a thin man with gray in his mustache. "I don't think they exist in larger numbers. They're small groups out to do sabotage. I don't think they'll last for long."

Hama Amin and his men battled Ansar for months. They said the group made flamethrowers that could shoot fire up to 50 yards and rigged electrical poles with bombs. Many Ansar fighters, rather than give up during battle, killed themselves, he said.

That fervor emerged last Wednesday in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah when an Ansar fighter, known as Mullah Namo, and two other Islamic militants jumped on a roof and battled more than 100 Kurdish police and security forces. Kurdish intelligence officials said they had been tracking Namo — who trained in Afghanistan — and suspected that he was planning to attack an Internet cafe frequented by U.S. soldiers.

After several hours of negotiations, Namo agreed to surrender. As police approached the house, Namo and the two militants opened fire, killing a young girl and a colonel in the security department. Namo and his accomplices were killed in the ensuing battle. Before the shooting started, Namo yelled:

"I don't believe you or your religion.... I know at the end of the day I will die and two virgins will lift me by the arms into heaven!"

Times staff writers Alissa J. Rubin and Tracy Wilkinson in Baghdad and Bob Drogin in Washington contributed to this report.,1,5719485.story
25 posted on 09/03/2003 12:36:56 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraqi Cabinet Takes Oath of Office

September 03, 2003
Washington Post

BAGHDAD - Iraq's first line-up of ministers to replace the ousted government of Saddam Hussein formally took office on Wednesday, vowing to lead the country to democratic self-rule.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, outgoing head of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council that is to supervise the ministries in consultation with Iraq's U.S.-led occupiers, described their appointment as a step toward meeting the needs of Iraqis neglected under Saddam.

"Exceptional effort is demanded from every minister, and that he work for the rebuilding of Iraq, and do all that is needed to meet the needs of its people," he said, before members of the 25-strong cabinet took their oath of office, pledging to serve the country and its people.

Several of the new ministers were not present at the ceremony, for what Jaafari called logistical reasons. They were to be sworn in separately later.

The ministers -- whose backgrounds reflect the country's mix of Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, as well as Kurds, Turkmens and other minorities -- will be accountable to the Governing Council, but ultimate power lies with U.S. governor Paul Bremer until a government is elected.

In the oath of office ministers pledged to serve the country and its people.

Many of the new ministers are returned Iraqi exiles whose foreign education and professional backgrounds have been touted as the right qualifications for posts previously stocked with Saddam loyalists.

The distribution of posts according to relative size of various groups has prompted concerns that sectarian and ethnic divisions could be entrenched in a future government, but the new foreign minister, who is a Kurd, sought to dispel that fear.

"The ministry of foreign affairs is not to reflect the Kurdish identity in its activities, it is a ministry for all Iraqis," Hoshyar Zebari told reporters after being sworn in.
26 posted on 09/03/2003 12:37:34 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Hardliner Says No Nuke Checks Under Pressure

September 03, 2003

TEHRAN -- An influential Iranian hardliner said on Wednesday the Islamic Republic would not sign up to snap inspections of its nuclear facilities under the influence of international pressure, a newspaper reported.

Ali Larijani, head of the state broadcaster, directly appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran would not be forced to sign the so-called Additional Protocol that would allow intrusive inspections of nuclear sites.

''The Islamic Republic of Iran will not sign the Additional Protocol under the influence of political pressures,'' hardline newspaper Kayhan quoted him as saying.

Analysts have said Iran's conservatives want to present any signing of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a voluntary step in the national interest and avoid accusations of buckling to pressure from the United States, Iran's arch foe, and others.

Reformist Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi told reporters on Wednesday that the hardliners' stance would mellow with time.

''The passage of time will be effective in persuading them,'' he said.

The United States has accused Iran of a covert bid to build nuclear weapons, which Iran denies. The European Union has urged Iran to sign the Additional Protocol if it wants to keep good ties with the 15-nation bloc.

Iranian hardliners say signing the Additional Protocol would allow spies into the country. Reformists say it would show that Iran has nothing to hide, although some fear that it could infringe the nation's sovereignty.

If Iran does sign up, Iranian conservatives say they want nuclear technical assistance in return. Analysts say such an offer is not on the table.

Iran says it is developing a civilian nuclear programme to satisfy booming electricity demand and free up abundant oil and gas reserves for export. It blames weapons-grade uranium found in the country on contamination.
27 posted on 09/03/2003 12:38:09 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Hardliner Says No Nuke Checks Under Pressure

September 03, 2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
28 posted on 09/03/2003 12:38:51 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Russia Ready to Sell Air Defense Systems to Iran

September 03, 2003
The Russia Journal Daily

MOSCOW - Russia could start supplying advanced air defense systems to Iran, Rajab Safarov, General Director of the Russian Center for Contemporary Iranian Studies, told the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun.

According to Mr. Safarov, the sensational proposal was voiced by late Lev Rokhlin, during a meeting with Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani, within the framework of the visit to Iran by the State Duma’s official delegation in February 1997. Rajab Safarov was also a member of this delegation, as the Deputy Defense Minister.

According to the newspaper, General Rokhlin suggested that, having launched military satellites, Iran would be able not only to monitor all movements inside the country, on its borders and in the region, but also to ensure its security using various air and missile defense systems. “As Iran decided to build an atomic power station, it is necessary to protect it from multiple enemies. For its part, Russia is ready to provide the most advanced air defense system,” General Rokhlin said.

According to Mr. Safarov, Iran’s leadership showed great interest in this proposal and requested information about the price and technical specifications of the air defense system. According to the Russian side, the system would cost about $3-4bn, and it would take at least 3 years to build.

The Iranian delegation said it needed to discuss this issue with the country’s leadership. However, there was no official request from Iran.

Meanwhile, the Russian delegation headed by professor Zhores Alferov, Nobel Prize winner and member of the State Duma, will head for Teheran on September 19, 2003. It is expected that the visit will last about five days. Perhaps, the issue of the air defense system will also be discussed at the talks.

At the same time, a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is scheduled for September 8, 2003 in Vienna. International experts will discuss Iran’s nuclear programs. Having allowed a leak of information about its secret talks with Iran, Russia raises its stake in the talks with the United States. After the war in Iraq, anti-American sentiment is growing all around the world. In this situation, Russian air and missile defense systems are becoming more popular.

29 posted on 09/03/2003 12:39:31 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Russia Ready to Sell Air Defense Systems to Iran

September 03, 2003
The Russia Journal Daily

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
30 posted on 09/03/2003 12:40:19 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
President Katsav Holds Radio Chat with Listeners in His Native Iran

September 03, 2003
The Associated Press

Iranian-born President Moshe Katsav has hosted an emotional radio talk show with listeners from his native country, even as Israeli and Iranian leaders have traded barbs in recent days over Iran's nuclear program.

The broadcast earlier this week on the Persian service of Israel Radio paired President Moshe Katsav with listeners from all over Iran, service director Menashe Amir said Wednesday.

Katsav chatted in a mix of Hebrew and Farsi with Iranian listeners who called in during Monday's program, recalling his affinity for the country he left as a boy.

"My family lived in Iran for over 2,500 years," he said. "We absorbed the Persian culture and mentality, and we nurture in our hearts very warm feelings for Iran's history and culture."

It was the first time Katsav has addressed Iranians on the radio since assuming the largely ceremonial presidency in 2000.

Israel and Iran have been bitter enemies since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran regards Israel as a consistent violator of Palestinian rights and has called for its destruction; Israel says Iran supports terrorists and is pursuing a nuclear weapons program that threatens world peace.

Israel Radio reaches more than 1 million listeners in Iran and can be heard over the radios of shopkeepers in Tehran's markets, said Amir, who translated for Katsav.

The phone connection was routed through Europe for the president's 45-minute appearance because the two countries have no direct link.

A caller from Yazed, where Katsav was born, asked for help for a sick relative, saying he believes Israel has the best medical system in the world. Katsav said he would do his best, noting that many of his relatives are buried in Yazed and that the city remains close to his heart.

Another listener praised Israel for giving international aid but chided it for being selective.

"I am very proud of the fact that a native Iranian has become the president of Israel," the listener said. "Tell me. How is it that when there is an earthquake at the other end of the world, Israel mobilizes to help, whereas you will not help us - the Iranian people - go free?"

Katsav said Israel does not want to intervene in Iran's "internal affairs."

"This is a matter that is subject to the people of Iran. I am saying clearly that we are interested in rebuilding relations," he said. However, he said, "the Iranian leaders speak about the destruction of Israel."

The president "was clearly moved" to speak to the Iranians, who showed great interest in developments in Israel, Amir said.
31 posted on 09/03/2003 12:40:59 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Students protest repressed with brutality in Tehran
SMCCDI (Information Service)

Sep 3, 2003

The Islamic republic regime forces intervened, yesterday, in order to repress with brutality a peaceful protest action held by tens of students in front of the regional office of the Azad University in the Pasdaran (former Saltanat Abad) avenue.

Several students were beaten and arrested as they shouted slogans against the management of the Azad University and the regime's officials following the start of the attacks.

The students intended to protest against the impartial checking of their entry exams and the news spread about the sell of the questions to children of pro-regime families.

Several other colleagues of the protesters gathred earlier in front of the Islamic Parliament but were repressed as well.

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

32 posted on 09/03/2003 12:42:50 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Why aren't Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer reporting this story?

"But when I arrived back in the United States, I kissed the ground."

Is this the problem?
33 posted on 09/03/2003 2:09:45 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Embassy Shooting Fuels Iran-UK Tensions

September 03, 2003
The Financial Times
Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Jean Eaglesham

Britain temporarily closed its embassy in Tehran on Wednesday after several shots were fired at the building, amid mounting diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

The shooting - in which the embassy's offices were hit but no-one wounded - came two days after a protest outside the building against Britain's role in Iraq. It followed a further deterioration in diplomatic relations between Tehran and London when the Iranian ambassador was recalled home for consultation this week.

The recall of the ambassador, Morteza Sarmadi, followed his meeting with Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, on Monday. Mr Sarmadi hoped to gain some concession on the earlier arrest in the UK of Hadi Soleimanpour, a former Iranian ambassador wanted in connection with a 1994 bombing in Argentina which killed 85 people.

Tehran has called for Mr Soleimanpour's release, saying the charges are politically motivated. Hardliners have urged the pro-reform government of President Mohammad Khatami to break off relations with Britain over the arrest. But British officials on Wednesday said the arrest was a judicial matter and therefore fell outside their scope of influence.

Both Iran and Britain said the recall did not reflect a "downgrading of relations."

But the incident threatens to exacerbate underlying tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear programme. The issue is top of the agenda at next Monday's meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Authority.

The US is expected to push for the IAEA to declare Iran in breach of its international obligations not to build a nuclear weapon, paving the way for the United Nations to impose economic sanctions. Tehran is understood to be concerned that Britain - which, unlike the US, restored diplomatic ties with Iran four years ago - has now fallen into line with Washington on the nuclear issue.

The Foreign Office on Wednesday refused to pre-empt Monday's meeting. Officials stressed that Britain - along with the US and the rest of the European Union - wanted Iran to co-operate fully with the IAEA and address international concerns about its nuclear proliferation.
34 posted on 09/03/2003 5:55:34 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Dealing with Iran
(Filed: 04/09/2003)

The Government's policy of "constructive engagement" with what it perceives as moderate elements in Iran has again run aground on the rock of terrorism.

Last week, at Argentina's request, British police arrested Hadi Soleimanpour, the Iranian ambassador in Buenos Aires, when a Jewish community centre there was destroyed by a car bomb, killing 85 people and wounding some 200.

The Argentines suspect that Teheran and the Lebanese-based Hizbollah were behind the attack, which took place in 1994. Hizbollah, which acknowledges Iran as its ideological godfather, is listed as a terrorist organisation by the American State Department.

No longer a diplomat, Mr Soleimanpour entered Britain last year to do a post-graduate degree in environmental studies at Durham University. Following his arrest two weeks ago, he has twice been refused bail. Iran says he is being held for political reasons and has withdrawn its ambassador in London for consultations.

Yesterday , shots were fired at the British embassy in Teheran, forcing its temporary closure.

The Labour Government launched its diplomatic rapprochement with Iran after the election of Mohamed Khatami, a cautious reformer, as president in 1997. Two years later, ambassadors were exchanged for the first time since Britain severed relations after Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister, visited London in 2000 and Jack Straw has been to Teheran four times since becoming Foreign Secretary in 2001. Despite this warming of ties, Britain cannot claim to have bolstered Mr Khatami's authority at home.

Electoral victories at all levels have not enabled the president to change Teheran's fundamental hostility to Western interests in the Middle East; democratic domestic opponents now accuse him of being in the same boat as the clerical hardliners. The Foreign Office's hope that he could be an Iranian Gorbachev has proved illusory.

Iran has continued its terrorist operations overseas – for example, the shipment of arms for the Palestinian Authority seized by the

Israelis at the beginning of last year – and has recently alarmed the West by its attempt to become a nuclear weapons power. The last has led to a cooling of relations with London but the Government is anxious to avoid their formal downgrading.

Playing to the Labour Left's anti-Americanism, keeping in step with other European Union states, the lure of oil and gas contracts: all could persuade ministers to appease Teheran over Mr Soleimanpour.

For the moment, the Foreign Office is rightly saying that the case is a matter for the courts. However, the final decision on extradition will be taken by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary.

With the threat of global terrorism still acute, it would be extraordinary if he were to reverse a court order to extradite. But, given Labour's tenacious attachment to constructive engagement, it cannot be ruled out.
35 posted on 09/03/2003 6:41:45 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: All
The Left's Double Standards & Deceptions on Iran

(Defense & Foreign Affairs ^ | 09/03/03 | Elio Bonanzi)

For weeks during the month of June 2003 and on the occasion of the July 9, 2003, anniversary of the 1999 University protests in Iran, the opposition movement inside Iran challenged the authority of the Administration, marching and rallying, chanting anti-Government slogans, defying the guns and death squads of the various mullahs in key posts. As a result, thousands of political activists, students, and others, were rounded up and packed into prisons, subjected to torture, and in some cases murdered.

It is instructive to compare and contrast the articles about Nicaragua that appeared in liberal newspapers in 1979 and the articles about Iran today. In 1979 not a single liberal journalist strove to be “neutral”. From the perspective of the political left, there was no doubt: Somoza and his Government had to go.

The situation is totally different today. If it is to succeed, the growing opposition movement inside Iran needs tangible support from the West. Freedom fighters need laptops, fax machines and cellular phones to organize the uprising. If the Iranian opposition is to succeed, it also needs support from international media. But, significantly, that is not happening. The basic ingredients of the political situation in Iran — a growing opposition movement fighting against a leadership which oppresses the vast majority of the population — would normally be considered to be the perfect ingredients for a left-wing recipe to galvanize the masses in the name of freedom and democracy. It worked for Nicaragua, at the end of the 1970s; it worked for Poland and Solidarnosc in the 1980s. The question for analysts today is why the same recipe has failed to take hold in Iran.

Mainstream US liberal media barely reported on the Iranian uprising which occurred at the end of June and beginning of July 2003. Instead of praising the opposition demonstrators who literally risked their lives, soon after the end of the uprising, The New York Times, which in spite of recent scandals still remains one of the most prestigious national newspapers, published an Op-Ed by Mr Reza Aslan, a visiting professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Iowa.

In that article, Mr Aslan argued that the Iranian opposition was fighting for a religious democracy, not secularism, and religion must play a rôle in the country. Mr Aslan completely misrepresented the reality of Iran, and could not be further from the truth. The New York Times, by publishing that article, sided with those who sought to maintain the status quo in Iran. The most prominent Shi’ite scholars, ayatollahs like Taheri and Montazeri, have distanced themselves from the “political” clergy (Khamnei and Rafsjani), openly criticizing the very concept of Islamic Republic. Hossein Khomeini, himself an ayatollah and the grandchild of the Islamic revolution’s very leader, recently joined Taheri and Montazeri, criticizing religious interference in State matters, in a significant blow to the theocratic establishment. Mr Khomeini left Iran, and is now in Najaf, Iraq, which has once again become the most prominent Shi’ite theological center, relegating the Iranian holy city of Qom to a secondary rôle. Coalition forces in Iraq recently discovered a plot to assassinate Hossein Khomeini organized by the Shi’ite extremists sent by Iran’s “Supreme Leader”, “Ayatollah” Khamene’i and former Pres. Rafsanjani’s assassination teams.

Taheri, Montazeri and Khomeini the younger understand that Islam today is losing consensus in Iran and that the harshness of the Islamic revolution backfired. As a result, it is no longer appealing to Iranian youth; they now respond with either religious apathy or by embracing Zoroastrianism [the ancient religion of Iran, before Persians were forced to convert to Islam by the Arab invaders].

The “peace movement” taught us that only wars which were threatening the Soviet Union were worth protesting. Contemporary liberals would like to sell us a similar concept: siding with the “oppressed freedom fighters” against the brutal oppressors is not always politically correct. In the case of Iran, for example, the toppling of the mullahs could potentially benefit the US Bush Administration, simplifying the process of stabilization in Iraq, and extending US and Israeli influence in the Middle East. The perceived Bush-Sharon axis would come out undoubtedly stronger, after HizbAllah and HAMAS were left without their primary source of financial and logistic support, the Iranian clerics.

It is easy to understand why it is in the interest of the left to deliberately downplay the growing opposition movement in Iran. Apart from the more evident reason explained above, as far as Iran is concerned, the left still has a few skeletons in its closet, and must come to terms with past mistakes and faulty assessments.

To begin with, the left significantly contributed to the creation of the Islamic Republic, when US President Jimmy Carter deliberately destroyed the Shah, who had been a staunch ally of the US for 27 years. In the Shah’s White House visit of November 1977, Jimmy Carter and his aides — who demanded radical changes in the way the internal affairs of Iran were conducted — met the Shah with open hostility. They asked the Shah to institute the right of free assembly, at a time when the Soviet Union was stepping up a campaign of propaganda, espionage and even sabotage inside Iran, and Islamic fundamentalists where teaming up with the Iranian Communist Tudeh party to overthrow the Government.

Nureddin Klanuri, head of the Tudeh Party, who was living in exile in East Berlin, officially sanctioned the party line in support for Khomeini:

“The Tudeh Party approves Ayatollah Khomeini's initiative in creating the Islamic Revolutionary Council. The ayatollah’s program coincides with that of the Tudeh Party.”

Furthermore, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, a key figure in Khomeni’s entourage, was known for his strong connections with Soviet and Eastern European intelligence.

The Shah was left with little room for maneuver; he had to succumb to the blackmail of the Carter Administration and release political prisoners, ending military tribunals and granting rights of assembly in order not to lose vital US military supply and training. But the mechanism designed by Carter to provoke an escalation of the opposition to the Shah was already in motion. In addition to the support of the Tudeh party and Eastern intelligence, Khomeini could also count on US leftist radicals like Ramsey Clark, who had served as Attorney-General in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration. Mr Clark went to Tehran and to Paris, to visit Khomeini. Upon his return to the US, he played a behind-the-scenes rôle to influence prominent senators and congressmen not to allow the US military to back the Shah in case of popular upraising against the Peacock throne.
Mr Clark is today still proud of his crusade of 1979. In a recent interview he talked of overthrowing the Shah as “the” accomplishment of his lifetime, quoting overly exaggerated numbers of supposed Shah’s victims as the moral justification for his actions. The smear campaign orchestrated by left media while the Shah was still on his throne, and which continued well after his fall, depicted the Shah as a mass murderer, responsible for the killing of 60,000 people, who died between 1963 and 1979. That number was fabricated by Khomeini, and never verified, not even by Western media, which took for granted the “official truth” of the newly installed Islamic Administration.

Only recently a respected historian, Emad al-Din Baghi, who had access to the files of the so-called “Martyrs Foundation”, told the truth about the real number of Shah’s victims. For years, The Martyrs Foundation collected the names of the victims of the revolution against the Shah, classifying them by age, sex, education, etc. The findings where never disclosed by the Islamic Republic, in order not to contradict the official number “established by decree” by Khomeini. The statistical breakdown of victims covering the period from 1963 to 1979 adds up to a figure of 3,164. Emad al-Din Baghi left the Martyrs Foundation to write books about his findings. According to his historically accurate account, the worst moment of the uprising against the Shah, culminated in the massacre at Jaleh Square, gave the “revolutionaries” the chance to grossly inflate the number of victims, from 88 to initially 3,000, which later became 4,000. Western media never bothered to verify the accuracy of the numbers, based on rumors and anti-Shah hysteria, and helped perpetuate the inflated figures.

Not only the left contributed to the creation of the Islamic Republic; in more recent years, during the US Clinton Administration, the media and left-wing politicians helped the Islamic Republic propaganda, repeating and magnifying the “Big Lie” about Iran and its “Reformist Leaders”. “Big Lie” is a term originally coined to describe a characteristic form of nazi (and later Soviet) propaganda. The essence of the Big Lie propaganda technique is that if one repeats the lie often enough over enough channels, people will soak it up deep into their pores and come to believe it as something of “common knowledge” or “fact”.

In this case, the “Big Lie” consisted of portraying current Iranian Pres. Hojjat ol-Eslam (Ali) Mohammad Khatami-Ardakani and his Government as a genuine force capable of reforming the Islamic Republic “from within”, expanding democracy and meeting the requests of Iranians who voted for change against hard-line clerics in 1997. The “Big Lie” remained credible for a short time, and even opposition forces of the Iranian diaspora initially credited Mr Khatami with good intentions. But soon after the electoral victory of May 1997, it appeared evident that Khatami was a mere façade figure, whose task was to restore an image of respectability, which the Islamic Republic had lost when Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsajani, the former President, had ordered the elimination of anti-Islamic Republic activists [carried out by Iranian killers] in Berlin. After several European countries recalled their ambassadors from Tehran to protest against the assassinations perpetrated on European soil and threatened to reconsider business deals with Iran, the clerical apparatus in charge of the Islamic Republic decided to give itself a new and more presentable look.

The Iranian society had already sent strong signals of deep disaffection towards Islamic rule. It was easy to maneuver the elections; spiritual leader Ali Khamene’i handpicked a fossilized, ultra-conservative mullah, Nategheh-Nouri, the Speaker of Parliament (Majlis), as the candidate of the establishment, knowing full well that the electorate would have voted for the alternative candidate.

But what kind of alternative was Khatami? One should not forget that “democratic elections” are in reality nothing more than a farce in Iran. Opposition parties that do not pledge their allegiance to the Islamic regime are banned. And as if that is not enough, the all-powerful Council of Guardians subjects all candidates to a close examination of their loyalty to the “system”. The latter represents the “will of God”, while the Parliament (Majlis) represents the “will of the People”. Needless to say, the will of God always prevails over the will of the people. The “Spiritual Leader” Ali Khamene’i, who presides the Council of Guardians, is, to all intents, an absolute monarch. Of the initial 240 candidates who wanted to run for the May 1997 election, the Council of Guardians chose four who were deemed sufficiently Islamic to run. All women candidate were filtered out, leaving Khatami, carefully screened by the establishment, as the only reasonable choice. With his image of well-spoken, clean-shaven mullah capable of debating without losing his temper, Khatami was the perfect choice to rebuild the shattered image of Iran, especially in the eyes of the European powers.

The fictitious contraposition between “conservatives” and “reformists” and the “electoral victory” of the latter was the PR stunt that allowed the Europeans, anxious to continue usurping cheap oil and gas from Iran, to feel morally justified when they restored diplomatic and business relations with the Islamic Republic. The Western media on both sides of the Atlantic did the rest, generating a false sense of confidence in the “good guys”, the reformists, who, in spite of all the obstacles erected by the conservatives, would have eventually succeeded in fulfilling the needs and the democratic aspirations of Iranians. In all fairness, it has to be said that all mainstream media, irrespective of political leaning, initially praised Khatami’s election, to the extent of giving him the nickname of “Ayatollah Gorbachev”. The mullahs benefited from the newly-found line of political credit by cracking down on internal opposition with renewed vigor. A few months after Khatami’s “landslide victory”, journalists and intellectuals were killed in what went down the annals of history as the “chain murders”. In addition, real opposition magazines and newspapers were banned and forcibly closed down.

In spite of the repression of internal dissent, Khatami was invited by the major European powers for State visits. He went to Italy in March 1999, where he delivered a speech to the Parliament, to France in October 1999, where he was welcomed by Pres. Chirac at the Elysée Palace, and to Germany in July 2000, where he met federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer.

The Big Lie represented a perfect win-win situation for Iranian officials and European powers. It legitimized the Islamic Republic and its crackdown of the opposition, while justifying the Europeans in their renewed business interests with Iran, because, as German Foreign Minister Fisher claimed: “any opposition to Khatami only benefits his conservative opponents”. Khatami visited Germany exactly one year after the July 1999 student protests, during which security forces and Islamic militia murdered several young people. Khatami explicitly supported the repression of the protest, and in spite of receiving thousands of petitions; he did not intervene to stop the tortures and the arrests if students who were then sentenced to death after mock trials. But that was not enough to defeat the Big Lie; the sad reality of Iran was not convenient for liberal media and European politicians, anxious to clear the way to lucrative business deals with Iran.

The latest elections held in Iran on February 2003 also showed that the Emperor had no clothes; in Tehran only 10 percent of voters cast their votes, in other parts of the country the percentage of voters was higher, but in average no more than 25 percent. That sent Iranian authorities and the world a strong message of the distaste the Iranian public felt towards Islamic rule. Initially, only the Council of Guardians was labeled “the unelected few”; today the same can be said about the entire ruling class.

US non-liberal mainstream media finally woke up and started questioning the Big Lie, reporting on the June/July 2003 uprisings, realizing that Iran needed a secular democracy and not the false promises of a better future by a powerless mullah. In several occasions, however, liberal media still described the Iranian situation in terms of internal fighting between reformists and conservatives, demanding that the US State Department open a dialogue with “reformist forces” to reach a compromise on the Iranian interference in Iraq and the nuclear facility being built in central Iran.

Left-wing radical fringes recently gave birth to a Committee called the “International Committee for Transition to Democracy in Iran”. Radical celebrities like Noam Chomsky, Costa Gavras and the Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago were among the founders of the committee, which mixes anti-US and anti-Imperialist rhetoric with legitimate requests for a genuine democratization in Iran. It is now time for the more moderate mainstream left to start the long overdue process of self-criticism of past mistakes, and to recognize that the only reasonable political position is to side with the growing opposition movement that wants to overthrow the mullahs to create a secular democracy in Iran. The left opposed the war in Iraq using morally charged messages like “no blood for oil”. In order not to lose its credibility, the left can no longer ignore the legitimate aspiration of Iranians for a secular democracy. If the left insists on perpetuating its mistakes as far as Iran is concerned [trading long term benefits for myopic short term anti-Bush gains], it will be caught, once again, on the wrong side of history. It is not too late for the left to recognize its mistakes and to rectify its position on Iran, after a factual and honest debate; but that must begin now.
36 posted on 09/03/2003 6:46:42 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
It never ceases to amaze me that the Big Lie crowd can manage to look themselves in the mirror on a daily basis.

But, I find it hard to believe that they will willingly support the Iranian population. That would not only require convictions, but moral certainty, that justice will prevail. Are they strong enough for such a leap of faith?
37 posted on 09/03/2003 6:52:43 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Since they're not interested in morality or justice,
no leaping necessary. (Faith? what's that?)
38 posted on 09/03/2003 7:18:45 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; seamole; McGavin999; AdmSmith; RaceBannon; yonif; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
IAEA to Discuss Advances in Iran's Nuclear Program
Paul Kerr

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors will hold a crucial meeting on Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities this month to address concerns that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The meeting comes after the agency released an August 26 report saying that “there remain a number of important outstanding issues” about Tehran’s nuclear program that require “urgent resolution.”

That report was the latest in a series of warnings by the IAEA about Tehran’s nuclear activities. Prompted by the United States and other countries, a June IAEA Board of Governors statement called on Iran to resolve concerns created by the government’s failure to report nuclear activities “as required by its safeguards obligations.” The statement specifically called on Tehran to sign an additional protocol to its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and allow the agency to conduct environmental sampling at the Kala Electric Company—a site where Iran might have carried out illegal uranium-enrichment activities. Safeguards agreements are required under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which Iran ratified in 1970, to ensure that member states do not divert civilian nuclear programs to military purposes.

The Board’s statement came just after the IAEA issued a report June 6 about Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities. Agency experts have visited Iran several times during the past two months to verify information Iran subsequently provided about these activities.

The United States has long expressed concern that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program—a charge Iran has repeatedly denied. A State Department official interviewed August 28 said that the most recent report provides “further incriminating evidence” of Iran’s violations of its safeguards agreement, adding that the IAEA needs to continue to pursue these matters.

Iran Considers Additional Protocol

IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei visited Iran July 9 to urge Tehran to conclude an additional protocol, and a group of IAEA experts followed up on his visit on August 5-6 for further discussions about the matter. Since 1997, the IAEA has encouraged NPT member states to sign an additional protocol, which allows the IAEA to conduct more rigorous inspections, including visits to facilities that countries have not declared to the IAEA, in order to check for clandestine nuclear programs.

Although Iran has not yet agreed to sign it, Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said that “Iran views the additional…protocol positively” and will continue discussions with the IAEA, according to an August 13 Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report. The discussions are for clarifying details about the protocol, he said. Iran told the agency that Iran is “prepared to begin negotiation with the [IAEA] on the Additional Protocol,” according to the August 26 report.

Iran might have softened its stance on the issue of an additional protocol. Although a June IRNA report stated that Iran was conditioning its signing of the protocol on Western countries lifting restrictions on supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Aghazadeh said August 13 that “conditions are not important.” He implied, however, that Iran still wants access to nuclear technology, suggesting that the policy has not changed substantially. Article IV of the NPT says that states-parties “have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” The United States has laws against exporting dual-use goods and technology to Iran, and Washington has urged Russia to end its assistance for a nuclear program in Iran that Tehran and Moscow claim is for civilian purposes. (See ACT, January/February 2003.)

Secretary of State Colin Powell said August 1 that Iran signing the Additional Protocol wouldn’t be sufficient to satisfy Washington’s concerns about that country’s nuclear programs.
39 posted on 09/03/2003 10:09:55 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: the Real fifi; DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran Touts Missile Capability
Wade Boese

In a July military ceremony broadcast on state-run television, Iran announced that the medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile is ready for service. If true, the missile, which has an estimated range of up to 1,300 kilometers, could target Israel.

Israel and the United States have long criticized and tried to stop Iran’s ballistic missile programs. Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, described the latest development as an “extremely grave concern.”

Iran, which is also assessed by U.S. intelligence as pursuing nuclear weapons and exploring more powerful rockets than the Shahab-3, contends its ballistic missile programs are solely for defensive purposes.

The Shahab-3 is no surprise to Israel and the United States. In an April intelligence report on ballistic missile threats, the United States described the Shahab-3 as being in the “late stages” of development. Appearing July 11 on “John McLaughlin’s One on One,” Israeli Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon said the Iranians “have not perfected the system yet, but they are working very hard on it.”

Beginning in July 1998, the Shahab-3 has reportedly accrued a mixed record in several flight tests, the last of which took place just weeks before the July 20 ceremony. Tehran described the last test as a success.

Much ambiguity still shrouds the missile. The Shahab-3 is modeled in part on North Korea’s Nodong missile, but U.S. government officials refused to comment on whether Iran could indigenously produce the missile. It is also not public how many Shahab-3s might be available for potential use. The Central Intelligence Agency reported in 1999 that Iran probably had a “limited number” of prototype Shahab-3s that could be deployed in an operational mode.

Israel says it is prepared to defend itself against an Iranian ballistic missile attack. Tel Aviv has deployed two batteries of Arrow anti-missile interceptors and is preparing to field another. Built in cooperation with the United States and designed to destroy short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, the Arrow has yet to be used in battle.
40 posted on 09/03/2003 10:13:03 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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41 posted on 09/04/2003 12:03:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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