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Iranian Alert -- September 5, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 09/05/2003 12:43:23 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
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posted on 09/05/2003 12:43:23 AM PDT
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posted on 09/05/2003 12:44:30 AM PDT
posted on 09/05/2003 12:46:56 AM PDT
(Fight The Real Enemy...)
The End of a Honeymoon?
Arab News - By Amir Taheri
Sep 5, 2003
Until just a few weeks ago, Iran and Britain appeared to be destined for a mutually enjoyable partnership.
On Tuesday, however, the British government, having recalled its ambassador, Richard Dalton, announced the temporary closure of its embassy in Tehran. The decision came hours after shots had been fired at the embassy building in the center of the Iranian capital. Asked who might have been responsible, the Iranian authorities say they did not know. But this seems hardly credible since hundreds of people, including more than a dozen policemen, some of them supposed to be guarding the embassy, watched the whole bizarre episode. It is clear that the Islamic Republic wished to pass a strong message to perfidious Albion, and in the only way it knows best.
Tony Blairs government has invested a great deal in courting Irans ruling mullahs. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw visited Tehran four times in less than two years. In all his meetings with President George W. Bush, Blair hammered in the theme of constructive dialogue with Iran as alternative to regime change. By last March Britain had emerged as Irans most ardent supporter in the European Union. The British assumed the leadership of efforts to conclude a trade agreement between the EU and the Islamic Republic. London also supported Tehrans bid to join the WTO despite Washingtons reservations.
Some Khomeinist militants received scholarships to study at British universities. It was one such student who became the cause of a sudden end to the Anglo-Iranian courtship. The man in question is one Hadi Soleimanpour, who had enrolled at Durham University to study Islamic civilization. Now in his early 40s, Soleimanpour was no ordinary student. Having joined the Khomeinist revolution when in his teens, he had been one of the first to join the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a paramilitary force created by Khomeini in 1979 to crush his opponents. Soleimanpour eventually ended up as the Islamic Republics ambassador in Buenos Airs, the Argentine capital.
His tenure as ambassador had coincided with the blowing up of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires an attack that killed scores of Argentines, many of them Jews. Iran had always denied any involvement in the attack. By the mid-1990s the episode seemed to have been shelved. Last year an Argentine court reopened the case and ended up by formally pointing the finger at Tehran. It issued arrest warrants for a number of Iranian officials including Soleimanpour who had just landed in Britain to start a new life as a middle-aged student. Contacted by Interpol, the British police picked up Soleimanpour without informing the Foreign Office in London.
That led to what could only be described, if not as a clash of civilizations, as a clash of political cultures.
Tehran imply cannot understand that the British government may well be unable to order the police to let Soleimanpour loose. The mullahs anger at Britain is partly understandable. After all, on many occasions European Union states have ignored their laws to let Iranian suspects escape police arrest. In 1996, a Berlin court issued an arrest warrant for Ali Fallahian, a mullah who was the Islamic Republics minister for intelligence and security at the time. Fallahian had been charged with participation in the murder of four Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992. At the time the warrant was issued, Fallahian was visiting Germany. Having learned of the warrant, the German authorities arranged for the mullah to fly back to Tehran before the police arrived. The French had done even better. In 1994, Prime Minister Edourad Baladur ignored a Swiss demand for the extradition of two Iranians charged with political murders in Switzerland and helped them fly back to Tehran. Similar cases could be cited concerning other European countries.
Soleimanpour is not the only senior Iranian official to be subject to an Interpol arrest warrant on charges of terrorism. The latest the list of wanted Iranians contains 48 names, including that of the Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei, former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati. (On Wednesday the Islamic Republic decided to forbid, until further notice, all foreign travel by those on the list.) http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=31411&d=5&m=9&y=2003
posted on 09/05/2003 12:52:28 AM PDT
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posted on 09/05/2003 12:54:27 AM PDT
BLAIR URGES TEHRAN TO SIGN THE NPT PROTOCOLS
LONDON, 4 Sept. (IPS) British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday that until the Islamic Republic would continue with its controversial nuclear programs and support of terrorism, dialogue with Tehran would remain critical.
"In respect of Iran, we have a policy of critical engagement, we are engaged with Iran, we have a dialogue with their leadership, but we are under no illusion", Mr. Blair said during his weekly press briefing in London.
Relations between Tehran and London have entered a "turbulent zone" after the Scotland Yard arrested late in August an ex-Iranian diplomat in the northern city of Durham on charges of participation in the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires, killing more than eighty people and wounding some 300.
The Scotland Yard was acting on an international warrant issues early in August by an Argentinean judge against Mr. Hadi Soleymanpour, Irans ambassador in Argentine at the time of bombing as well as seven other Iranian officials, including the former Intelligence minister, Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian.
Iran vehemently denies the charges and insists that Buenos Aires is acting under pressures from both the Jewish lobby in Argentine and the State of Israel.
After failing to secure the release of Mr. Soleymanpour from prison, Iran called back his ambassador from London and, according to some Iranian pro-conservatives newspapers, have downgraded its cooperation in cultural, scientific and cultural fields with Britain.
Hours after it was announced that Mr. Morteza Sarmadi, Irans ambassador to Britain, had be recalled back home, five bullets were fired from the street to the British Embassy in Tehran, breaking some windows but causing no casualties.
Blair also urged Iran to meet its international obligations on its nuclear activities, amid suggestions the government has a secret atomic weapons program
and halt support for "terrorist" groups.
"It's important that both they adhere completely to the demands of the international community in the respect of nuclear weapons and that they cease all support for terrorist groups", Mr. Blair said, adding: "Until those two things are done our engagement is going to remain critical", he added, speaking about the Islamic Republic.
Iran is under international pressure to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to allow surprise inspections of its nuclear sites amid concerns it is secretly developing nuclear weapons -- accusations that Tehran flatly denies. ENDS GB IRAN 4903 http://www.iran-press-service.com/
posted on 09/05/2003 12:58:29 AM PDT
Former Iran envoy's arrest sparks international row
By Brian Byrnes | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 05, 2003 edition
BUENOS AIRES For more than nine years, Laura Ginsberg has been seeking justice. Her husband, José, was one of 85 people killed when a bomb rocked a Jewish community center here on July 18, 1994. The attack was one of the worst anti-Semitic acts committed since World War II and the deadliest in Argentine history.
While Ms. Ginsberg and her two children continue to cope with their loss, the crime remains unsolved.
"It's even harder these days, nine years later, because this impunity is going on," says Ginsberg. "We have no one responsible for this crime."
While no one has been convicted for the attack, the investigation has gathered speed in recent weeks, since British authorities detained a former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, in connection with the bombing.
The arrest has set off an intense diplomatic dispute between Tehran, London, and Buenos Aires, straining already tense relations between Argentina and Iran and threatening to sever the delicate ties that Britain and Iran have forged in recent years. Earlier this week, the Iranian ambassador to London was recalled to Tehran, and on Wednesday the British Embassy in the Iranian capital was attacked by gunfire, forcing its temporary closure. Both London and Tehran insist that relations have not been downgraded.
But the row could have wide- ranging effects. Next week, at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, the United States is expected to say that Iran should be found in noncompliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. With Britain often serving as a bridge between the Islamic republic and the English-speaking world, analysts say that sustaining strong London-Tehran ties is crucial.
"We [Britain] try very much to play the role of honest broker between the American view and other people's views, and the obvious example of that is Tehran, where the Americans won't have anything to do with the Iranians and vice versa," says one British diplomat who asked not to be named.
Argentine Judge Juan José Galeano's nine-year investigation into the bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) has rekindled in the past year, thanks in part to a July 2002 report in The New York Times which alleged that Iran paid then-President Carlos Menem $10 million to help cover up Iran's involvement in the AMIA attack. Mr. Menem has denied the charges. Since then, Judge Galeano has issued warrants for a dozen Iranians, including Mr. Soleimanpour. Soleimanpour was arrested on Aug. 21 in Durham, England, where he was working at a university on a student visa.
Miguel Bronfman, a lawyer for the AMIA, has been working closely with Galeano on the case. He says that while they are not condemning Soleimanpour, they do possess sufficient evidence to have him extradited here for questioning.
"We are accusing him of being the head of the intelligence net that Iran had in Argentina in 1992 and 1994, an intelligence net that provided the elements for the terrorists to achieve the result they achieved," says Bronfman. In 1992, a bomb exploded at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. That attack also remains unsolved. Iran has denied involvement in both attacks.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has promised "strong action" against Britain if Soleimanpour is not released. Iran has also threatened to expel British diplomats from Tehran, despite Britain's contention that the issue is a matter for the courts.
The Foreign Ministry has made it clear to Iran that this is a judicial matter in which the government cannot intervene. Last Friday, a judge in London denied bail to Soleimanpour despite a $1.1 million guarantee from Iran that he would not flee the country. He will appear in court again on Sept. 19.
Iran has already cut cultural and commercial ties with Buenos Aires, a move that will cost the cash-strapped South American country millions of dollars in trade revenue.
US and Israeli accusations
The US and Israel have long suspected Iranian-backed militant groups of carrying out the AMIA attack. Argentina is home to South America's largest Jewish population, numbering 300,000. With the country's porous borders and lax law enforcement, observers say it was a prime location for terrorists to operate.
Despite President Bush labeling Iran a member of the "axis of evil," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has traveled to Iran several times in recent years to shore up relations. Britain restored ties four years ago, sending an ambassador back to Tehran for the first time since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Bronfman concedes that pressure from Tehran may influence London's decision on granting the extradition. "This is not just a judicial case; it is a political case," he says. "Iran is a strong state in the international scene.... Great Britain will pay attention to Iran's requests."
American journalist Joe Goldman agrees. He has written extensively on the AMIA investigation and says that allegations against Galeano during his lengthy investigation may sway British authorities against going out on a limb for Argentina.
"Another court in Argentina is investigating Judge Galeano over [charges] that he burned important witness testimony tapes," says Mr. Goldman.
Galeano denied repeated requests for an interview.
While politicians proceed with the legal and diplomatic wrangling, Laura Ginsberg hopes that those who murdered her husband will be brought to justice.
But she doesn't think that recent events will help bring the painful chapter in her life to a close.
"This is part of a political maneuver," she says, "where the need to have international responsibility for the crime is the first priority here in Argentina."
Mark Rice-Oxley contributed to this report from London. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0905/p07s02-woam.html
posted on 09/05/2003 1:08:07 AM PDT
Iran Freezes Cultural Cooperation with UK
Tehran has put cultural and scientific cooperation with London on hold following Britains arrest of a former Iranian diplomat, the evening daily Kayhan reported Thursday. Kayhan said the foreign ministry has sent letters to some organizations advising them that travel to Britain by officials and non-officials in the education, science, culture and sports fields were suspended, and that such (cooperation) activities will not be held until further notice. The letter was sent by the director general of cultural coordination at the foreign ministry, the newspaper said..............AFP http://www.riyadhdaily.com.sa/display_assay.php?id=36215
posted on 09/05/2003 1:11:19 AM PDT
Iran requests more time for nuclear inspections
2003-09-05 / Associated Press /
Iran needs time to convince hard-liners before making a final decision on signing a protocol requested by the U.N. nuclear agency allowing more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities, a top presidency official said Wednesday.
"We need time to convince conservatives to support the government's positive approach on allowing unfettered inspections," Saeed Pourazizi told The Associated Press.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has demanded that Iran quickly sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that would allow tougher inspections of its nuclear sites without notice.
Iran has said it would agree to unfettered inspections if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology as provided for under the NPT.
"Iran's immediate signature will bring grave political repercussions for the government at home," Pourazizi said.
The row over the protocol has played into the ongoing power struggle between reformists supporting President Mohammad Khatami's program of social and political freedoms and hard-liners who control unelected institutions, including the police and judiciary.
Hard-liners, who believe the protocol undermines Iran's sovereignty, have increased pressure on Khatami's administration to withdraw from the NPT altogether if international pressure mounts on Iran to sign. http://www.etaiwannews.com/World/2003/09/05/1062725788.htm
posted on 09/05/2003 1:13:45 AM PDT
RUMMY RIPS IRAN & SYRIA
By NILES LATHEM Post Correspondent
September 5, 2003 -- WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday blasted Syria and Iran for failing to stop terrorist fighters from infiltrating Iraq, and said the coalition needs an additional 10,000 international troops.
Rumsfeld, under growing criticism for his handling of the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom, spoke during a dramatic and unannounced visit to Baghdad, where he met with top military and civilian leaders and got a firsthand look at the grim conditions facing U.S. forces.
On a day in which he also shook hands with weary troops and visited soldiers wounded in recent action in Iraq, the defense boss also made no secret of his displeasure with neighboring Syria and Iran for continuing to allow terrorist fighters to pass over their borders to join the holy war against the coalition.
"We are unhappy about the fact that people come across the Syrian and Iranian border. They know we are unhappy about it," Rumsfeld told reporters aboard the C-17 transport plane that secretly flew him to Baghdad.
The United States has been repeatedly warning Iraq's two neighbors about mischief-making, but Rumsfeld said the efforts of the Syrian and Iranian governments to stop terrorists from infiltrating Iraq has been "intermittent and uneven."
Rumsfeld admitted that U.S. forces in Iraq have only spotty intelligence about the range of threats from the Ba'ath Party, al Qaeda and, more recently, from the Shiite militant group the Badr Brigades, who have rearmed in the wake of last week's mosque bombing that killed more than 100.
"The U.S. intelligence community has imperfect visibility," Rumsfeld said, adding that commanders are "not comfortable at the moment with what they don't know."
Rumsfeld continued to insist that the Bush administration does not need to send more U.S. troops to Iraq.
But he said efforts are under way to bring former members of the Iraqi military and security services into rebuilding.
Sources told The Post last night those efforts include recruitment of former members of Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat intelligence service especially those who used to spy on Syria and Iran to get more information on the jihad fighters.
Rumsfeld also said he supports the recent White House campaign to get a new U.N. Security Council resolution to bring more international troops in Iraq. http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/5037.htm
Symposium: Jihad in Iraq
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 5, 2003
The recent bombings in Iraq indicate that a global Jihad is now being waged against the United States -- with its focal point in Iraq. What exactly is the nature of this new threat? Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? What policy must the U.S. pursue to defend itself and, ultimately, to achieve victory?
To discuss these and other questions related to the Jihad in Iraq, Frontpage Symposium is joined today by Michael Ledeen, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the new book The War Against the Terror Masters; Cliff May, President of the anti-terrorism think tank Foundation For the Defense of Democracies; Charles Kupchan. a professor at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century; and Daniel Brumberg, an Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of Reinventing Khomeini: The Struggle for Reform in Iran.
Interlocutor: Gentlemen, welcome to Frontpage Symposium. A few days ago a car loaded with explosives blew up outside Baghdad's police headquarters. A few days before that, a truck bombing occurred outside the Sheik Ali Mosque in Najaf. Add to that the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. All of these events, I think we can agree, are an ominous sign that the Jihad being waged against the U.S. is now centered in Iraq. What is the nature of this new threat?
Ledeen: I wrote the first edition of "The War Against the Terror Masters" a year before the start of the war in Iraq, and in it I said that Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia could not tolerate an American success in Iraq, and would send terrorists, assassins, kidnapers and the like against us. Their goal would be to repeat what they believe to have been their great success in Lebanon against us in the 80s and against Israel in the 90s.
So this was obviously going to happen, it was clear a long time ago, and indeed they told us they were going to do it. Bashar Assad gave an interview shortly after the start of the war in which he said explicitly that "Lebanon was the model" for their strategy.
May: Barham Saleh, the Iraqi Kurdish prime minister said it best: "Iraq is the nexus where many issues are coming together -- Islam versus democracy, the West versus the axis of evil, Arab nationalism versus some different types of political culture. If the Americans succeed here, this will be a monumental blow to everything the terrorists stand for."
But Im not sure I agree that it is ominous that the Jihad is now centering in Iraq. Were these Jihadists not coming to Iraq, theyd be going somewhere else to wage war against America. Is it not better to have them facing 101st Airborne in Tikrit, rather than crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders in search of shopping malls to suicide-bomb? Its not as if these terrorists -- were they not coming to Iraq -- would be enrolling in hotel management schools in Karachi, and watching over the progress of their 401ks.
The Jihadists have declared war on America. They have committed acts of war against America. Now we have to fight and win this war we have no other choice. We can not make ourselves inoffensive to the Jihadists. And winning this war means, among other things, depriving the Jihadists of territory, toppling what Dr. Ladeen calls the terrorist masters (such as Saddam Hussein), attempting to create civilized societies in former despotisms such as Iraq, and destroying the Jihadist terrorists wherever we find them and wherever they find us.
Kupchan: Islamic militants are apparently taking advantage of Iraq's porous borders, heading to a place where U.S. targets are relatively easy to access. The fact that other targets -- the UN, mosques, oil pipelines -- are also being hit suggests that the US may have its hands full trying to establish order and basic services. Despite what the generals are telling us from Bahgdad, I think more troops are needed -- and fast.
If not US troops, then it is time to get to the UN for a broader mandate. Although I would agree with May and Ledeen that the US must stay the course and prevail against its opponents in Iraq, I think it a bit illusory to maintain -- as I believe Thomas Friedman did in an column recently -- that winning is Iraq is the key to ensuring positive change in the Middle East. Yes, we need to stay the course in Iraq. But let's not buy into domino theory and overstate the case. Bringing stability to the Middle East will take generations, country by country. Better hunker down for the long haul. Let's hope that Iraq does not scare away America from the broader goal.
Brumberg: There are two related problems here, first there is the question of the Jihadists, the vast majority of whom are Sunnis, and then there is the question of the Sunni community of Iraq. The US made the mistake of conflating the Sunni population with Baathists and Saddamites, thus signalling the Sunnis that they would be the losers in any post Saddam Iraq. Bremer has tried to reverse this policy (which he first contributed to), but there is much fear in the Sunni population and thus a readiness to back the Jihadists.
As for the Jihadists, they would be wrong to assume that the fight they are waging now is analogous to the fight they waged in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. The majority of Iraq is Kurd and Shiites. Moreover, most Shiites still support the US. Sadr and his "Mahdi brigade" represent a small, well organized and thus very dangerous challenge, but they have not won over the Shiites majority, not yet at any rate. Iran's clerics support competing Shiites leaders. Indeed one faction is supporting the Hakim family, whose leaders sit in the Governing Council. But Iran could do a lot of damage if it chose, in one coherent policy, to back Sadr and his followers.
As for Syria, it badly miscalculated by allowing Jihadists across its borders, but now seems to be more or less cooperating. So, if we can some how gain control of the borders, we can lessen the flow of Jihadists into Iraq. Then if basic services can be restored, (thus reducing the influence of Sadr types, which derives in part from their control over social services, provision of security etc...), we can begin to turn the situation around. But, none of this is possible without some kind of internationalization of the reconstruction process in Iraq. My sense is that Bush and his advisors will come to terms with this challenge, despite the ideological challenges.
May: A domino theory for democracy in the Middle East is too much to hope for. But democratization of the Arab world must start somewhere, at sometime. We are now committed to helping assist the millions of Iraqis who want their country to become decent, free, democratic and prosperous. Theres no guarantee this effort will succeed. But there is a chance. And if we do succeed, that success will have a profound impact on the Arab and Islamic worlds.
But Mr. Kupchan is correct to suggest that if we fail, we are unlikely to make a similar attempt for a long time to come.
Im not sure Mr. Brumberg is correct to charge that the administration confused Sunnis with Baathists. Moreover, it has to be clear to the Sunnis that, in a democratic Iraq, they will be a minority and no longer entitled to rule over their Shia and Kurd neighbors. While some Sunnis accept that, others have to be expected to resist it.
Id argue that we should think hard before we seek to lessen the flow of Jihadists into Iraq. Rather we should encourage them to come (bring it on), track them as they enter Iraq and destroy them along the desert roads. After all, if these Jihadists dont come to Iraq what are the chances they will return to such home towns as Riyadh, Karachi and Ramallah to set up accounting practices or teach aerobics? These Jihadists are committed to killing infidels. We should want them to come out and fight our highly-trained and skilled combat forces. We should not want them to return to the mountain reaches of Pakistan and Afghanistan to plan terrorist attacks on American office buildings.
The Bush administration may be moving toward enlisting increased international involvement. I think thats mainly because the political advisors see a steep political cost to be paid for not having UN and other international participation. Thats become a top talking point of the administrations critics. But I see no reason to believe that the UN can be of much help with the key tasks defeating the terrorists and guerrillas and helping build democratic institutions.
Ledeen: Yes, as Daniel says, Syria is easier to intimidate than Iran, but the Syrians will help the terrorists as much as they can. I also agree that we will eventually win, but that requires the liberation of Iran, at a minimum. And I am sure we will get there, because there is really no way to escape. They have declared war on us, and our only choices are to win or to lose. "Internationalizing" the Iraqi battlefield won't help; it will only diversify the dead.
This really is a war of freedom against tyranny. The Iranians and the Saudis fully understand this (I'm not so sure about the Syrians), and I think President Bush understands it too, in exactly those terms. Alas, it does not seem that Secretary of State Powell sees it that way, and he keeps convincing himself that with only a bit more time, and bit more effort, we can settle this like gentlemen.
I wish he were right, but I don't think so. At the end of the Gulf War, we left Saddam in power, to our great regret. If we try to leave the mullahs and the sheikhs in power this time, it will be terrible.
Brumberg: The US does not have the means to affect regime change in Iran short of a full-scale military attack, and that is not going to happen, nor should it. The gap between the administration's rhetoric (which is not as extreme as that of Dr. Ledeen's) and political reality is huge. As I have noted, the notion that Iran's clerical establishment is about to fall, and/or that popular disgust with the regime is organized in a way that can threaten it, is misleading. We have a confusion between advocacy and analysis, between the way the world is and the way we want it to be. So the analysis is designed to abet the strategy, not the other way around.
Washington is full of this kind of inverted thinking these days. Regarding the internationalization of the war in Iraq (the war is not over, not withstanding Bush's declaration on the air craft carrier), judging by recent reports, and keeping in mind the logic of our current predicament, it seems that the Bush administration has concluded that some kind of modification of our approach is necessary, and that our own capacity to work with Iraqis will require a solution that allows the UN a bigger role. One can debate how that will be done, but one way or another it will happen, especially if we really want to win in the end.
Interlocutor: So postwar Iraq is now clearly a magnet for terrorists bent on attacking the United States. Who are our supporters and enemies in this new specific context? Are there some allies that are actually our foes?
Kupchan: The United States faces enormous challenges in Iraq. There are the direct enemies -- the remnants of the Baath regime and various militant groups in Iraq, some home-grown, some coming across the borders from outside. The broader Iraqi population is up for grabs. They certainly want basic services restored and a functioning state. But more could turn against the US if chaos prevails. Since the Bush team is reluctant to raise US troops levels as required, they should immediately seek help from allies -- Europeans, Indians, others -- and pass the necessary resolutions at the UN. Otherwise, Iraq could turn into a fiasco.
Brumberg: Well, these are difficult questions to answer given the paucity of good intelligence and the chaos in parts of Iraq. My sense is that several groups have taken advantage of this chaos to advance their "cause." These would include Islamist terrorist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda (some of which are linked to or working with Saddam's Fedayeen), Ansar i-Islam, many of whose members fled to Iran after the US attacked their camps, but according to reports, are now returning, Hizbollah, coming into Iraq from Lebanon through Syria, and the new paramilitary force known as Al-Mahdi, which is linked to Maqtadar Sadr and his supporters in the Shiite community. The latter group molds its ideology and program on the legacy of Mohammed Baqir is Sadr, and to some extent Khomeini.
Iran, or certainly some elements in Iran, seem to be supporting Shiite radical groups, some of which may be responsible for the recent attack on the Hakim family, whose leader is supporting the American backed Governing Council. I think the Hakim family can still be counted on as supporters, despite their links to Iran. Our essential problem in Iraq is with the Sunni community, most of whose members were not necessarily die-hard supporters of Saddam Hussein, but the vast majority of whom fear a Shiíte dominated Iraq.
The Bush administration, and Bremer in particular, fed these fears initially by putting, or seeming to put, all Sunnis in one camp, conflating Saddamites, Ba'thists and Sunnis. Obviously the Kurds remain key supporters in our effort to fight against terrorism.
Finally, apart from the issue of terrorism, my sense is that we should expect to see the revival of and even active participation of certain "fundamentalist" groups in Iraq, such as the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brethren. This group would not necessarily support terrorism, indeed it might condemn it, but its rhetoric will be anti American, anti Israeli and quite possibly anti-Semitic. But in the context of a new "democratic" Iraq such groups will emerge as players in the political arena. Finally, I might also add that Iran is planning to send an ambassador to Baghdad. It will be interesting to watch how the revival of Iraqi-Iranian relations plays out in light of US-Iranian relations, and in light of the American role in Iraq.
May: The Bush administration is eager for foreign support but reluctant to pass the necessary resolutions at the UN to obtain it. Thats wise.
As the price of their support, the UN and the Europeans (the French in particular) are demanding that the US cede authority. To agree to that would be the quickest way to turn Iraq in to a fiasco.
First, it would violate the need for unity of command. Would you really want a US general palavering with a Fijian general over how best to respond to a suicide bombing? More broadly, whoever has responsibility for the outcome in Iraq also must have the authority. Do you think UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is seriously proposing to share the responsibility for what happens? Do you think the media and international community will blame Mr. Annan equally with President Bush if Iraq does become a fiasco? Would you want Mr. Annan deciding which Baathists are sufficiently reformed that they should be welcomed into a new Iraqi government.?
Finally, the widespread notion that the problem in Iraq is too few boots on the ground deserves examination. Suppose you have a neighbourhood in which Baathist bitter-enders and foreign jihadis and known to be plotting attacks. Suppose that currently there is one US soldier patrolling that neighbourhood. Is he solving the problem? No, in essence, hes offering himself up as a target. OK, so what happens if you could assign another 10 soldiers American or Indian or French -- to that neighbourhood? Would that do the trick? No, those soldiers would still be out on the street, offering up more potential targets while the plotters continued to safely plot over their hummus and kabobs.
If more troops are not the answer, what is? Better intelligence. What you really need are Iraqi assets who can find out in which houses and mosques the plotters are plotting. Then you want clandestine operatives using electronic eavesdropping devices to hear what theyre saying about hidden weapons and allied terrorists in other locations. Then you want well-trained troops surrounding the plotters, demanding they come out with their hands up, and firing missiles at them if they refuse.
All of which suggests that the answer to current problems is not (1) doing whatever it takes to get UN and European troops in Iraq, nor is it (2) raising troop levels.
Ledeen: As I wrote in "The War Against the Terror Masters," Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia cannot tolerate an American success in Iraq (or Afghanistan, where things are also heating up). They are therefore supporting a terror war against us, hoping to repeat their success in Lebanon in the eighties and nineties. The Iranians are the driving force behind this, since they are the biggest by far of the three countries, and have the most experience in ruining terrorist groups. I think that the recent bombings have been organized by Imad Mughniyah, the infamous operational chieftain of Hizbollah, in league with the groups mentioned by Charles and Daniel.
The best way to think of the terror network nowadays is as a galaxy, not as separate organizations. It's like the mafia families in "The Godfather," they have united in a war plan against us. But the bulk of the guidance comes from Tehran, where most of the terror leaders have been hiding and working in preparation for this campaign in Iraq.
Questions like "who are our allies in Iraq?" are a bit beside the main point, frankly. There will never be peace in Iraq until the mullahs are brought down in Iran, and that requires us--and any other civilized country that understands the stakes--to support the Iranian people in their efforts to change the regime in Tehran and become free.
Brumberg: On the question of the UN, I have spent hours with people from the Pentagon and the international NGO humanitarian community in joint meetings, and the message has been loud and clear: the humanitarian crisis that emerged in Iraq in April and May would have been far less severe had the UN been brought in from the very start, and had the UN coordinated its activities with the US military. What the latter lacked was a communications system that would have allowed the US military to communicate with NGO activists and UN activists so that news of a crisis in this or that hospital, this or that water system, etc., could have been systematically and quickly distributed to all relevant parties.
The UN has THE MOST effective communications system for this kind action, the American military was unable (and sometimes unwilling) to make use of it, or to link up to it in any effective way. Everyone I have talked to agrees that this level of coordination was impossible because of: 1) the animosity between the UN and the Bush administration. 2) the level of force and technology integration in the American military itself, which made it hard (but NOT impossible) to create an effective means of coordination and communication. (This point was made strongly to Bremer during his recent briefings here in DC).
We have already paid a high price for our failure not merely to anticipate the humanitarian/security crisis, but for the tension and antagonism displayed towards the UN. As for the question of a military role for the UN, I don't think it's a matter of "ceding" authority: rather it is a question of negotiating a solution that would bring the international community in a manner that puts other military forces under US command, but still gives the commanders of these forces some role in coordinating strategy with the Americans. (This approached was adopted in Bosnia and elsewhere). What is getting in the way is not logistics, not strategy, it is ideology.
Finally, regarding Iran, the idea that Iran is the "driving force" behind the escalating attacks on the Americans, the UN and the Shi'ites is dubious. The murder of Muhammad Baqir Al Hakim was most likely a Fedayeen-Al Qa'eda joint venture. Al Hakim, had he survived, would have assured the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq and its followers a major position in any elected government. He would have advocated some kind of modified vision of Islamic government that would not only give clerics some kind of role in politics; it would have assured Iran influence in a post Saddam government.
After all, Al Hakim had been classmate of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was, by all reports, close to the hardliners. His main clerical competitor (and a man who was a genuine pluralist, which Al Hakim was not) was Abdel Majid al-Khoi, had been killed in April by the Sadriyun, who are more extreme than Al Hakim (but who, I believe, would not have dared assassinate Al Hakim). So we must look elsewhere than Iran for the MAIN source of the problem in Iraq. If democracy in Iraq has to wait for the fall of the mullahs in Iran, than we are in for a long wait. The notion that the mullahs are about to tumble is erroneous-- more a form of advocacy than analysis. Finally, I agree that more intelligence is required. But one look at the way the Bush administration has handled things suggests that this was sorely lacking from the start.
Kupchan: I disagree with Cliff May about the UN. We can get a resolution through the UN that preserves unity of command and keeps at an American at the helm. There are plenty of examples of intervention forces operating under UN auspices but preserving a command structure comfortable to the US -- such as in Kosovo or Afghanistan. Furthermore, we DO need more troops. Sure, better intelligence will help. But Iraq is coming apart at the seams. We need to make regular Iraqis feel more secure and that their lives are improving -- otherwise they will turn against the occupation. America is currently in a precarious predicament in Iraq. It desperately needs help. Going to the UN, engaging the international community, is a must. It would also bring added legitimacy to the operation in Iraq and to America -- both of which are sorely needed.
Ledeen: If the UN wants to send people in to Iraq, under any logistical set-up, that's fine with me, but they will be blown up by the terrorists just as they were in Baghdad in the Canal Hotel. I know people like Dan think I've confused my passions with my grey cells, but after all I am the only person who accurately predicted the terrorist assault, and I did it months before the liberation of Iraq. So maybe I know something after all. This is expanded in the new paperback edition of "The War Against the Terror Masters," should anyone care to look.
As for the assassination of Hakim, if that wasn't Imad Mughniyah, then it was a hell of a protege...Hakim was viewed as a traitor by Khamene'i, and was on an Iranian list of targets, including Jalal Talabani, Ahmad Chalabi and Hossein Khomeini.
To repeat, I don't believe it makes sense to assign responsibility for any terrorist attack to one specific group, or even a joint venture. There is now a terrorist galaxy, getting prime support from Iran and additional help from the Saudis and Syrians, and, more and more of late, the Libyans. Those are the terror masters who have declared war on us. They will not be mollified by UN persons in Iraq; they must drive out all the infidels and crusaders, otherwise they believe they are doomed themselves.
May: Im unclear what humanitarian crisis emerged in Iraq in April and May. While it was widely predicted that U.S. intervention in Iraq would precipitate mass exoduses of refugees, widespread starvation, epidemics, Turkish intervention in Kurdistan, civil war and the like none of that happened to the best of my knowledge.
To be sure, after decades of misrule and in the aftermath of a brief but intense conflict, there was and remains much work to be done to repair and refurbish Iraqs water and power system and to improve its health care system. The US forces did a surprisingly poor job of setting up communications networks not just with the NGOs but, more importantly, with average Iraqis who needed a reliable source of news and information.
As for getting through a UN resolution that preserves unity of command, the Administration appears now to be eagerly pursuing such a goal so I suppose well see whether it can be accomplished without leading to the trap of giving up authority while retaining responsibility.
While it is in the interest of the administrations critics (including those in the media) to promote the idea that the U.S. is in a precarious predicament and desperately needs help, I dont happen to believe thats the reality. Iraq is a difficult and dangerous place as we knew it would be. This also was the case in Germany post-World War II and in the South after the Civil War, to take just two examples. Back in May, did anyone seriously expect Iraq to be pacified, modernized and democratized by the end of summer?
As long ago as last March, Bashar Assad, Syrias pro-Saddam, Baathist dictator, threatened to turn Iraq into another Lebanon (from which U.S. forces fled after suicide bombings exactly 20 years ago). Hezbollah (the terrorist organization responsible for those 1983 bombings) also has been calling on Islamic militants to target US forces in Iraq. So too, has al Qaeda and Wahhabi clerics in Saudi Arabia. Irans mullahs obviously dont want a pro-American democracy on their doorstep.
Iraq, along with Afghanistan, has become the main theater in the global war against jihadist terrorism. Thats a tough situation but it may be preferable to the alternatives. Better to fight the jihadists in Baghdad than in Boston. It would be nice if the UN and the French, Germans and Russians would assist us in the war against terrorism but we shouldnt count on that, no matter what we offer them in return.
Interlocutor: Well Gentlemen, we are out of time. Would you like to make a final comment on the Bush administration switching gears and now requesting the U.N. to transform the U.S.-led force in Iraq to a multinational force and to play a significant role in shaping post-Saddam Iraq. Is this good news?
Brumberg: Well, it is something of a gear switch, a consequence of domestic and foreign pressures, as well as the internal fight in the administration, which Powell, backed by the Pentagon brass, has won, at least for now. I imagine if the French and the Germans play their cards badly, they could one again humiliate Powell and thus once again undercut their own interests (early indications suggest that they may be doing just this -- but perhaps their initial reaction to Powell's proposal are a simply bargaining position).
In any case, at this point it is difficult to judge whether we are moving from over drive to second, or just for fourth. How much of a shift time will tell. I don't think this is merely a cosmetic plan, something to please Western European (WE) players while leaving all the "real" power in the hands of the US. Depending on how the UN resolution is worded, and depending on how cooperation on the ground evolves, it might lead to a real division of labor and some authority-- thus pulling the Western Europeans into a project that might allow for an eventual healing of the great rift between the US and WE. That is a good thing. What is clear now to everyone is that rebuilding Iraq requires international assistance, support and participation. Even if, as I suspect, the 60 billion dollar rebuilding cost estimated by the administration proves too modest, the signal sent by international cooperation to both the regional players in the Middle East, and the Fadeyeen/Islamist terrorists forces in Iraq, will be positive.
Kupchan: The move to go back to the UN is long overdue. And we are going back at time when our bargaining leverage is low -- the rest of the world knows that the U.S. vastly underestimated the challenge of pacifying post-war Iraq and desperately needs help. But now is not the time for finger-pointing or "told-you-so" recriminations. Rather, Europe must join with others to make sure that Iraq is stabilized and headed in the right direction. Successful, pragmatic U.S.-European cooperation on Iraq may also help restore some equanimity to transatlantic relations.
May: Iraq has been liberated. Because of that liberation, there is now an historic opportunity to help Iraqis build a decent, free and prosperous nation the first democracy in the Arab world. It sure would be nice if the United Nations Security Council endorsed this project. It sure would be nice if the French, the Germans and others participated in it.
President Bush is asking them to do that. But if they are unwilling, or if they reply that the price of their cooperation is that they be given authority while refusing to accept responsibility I hope the President will walk away.
There are two key challenges in Iraq at this moment.
The first is to defeat the Baathist remnants and their Jihadist allies from abroad. The UN does not have the capability to do that. The UN doesnt gather intelligence or deploy Special Forces or even crack combat troops. But Blue Helmets could relieve US, UK and other Coalition forces of the burden of guarding pipelines, museums, hospitals, schools and mosques. They could patrol Iraqs porous borders. If troops from India and Fiji require the UN imprimatur to take on these tasks, that should be given to them. Indeed, there should be consequences if the UN withholds its approval.
The second key challenge is to begin to build democratic institutions in Iraq. The UN has no particular aptitude for that task. In fact, as an organization the UN does not prefer democracies over dictatorships. If it did, Syria would not be on the UN Security Council today, and Libya would not be heading the UN Human Rights Commission. So here, too, the Coalition must maintain authority, while opening the door for consultation with all those willing to assist.
A little more than half a century ago, Europe benefited enormously from the Marshall Plan, an American initiative that was both generous and enlightened. Now, the US is attempting put together what amounts to a Marshall Plan for Iraq. If it succeeds, the influence on the Arab and Islamic worlds could be profound. One would hope that the Europeans will not respond by saying, in effect: The Marshall Plan of the 1940s helped us, so we were all for it. This Marshall Plan would help someone else, so why would we care? Call us when theres some money to be made. But that response can not yet be ruled out.
Finally, its vital to keep in mind what Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden believe about Westerners in general and Americans in particular. They believe that if they bloody our noses, we will run. They believe we dont have the will or the stamina to wage a sustained conflict. They believe its only a matter of time before the unbelievers prove to be cowards who turn tail and run. There are those in the West who are encouraging such beliefs. It will be necessary to demonstrate that they represent only a small minority.
Interlocutor: Michael Ledeen, Cliff May, Dan Brumberg and Charles Kupchan, thank you for your time. It was a pleasure to have you on Frontpage Symposium. We'll see you again soon.
I welcome all of our readers to get in touch with me if they have a good idea for a symposium. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9693
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( BW)(CA-MEHR-IRAN) MEHR Iran Announces Iranian Torture Victim Sues the Islamic Regime of Iran
News Editors/Political Writers
PALOS VERDES PENINSULA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 4, 2003--MEHR Iran announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran (IRI), the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, and Ali Akbar Fallahian Khuzestani. The announcement was made at a Los Angeles conference to commemorate the massacre of prisoners of conscience in Iran and all over the world.
The lawsuit filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) charges that agents of the Islamic Regime of Iran tortured the plaintiff, Gholam Nikbin, who served three years in jail for his conversion to the Mormon faith and for permitting dancing at his wedding.
When asked whether he was not afraid of the terrible consequences of suing the Islamic Regime of Iran, Nikbin said to hundreds of audiences: "I do not care about my life. I want the whole world to hear my voice and know what they did to me. I am still suffering from what they did to me. I do not want this to happen to another Iranian. I want to free my country from these terrorists."
"This lawsuit sends a wake-up call to Iran that it can and will be held responsible for torturing its own people," said CJA attorney Joshua Sondheimer. "Subjecting someone to torture for their religious beliefs is abhorrent and condemned by international law, and Iran and the officials responsible thankfully can be brought to justice in United States courts," Sondheimer added.
Mohammad Parvin, founder of Los Angeles-based Iranian human rights organization MEHR, said: "This is our first lawsuit against the Islamic Regime of Iran but will certainly not be the last. We seek justice for the victims of the Islamic Regime of Iran because we believe peace cannot be achieved without justice. We also believe it is an effective way to stop the legitimization of the Islamic Regime of Iran by the interest-driven western governments.
"Our tireless efforts and dedication in exposing the human rights violations in Iran, the defense of prisoners of conscience, and formation of several conferences on the human rights violation in Iran, along with our continuous interaction with the international human rights organizations including Amnesty International, resulted in two significant achievements that we are very proud of:
1- We received recognition and gained the respect and trust of the Iranian people. Many of the victims of the Islamic Regime came to us and gave us authorization to act as their confidant and to seek justice.
2- We gained recognition from the international human rights organizations and were fortunate to attract the generous support of the `Center for Justice and Accountability' in undertaking the legal aspects of filing lawsuits against the Islamic Regime of Iran.
"Today, we are so pleased that after several years of hard work and in spite of all the obstacles, we have been able to file this lawsuit," added Parvin.
"I send you my greetings and support as you meet for this poignant conference to commemorate the thousands of victims of the 1988 massacre of prisoners of conscience carried out by the brutal Iranian regime. This oddly oft-forgotten crime against humanity, carried out on an order by the cruel dictator Khomeini, symbolizes and crystalizes the essential nature of the so-called Islamic Republic of Iran, which perversely exploits religion as a cover to oppress and kill as it sees fit. The barbaric behavior of this regime continues unabated today, as we have seen again just recently with the death in detention of the Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi," said Congressman Tom Lantos (D- 12th District, CA) in a message to the conference.
"As a fellow promoter of human rights in Iran, I warmly commend the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran for honoring the memory of those who have suffered from the savagery of this regime, for creatively using the courts to seek redress for victims of regime criminality, and for providing the occasion for all of us to re-dedicate ourselves to the struggle to achieve a just and democratic Iran. I know that the Iranian people aspire to enjoy the same blessings of democracy, freedom, and rule of law that we enjoy here in the United States. Numerous spontaneous demonstrations over the years, such as those violently suppressed by regime thugs in June, attest to Iranian yearnings. I join with MEHR in seeking to assure that all Iranians be accorded fundamental human rights," added Congressman Lantos.
In a message to the conference, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D- 47th District, CA) stated: "I regret that I cannot be here in person as you gather in remembrance of the thousands of prisoners of Conscience massacred by the Islamic Regime of Iran in the summer of 1988. Your efforts to hold the Islamic Republic accountable for crimes against humanity not only honors the memory of those who lost their lives in pursuit of freedom and basic human rights, but provides an inspiration for those who continue the daily struggle for peace and justice under the constant threat of peril."
The Congresswoman from Garden Grove, CA further stated that: "I applaud your efforts to bring the Islamic Republic of Iran's flagrant human rights violations to the attention of the international community, and pledge to continue to be a voice for the people of Iran in the United States Congress."
Congressman Howard Berman (D-28th District, CA), in his message to the conference stated: "Although a scheduling conflict prevents me from joining you in person, I am writing to let you know that I stand with you in your struggle to promote respect for human rights in Iran. As a senior member of the house International Relations Committee I will do everything in my power to help further this goal.
"Iran has a dismal record on human rights. Journalists are routinely jailed, dozens of newspapers have been shut down, religious minorities are persecuted, opposition leaders are beaten or killed and average Iranians are denied the most fundamental civil liberties: freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion and the freedom to choose their own leaders," added Congressman Berman.
Mr. Sean Butler, the President of the International Criminal Court Alliance in Southern California, described the mechanism of International Criminal Court in bringing to justice the perpetrators. http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/cb_headline.cgi?&story_file=bw.090403/232475562&directory=/google&header_file=header.htm&footer_file=
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Extended ex-envoy arrest in UK ''destructive''-Iran
TEHRAN, Sept. 5 Iran's foreign minister told his British counterpart the continued detention in Britain of a former Iranian ambassador would have a ''very destructive influence'' on ties, the official IRNA news agency reported on Friday. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-05-014607.asp?reg=EUROPE
"RUMMY RIPS IRAN & SYRIA"
"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday blasted Syria and Iran for failing to stop terrorist fighters from infiltrating Iraq"
I hope the title and first line are more indicative of what really went on, than the rest of article. "Unhappy" doesn't seem to cut it.
French firm probed in move of pumps to Iran
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
U.S. export-control officials are investigating a French company suspected of illegally supplying Iran with four specialty pumps made in the United States that can be used in both commercial and military equipment, The Washington Times has learned.
Treasury and Commerce department officials fear the pumps, described as cryogenic fluid transfer pumps, are being used as part of the cooling system for Iran's nuclear reactors, which can be used to produce weapons-grade material.
"That's the immediate concern," a Commerce Department official said. Export of the pumps is controlled because of their military capabilities.
The Treasury and Commerce departments are probing whether the French firm Technip-Coflexip in January diverted the pumps it purchased for a project in Iran to Iran's nuclear program. The electric pumps are submersible and used to transfer extremely cold fluids.
The officials said another likely use for the pumps is for the commercial transfer of liquid natural gas to ship containers for transport.
The officials said their departments also are investigating whether Technip violated licensing rules on sales of oil and gas equipment to Iran. Both areas of investigation could result in criminal penalties, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Technip spokesman Chris Welton had no immediate comment.
If the pumps were used by Iran's nuclear program, it would violate export controls on equipment with the potential for use in nuclear weapons development. It also would violate the 1996 Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act, which bars U.S. companies from developing Iran's petroleum resources.
Under the 1996 law, any foreign company that invests more than $40 million annually in the Iranian and Libyan oil and gas industry can be sanctioned.
Additionally, the transfer pumps would require an export license if they were sold to Iran, which is under a U.S. embargo because of Tehran's support for international terrorism.
Yesterday, a United Nations diplomat said concern about Iran's nuclear facilities has prompted the Bush administration to pursue a U.N. resolution to ensure inspection of the facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to officials, Technip contacted at least two U.S. transfer pump manufacturers, including the U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese-owned company Ebara International Corp. for two ethylene and two ethane transfer pumps.
The pumps were intended for the petrochemical complex being built by Technip called the 9th Olefins Complex at Assaluyeh, located on the northwestern coast of the Persian Gulf.
The diversion effort was outlined in documents sent to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in March by an informant close to Ebara. The office is in charge of monitoring adherence to export controls on Iran. Copies of the documents were obtained by The Times.
Ebara "has knowingly engineered, manufactured, tested and shipped the above-referenced pumps to Technip of France for delivery to Iran," the informant stated in a document sent to Treasury's chief of enforcement, Hal Harmon.
According to the informant, EIC's corporate lawyer in 1998 warned Ebara "not to engage in the sale of goods or engineering services to countries that are on the restricted list per OFAC regulations."
The informant also stated that an inspector working on behalf of Technip refused to authorize the shipment of the pumps because of concerns that the pumps would be sent to Iran.
The pumps also were exported without nameplates, the informant stated.
Richard Mitchell, the Ebara corporate counsel, said in an interview that the company has not sent any pumps to Technip in January. The company also scrupulously abides by laws and regulations related to sales to Iran, Mr. Mitchell said.
"I have asked everyone in the organization in a position to know and they have manifestly and devoutly stated that nothing was done" in violation of export rules, Mr. Mitchell said.
Ebara in January shipped several pumps to a Middle Eastern petrochemical complex but the sale did not involve Technip, Mr. Mitchell said.
The company is currently engaged in a deal with Technip to sell transfer pumps to a facility in Nigeria, but the pumps have not yet been exported, Mr. Mitchell said.
As for sending pumps without nameplates, Mr. Mitchell said: "It's not uncommon to ship pumps without nameplates. We do not nameplate pumps for other manufacturers."
Mr. Mitchell said he did not know where the information about the suspected diversion came from. But he said it may have been part of an effort at "dirty tricks" by a disgruntled former employee now working for a competitor.
Technip concluded a deal two years ago with the National Petrochemical Co. of Iran to build the 9th Olefins Complex and last year agreed to build a second facility.
The value of the construction of the petrochemical complexes at Assaluyeh is estimated to be worth about $1.2 billion.
Technip-Coflexip announced in September 2002 that it is also building Iran's 10th Olefins plant near the 9th Olefins at Assaluyeh that will produce 1.3 million tons of ethylene a year.
The deal is worth $358 million.
A company press release said Technip-Coflexip would provided "in-house ethylene technology and proprietary furnaces and will carry out engineering, supply of equipment and materials."
The company also will supervise construction of what it calls the largest ethylene plant in the world. http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030905-120820-2466r.htm
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US probes Iran 'nuke sale' French firm
WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (AFP) - The United States is investigating a French firm's alleged illegal diversion to Iran of US-made specialty pumps that can be used for nuclear reactors, The Washington Times said Friday.
The US Treasury and Commerce departments are investigating French firm Technip-Coflexip for possible violations of licensing rules, export controls on sales of oil and gas equipment to Iran and of a 1996 US law that penalizes foreign companies that invest in the Iranian and Lybian oil and gas industries.
The cryogenic transfer pumps - submersible and used to transfer extremely cold fluids - purchased by Technip were meant to transfer liquid natural gas to ship containers but are allegedly being used as part of the cooling system for Iran's nuclear reactors, which can be used to make weapons-grade materials. "That's the immediate concern," a US Commerce Department official who requested anonymity told the daily.
The United States is concerned over reports that Iran is secretly developing nuclear arms. On Wednesday, US Ambassador to Vienna, Kenneth Brill, told AFP that Washington would push the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency to pass a strong resolution to probe Iran's alleged nuclear programme.
An informant close to the US subsidiary of Japanese-owned transfer pump manufacturer Ebara International Corp in March informed the US government of the alleged diversion effort by Technip, US officials told the daily.
The French firm had approached two US transfer pump manufacturers, including Ebara, for two ethylene and two ethane transfer pumps intended for a petrochemical complex Technip is building in Iran at Assaluyeh, on the northwestern coast of the Gulf, the officials said.
The pumps were allegedly shipped to the French firm in January.
The diversion effort was mentioned in documents sent by the informer to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which monitors adherence to export controls on Iran.
The Washington Times obtained copies of the documents, one of which quoted the informer as saying that Ebara "has knowingly engineered, manufactured, tested and shipped the above-referenced pumps to Technip of France for delivery to Iran."
Ebara's corporate counsel Richard Mitchell told the newspaper that the company scrupulously abides by US laws and had not sent any pumps to Technip in January.
He also speculated that the information on the alleged diversion could have been part of the "dirty tricks" of a disgruntled former Ebara employee who now works for a competitor.
© AFP http://www.expatica.com/france.asp?pad=278,313,&item_id=34009
Iran to take nine passenger planes out of service
TEHRAN, Sept 4 (AFP) - Iranian Transport Minister Ahmad Khorram said nine passenger planes are to be taken out of service by the end of November to be replaced by newer aircraft, press reports quoted him as saying Thursday.
"So far, 12 old planes have been taken out of service and nine more are to be removed from the aviation fleet by late November," Khorram said. Eight Russian-made Tupolev aircraft have been replaced with Boeings, Airbuses and Fokkers, he added, not saying when the replacements were bought.
Five Fokker-100s have been purchased and three have entered the fleet. "Although the planes are not new they are in good condition," he said.
Khorram said ministry policy was to purchase used passenger planes with two-thirds of their useful life remaining.
Iran is badly in need of updating its air fleets, but it has problems buying new planes or spare parts due to unilateral US sanctions concerning the transfer of technology. It is barred from buying planes that have in excess of 10 percent American parts.
It relies heavily on planes leased or bought from the former Soviet Union.Between February 2002 and 2003, three Soviet-built aircraft crashed in Iran, causing the deaths of more than 400 people. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=17791&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
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Report: Iran-Britain Relations in Danger
Friday September 5, 2003 2:49 PM
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran warned Britain Friday that ties between both countries will suffer if London does not release a former Iranian diplomat sought by Argentina, state-run Tehran TV reported.
Iranian-British relations soured following last month's arrest of former Iranian diplomat Hade Soleimanpour in England over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina.
State-run Iranian media also said British troops in Iraq are holding two Iranian documentary filmmakers - Saeed Aboutaleb and Soheil Karimi.
``The continued detention of Soleimanpour and the two documentary filmmakers will leave very destructive effects on the two countries' relations,'' Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi reportedly said.
``The Islamic Republic of Iran is sensitive about the fate of its nationals,'' Kharrazi told British counterpart Jack Straw by telephone.
Wednesday, the British Embassy in Tehran closed after shots were fired at the building. No one was injured.
The British Foreign Office said the embassy was closed for security reasons, but diplomatic relations had not been downgraded.
Last week, a London court ordered Soleimanpour remain in custody until his extradition case beings Sept. 19. Tehran called for his release, saying the charges are politically motivated.
Iran recalled its ambassador to London for ``consultations'' after initial diplomatic efforts to free Soleimanpour failed. http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3110900,00.html
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Another dangerous collision course
The prime minister's U-turn over relations with Iran may be in Washington's interests, but it is certainly not in Britain's
Thursday September 4, 2003
Britain's deteriorating relationship with Iran, symbolised by yesterday's gun attack on the British embassy in Tehran, might be explained in two words: Tony Blair.
Since Robin Cook's time as foreign secretary, when diplomatic ties were re-established, the Foreign Office has gingerly pursued a policy known variously as constructive, critical or conditional engagement. The idea was to rebuild a dialogue with a nation of historic British economic and political interest.
Cook sought to encourage Iran's emergence from the anti-western isolation that characterised the post-1979 revolutionary era of Ayatollah Khomeini. The policy was not to ignore issues such as Iran's nuclear ambitions, its active hostility to Israel and human rights abuses, but rather to seek to modify Tehran's behaviour, partly through support for the internal reform movement.
It cannot be said that Cook's policy has been outstandingly successful. But it did reduce tensions between Iran and the west. Until now.
Britain's attempts at rapprochement gained the support of its EU partners, but not of the US, which eschews diplomatic relations with Tehran. With the advent of George Bush and his post-September 11 declaration that Iran was part of the "axis of evil", the divergence in policy widened into a gulf.
Nevertheless, Cook's successor, Jack Straw, worked hard to maintain the policy. Throughout the Afghanistan and the Iraq invasion crises, which caused enormous concern (and not a little paranoia) in Iran, he stuck to dialogue over confrontation.
Straw's Tehran visit last June was his fourth in two years. Before the trip, he noted that "our approach has been different from the US administration... and although it's a slow process, I think there are indications that it's had some effect."
In the same BBC radio interview, Straw particularly warned against interference in Iran's internal affairs which, he said, was the surest way to "derail [the] process towards a better democracy" by compromising reformers in the eyes of the mullahs.
So what changed? Why has Iran suddenly withdrawn its ambassador to London? Why does feeling run so high in Tehran? The answer does not arise solely from the arrest in London of a former Iranian envoy on an Argentinian extradition warrant - although Iran is indeed furious about the case. The answer is to be found in Tony Blair's latest, clumsy foray into the delicate and complex world of international diplomacy.
It started in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war, as the US rattled its sabres at Iran, warning it to keep out of Iraq or else. Perhaps Blair was overly influenced by the hawkish US view, expressed by Condoleezza Rice in May, that Iran's weapons and "sponsorship of terror" were the next big problem. Perhaps he worried that Bush could drag him into a third war in three years. Having made such a tremendous fuss over Iraq's illusory weapons of mass destruction, perhaps he wanted to shift the focus to those allegedly being pursued by Iran.
Whatever the prime minister's motives, and whatever established British policy might be, Downing Street let it be known on June 12, in remarks conveyed, unattributed, to the Times, that Blair was "launching a drive to put maximum international pressure on Iran" over its nuclear activities and that "Britain's policy of engagement with Iran will be reviewed unless it curbs its nuclear ambitions". Blair was also said to be doubtful whether reformist President Mohammad Khatami "still exercises any moderating influence on the hardline Islamicist (sic) regime".
A few days later in the Commons, and barely a week before Straw flew to Tehran, Blair expressed sympathy for student demonstrators protesting in Tehran. His remarks (echoing similar statements in Washington) nearly wrecked Straw's trip on June 29. Iran described Blair's in tervention as the very sort of unacceptable interference in its internal affairs that Straw himself had cautioned against only 12 days earlier. Fiercely anti-British press comment ensued and continues.
Blair had also upped the ante at the EU summit in June, presumptuously linking EU-Iran trade and other ties to the swift resolution of the west's (meaning, principally, US and British) nuclear concerns. By now Straw, who had sounded so relaxed in his BBC interview on June 17, was changing his tune: Iran had until this month to comply with the US-orchestrated demand that it sign, ratify and implement the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) additional protocol on snap nuclear inspections - or, implicitly, face punitive action at the UN.
Blair's single-handed and, one might say, unilaterally pre-emptive transformation of British policy on Iran seems to have been sealed during a private Downing Street dinner with Israel's Ariel Sharon in July. Israeli diplomats expressed great satisfaction afterwards that Blair had "changed his mind" and now fully shared Israel's concerns about Iran.
For Tehran, the message was as clear as it was deliberately threatening. In August, Khatami wrote personally to Blair, assuring him of Iran's willingness to meet its NPT obligations. Diplomats say that, humiliatingly, he is still waiting for a reply.
If all this sounds familiar, it is. As over Iraq, Blair and his Downing Street machine have a habit of taking charge of the big foreign policy issues - and, arguably, comprehensively fouling them up. As over Iraq, it seems the primary impetus behind Blair's volte face comes from his familiar desire to stick close to Bush's Washington, coupled with his own instinctive, untutored ideas about setting the world to rights.
It plainly does not come from Straw and the Foreign Office. It does not accord with the the national interest. It sets Britain on another dangerous collision course. And thus is a carefully calibrated, long-nurtured policy rendered unto dust. email@example.com http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1035158,00.html
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