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Iranian Alert -- September 7, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 9.7.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 09/07/2003 12:22:06 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

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1 posted on 09/07/2003 12:22:07 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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2 posted on 09/07/2003 12:23:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Bush on warpath over UN's shock report on Iran A-bomb
By Con Coughlin
(Filed: 07/09/2003)

America will tomorrow demand that the United Nations takes urgent action to prevent Iran acquiring the atom bomb as fears mount that Teheran is on course to develop a nuclear weapons capability within two years.

United States officials will make the demand at a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that has been arranged to consider a 10-page report by Mohammed al-Baradei, the agency's director-general, into the state of Iran's nuclear programme.

Washington has already expressed deep concern about the discovery of traces of weapons grade uranium found in soil samples taken from one of Iran's top secret nuclear facilities last July.

In his report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Telegraph, Mr al-Baradei lists serious concerns raised by UN weapons inspectors about the scope of Iran's nuclear programme, which Teheran continues to insist is aimed at developing a nuclear power industry.

Inspectors are particularly concerned about activity at a nuclear complex at Natanz, in central Iran, which has sophisticated equipment for enriching uranium to weapons grade standard.

Even though the complex was built five years ago, the Iranian authorities only confirmed its existence to the IAEA earlier this year after its location was revealed by Iranian exiles.

The report also details the inspectors' concerns about the development of a heavy water facility at Arak, which they believe could help Iran to manufacture weapons grade uranium.

Mr al-Baradei writes in the report's conclusion that "there remain a number of important outstanding issues, particularly with regard to Iran's enrichment programme, that require urgent resolution".

US officials, however, are concerned that Mr al-Baradei, who this year argued in favour of UN inspectors being given more time to locate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, will try to play down the significance of the recent discoveries made in Iran.

One American closely involved in monitoring Iran's nuclear programme said: "The big difference between Iraq and Iran is that the Iranians now have the ability to develop an atom bomb within two years. The time has come to force the Iranians to come clean about their real intentions."

Although Mr al-Baradei admits that the Iranians have deployed a variety of delaying tactics to prevent UN inspectors gaining access to secret nuclear facilities, he believes that they should be given more time to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

American officials fear that many Europeans on the IAEA's 35-member board of governors, some of whose countries have lucrative trade ties with Teheran, will back Mr al-Baradei's position.
3 posted on 09/07/2003 12:24:30 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Current Headline on the


Which he links to the following article....

Bush on warpath over UN's shock report on Iran A-bomb
By Con Coughlin
(Filed: 07/09/2003)

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
4 posted on 09/07/2003 12:31:36 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Fail To Agree On Return Of Nuclear Fuel

September 06, 2003
Radio Free Europe

Moscow -- Talks between Russia and Iran have still failed to resolve the question of the return of spent fuel to Russia from Iran's nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

Russia is helping Iran build the nuclear power plant at Bushehr. But, under strong international pressure -- particularly from the U.S. -- Russia has demanded that Iran return spent fuel from the plant. The U.S. has accused Tehran of seeking to develop its nuclear weapons program.

Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry said today it would not start delivering fuel for the Bushehr plant until an agreement is reached on the return of the fuel once it is used.

Representatives of the two countries met yesterday in Moscow but failed to agree on a date for signing the agreement.

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry today rejected U.S. claims that Tehran was not doing enough to prevent anti-U.S. fighters from crossing from Iran into Iraq.

Iran's state news agency IRNA cited Foreign Ministry spokesman Reza Asefi as saying Washington is looking to lay blame for the continued resistance to U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week that Iran and Syria's efforts to stop foreign fighters were "intermittent" and "uneven."

Washington has blamed fighters loyal to ousted Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein and foreign Islamic radicals for the continued violence in Iraq.
5 posted on 09/07/2003 12:33:38 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Divided on Nuclear Inspection Issue


EHRAN, Sept. 6 — Tension among political groups here is intensifying over whether Iran will allow more aggressive inspections of its nuclear sites.

The possibility is remote that Iran would sign the additional protocol for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty before the International Atomic Energy Agency meets on Monday to discuss the issue. The agency could send the case to the United Nations Security Council if it concludes that Iran's nuclear activities pose a threat.

But the issue has divided policy makers here into two distinct groups, not necessarily along the lines of their hard-line or reformist affiliations. One side wants to yield to the international pressure and open up nuclear sites to surprise inspections, while the other wants to refuse, despite any consequences.

Opponents of the protocol, who are mostly military or defense officials, see the measure as part of an effort to force Iran to abandon not only its nuclear program but also its ambitious arms program.

Some influential politicians have even suggested that Iran opt out of the nonproliferation treaty. "Even though they are in the minority, their voice is becoming louder as the international pressure is increasing," one official said.

Under the terms of the treaty, a country that has signed, as Iran has, can declare its "supreme interests" to be in jeopardy and can drop out on three months' notice.

Alireza Akbari, a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards whose rank is equal to that of general and who was deputy defense minister until two months ago, contends that if Iran appears to waver, its other security projects will become the next international target.

"If we retreat every time they put pressure on us, they will continue the pressure and push us farther back until we are completely disarmed and defenseless," he said. "The protocol is only the first step, not the last."

Mr. Akbari considers Iran's nuclear energy program essential for the country's development, to serve its growing population.

"The protocol is purely a political issue, not legal, and in line with other conventions that are aimed at keeping weaker countries weaker," he said.

Those who favor signing the protocol, including the Foreign Ministry, warn that Iran, by its delay in signing, is provoking international threats. Yet the Foreign Ministry has urged the atomic energy agency not to allow the matter to become overshadowed by political issues and to let Iran to sign the protocol in its own time.

The chairman of Parliament's energy committee, Hussein Afarideh, a reformist, said last month that "Iran has no intention not to sign the protocol and just wants to examine it well before signing it."

Iran, which has always maintained that its nuclear power program is for peaceful purposes, has said it would sign the protocol only if it had a promise of technical cooperation in nuclear science from other signatory states. It took a step toward signing it last month, after a report revealed traces of highly enriched uranium at one of the country's nuclear sites, and said it would begin negotiations over the protocol.

Iran has repeatedly reminded the West that its nuclear program goes back to a period when it was supported by several Western powers, before the 1979 revolution, which put an Islamic government in power. Reactors were purchased from the United States, France and West Germany. Iranian scientists were trained in those countries, as well as in Britain.
6 posted on 09/07/2003 1:23:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Maybe we'll hear something about this during the President's speech.
7 posted on 09/07/2003 3:49:06 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn; All

Free Republic's 9-11 100 Hours of Remembrance
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8 posted on 09/07/2003 4:12:31 AM PDT by jriemer (We are a Republic not a Democracy)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; Tamsey; ...
UN Nuclear Agency Seen Demanding Iran Come Clean

Sun September 7, 2003 06:59 AM ET
By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United Nations nuclear watchdog looked set to urge Iran to come clean about what some suspect is its secret atomic weapons program, diplomats said.

But there was little support on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) governing board which meets in Vienna this week for a tough U.S. resolution that could have led to Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

But the now-softened resolution still calls for Iran's "urgent and essential cooperation," demands Tehran answer all outstanding questions about its uranium-enrichment program and sign a protocol permitting intrusive, snap IAEA inspections.

Diplomats said there was a good chance of the softened resolution being approved by a majority of the board.

They said IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei would back a strongly worded resolution demanding full cooperation from Iran but stopping short of declaring Iran in non-compliance.

"Any call by the board for Iran to do what it needs to do to answer the agency's questions would be welcome," said IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky. "That's what ElBaradei has been asking for all along."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, said most board members want to strengthen the IAEA's hand so it can "get to the bottom of the Iranian nuclear file."

"From my consultations with other fellow members of the board, they, like the United States, see a pattern of behavior (that is) very troubling and certainly consistent with efforts to evade international obligations and to get the capacity to build nuclear weapons," Brill told reporters.

The United States, which has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear arms.

Iran denies the charge and says it is ready to start talks on allowing snap inspections, but says it wants clarifications on issues of sovereignty before signing up.

"A country like America is adopting an extremist stance on the issue with political motivations," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters on Sunday.


Some diplomats and non-proliferation experts say Iran's repeated failures to inform the U.N. about its nuclear program, detailed in two IAEA reports, clearly violate Iran's obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

More now agree with U.S. charges that Iran wants The Bomb.

"Iran has been secretly developing the capability to make nuclear weapons -- in particular, developing the wherewithal to produce separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU)," David Albright and Corey Hinderstein wrote in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

The IAEA's August report confirmed that inspectors found traces of weapons-grade HEU at the Natanz enrichment plant.

This finding has fueled suspicions that Iran has been secretly enriching uranium at Natanz to use in a nuclear weapon.

Tehran blames the HEU on contamination from imported centrifuge parts it bought on the black market in the 1980s. But it has refused to tell the IAEA where the parts come from, which prevents the agency from verifying the truth of the explanation.

Another cause for concern is Iran's experiments with the creation of uranium metal, which has few civilian uses, but is crucial for creating the uranium metal core of an atomic bomb.

"Countries with nuclear weapons programs tend to recognize this body of activities the Iranians have been conducting as being similar to the kinds of things that they've done in developing their own weapons systems," a senior diplomat said.

"Everything about Iran's nuclear program points to proliferation," said another Western diplomat.
9 posted on 09/07/2003 5:22:00 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: yonif; RaceBannon; DoctorZIn; nuconvert; seamole; onyx; downer911; McGavin999; AdmSmith; Valin; ...
Iran blasts Israel over Hamas attack, accuses EU of "discrimination"

Iran on Sunday accused Israel of "government-sponsored terrorism" by attempting to kill Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and blasted the European Union for blacklisting his radical Palestinian group.

"This is another example of government-sponsored terrorism. We strongly condemn this," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said of Saturday's attack, in which Yassin was lightly wounded.

Asefi also blamed the Jewish state for the resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmud Abbas, who quit Saturday after a bitter power struggle with leader Yasser Arafat.

"The resignation of Mahmud Abbas happened because of Israel's obstacles and impediments," Asefi argued.

"The Zionist regime is moving against the will of the world community. It is oppressing the Palestinians, and given this kind of behaviour we cannot be hopeful for the future," he added.

The spokesman also hit out at a decision by EU foreign ministers to blacklist the political wing of Hamas and freeze its assets, saying that "labelling the populist struggle of the Palestinians as terrorist is a sign of discrimination."

Iran does not recognise Israel's right to exist, and is a vocal supporter of Palestinian resistance groups such as Hamas.
10 posted on 09/07/2003 5:26:32 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Envoy Returns to London After Row

September 07, 2003

TEHRAN -- Iran's ambassador to Britain has returned to his post after consultations in Tehran amid a row over Britain's arrest of a former Iranian diplomat, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official said.

Ambassador Morteza Sarmadi was recalled to Iran last week amid tensions over Britain's arrest, at Argentina's request, of former Iranian envoy Hadi Soleimanpour in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85.

"Sarmadi came to Iran for consultations and he returned to Britain today (Sunday)," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

Iran has said the case is politically motivated and Soleimanpour, who was envoy in Buenos Aires at the time of the bombing, has protested his innocence.

Britain has dismissed any political motivation, saying its courts are independent.

The tense atmosphere became further charged when shots were fired at the British embassy building in Tehran on Wednesday. No one was hurt. Iran called the shooting an "irresponsible act" and said it was investigating.

Iran has called for the swift release of Soleimanpour and warned of "strong action". It has already cut economic and cultural ties with Argentina.

Analysts say Iran may be wary of downgrading ties with Britain in case it prompts a response from other European Union states at a time when Iran is already under mounting pressure to allow tougher inspections of its nuclear programme.
11 posted on 09/07/2003 8:29:12 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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It's Prime Time For Persians

September 07, 2003
US News
Ramin Setoodeh

`I haven't felt so oppressed since the ayatollah blew up my beach house," jokes Nasim, the handyman on the NBC series Whoopi. Played by stand-up comic Omid Djalili, Nasim is the quintessential sitcom sidekick: round, lovable, full of contagious energy. Only Nasim's not so quintessential. He's Iranian, and he's not afraid to admit it.

"How did you come to the States?" a character asks in the pilot, airing this week. "I ran," Nasim snorts.

Twenty years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine a benevolent Iranian character on network TV. In 1979, when a group of revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 66 American hostages, Iran became a national bad guy. Americans bought "Iranians: Go Home" bumper stickers; President Carter ordered the deportation of illegal Iranian students.

"Americans did not distinguish between Iranians here and the government in Iran," says Hamid Naficy, a professor at Rice University who studies the portrayal of Iranians in the media. "Because of shame and guilt, Iranians didn't really announce themselves. People dyed their hair blond and pretended to be Greek or Mexican or Italian. It was easier that way."

Fast forward a couple of decades--and into the present anti-Iraq era. First-generation Iranian-Americans, having grown up without accents or other cultural barriers, are assimilating into American society, and they are not trying to hide their identity by calling themselves Persian, as their parents might have. "Within 10 years," predicts Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, "Iranians are going to be so well integrated . . . people will forget that it wasn't always this way." Her take on life in America as a child immigrant joins two influential memoirs by Iranian women published this year. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi recounts her attempts to teach books banned by the government in Iran. And Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood uses the graphic novel form to show how the revolution changed one girl's life.

Gotta laugh. Each portrays Iranians as nonviolent, vulnerable, even victimized by the hostage crisis. "Those of us living in the Islamic Republic of Iran grasped both the tragedy and absurdity of the cruelty to which we were subjected," writes Nafisi. "We had to poke fun at our own misery in order to survive." Indeed, humor is central to these books, ranging from sarcastic to subversive, like when Satrapi's young protagonist acts out torture methods. Often, the comedy is surprisingly Western. In Reading Lolita, Nafisi nods to Jane Austen: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Muslim man, regardless of his fortune, must be in want of a 9-year-old virgin wife."

Collectively, the memoirs demonstrate how "the world has suddenly legitimized Iranians as contributors to the American melting pot," says Rice professor Naficy. And not just with kebabs and Persian rugs. Iranian film, too, has "caught the world by surprise," says Hamid Dabashi, author of Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future. While only in limited release, films such as the Oscar-nominated Children of Heaven, Marzieh Meshkini's The Day I Became a Woman, and Babak Payami's Secret Ballot have garnered critical acclaim: "The humanism portrayed is in such sharp contrast with the public image Americans have of Iran," says Dabashi.

As is Nasim's edgy humor: "This TV, I'm telling you," says the handyman, "it's more dead than Saddam's first defense minister."
12 posted on 09/07/2003 8:37:40 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Scientists Already Working on Nuclear Bomb

September 06, 2003

BERLIN -- Up to 90 scientists are working secretly on the construction of a nuclear bomb in Iran under the supervision of the ministry of defense, the weekly Tagesspiegel am Sonntag said in its Sunday edition.

Quoting intelligence sources, it said Iran had bought high-tension switches and high-speed cameras to conduct nuclear tests.

Although Iran has insisted all its it nuclear facilities are for civil purposes and has offered to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has consistently refused to accept surprise inspections of its plants.

The IAEA was scheduled to meet on the issue on Monday, when sources in Vienna said Iran would come under renewed pressure to lift the secrecy around its nuclear program.
13 posted on 09/07/2003 8:39:44 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Influence Grows in Iraqi Holy City

September 07, 2003
Suleiman al-Khalidi

NAJAF -- Seventy-year-old Badria sits at the steps of the gold-domed Imam Ali mosque, crying in disbelief that she has managed to see one of the most revered sites of Shi'ite Islam.

''I thought I would die without seeing it,'' said Badria, one of thousands of Iranians who can now visit Iraq's holy Shi'ite cities freely thanks to the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, waged war against Iran from 1980 to 1988. He imposed strict limits on the number of pilgrims from Shi'ite-dominated Iran allowed to visit sites they revere such as Najaf and Kerbala.

Now age-old ties between the neighbouring countries, both with majority Shi'ite populations, are being revived. That is a source of joy for many such as Badria, and of new business opportunities for others already reaping the rewards of a lucrative cross border trade.

However, some are worried about Iran's growing influence. Iraqi Shi'ites stress they want to take control of their own destiny. That means not being too dependent on Iran, which would have an interest in preventing Iraq's Shi'ite south from becoming too powerful.

Iran's leaders would not want to see the centre of the Shi'ite clerical establishment move from the Iranian city of Qom back to its traditional home of Najaf.

''If the seat of the clerical leadership were to return back to Najaf, it would be a big loss for Iran's leadership,'' said Haidar Tweij, a Najaf resident.


But for many people the warmer relationship is simply good business.

A burgeoning trade has sprung up with Iranians coming across the border in pickup trucks to smuggle back pillaged copper, weapons and other stolen goods freely available in the many open markets of southern Iraq thanks to postwar lawlessness.

''The Iranian traders are coming here because a lot of the goods that were stolen are cheap,'' said Khazem al-Shareefi, a coppersmith in Najaf's Saha Maidan open market.

As Iraqis seek to satisfy pent-up consumer demand after years of sanctions, many competitively priced, smuggled Iranian goods from pistachios to Parsi Cola flood the markets.

But close religious ties cannot surmount long-held prejudices and a history of wars and conflict.

Najaf residents talk of Iranians who take up long stays in the city's hotels. They suspect they are secret service agents sent to keep a close eye on developments on the ground.

While local people say they are glad of the security offered by Islamic militias such as the Badr Brigade, they worry about its links to Tehran, which supported the group during years of exile in Iran.

Security fears after a car bomb attack last month which killed top cleric Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim and more than 80 of his followers brought the Badr militias out of the shadows.

They mounted night patrols and searches and rounded up scores of Saddam supporters.

''The top (clerical) leadership was being killed and no one was providing protection so they took it upon themselves to organise protection for themselves... But I wouldn't allow them to search my car,'' said Ali Sharaa, one Najaf resident.

Still, many Iraqi Shi'ites say Iran's religious establishment has done a lot for them, providing funds to help the poor and shelter for those fleeing persecution by Saddam.

That makes Iran the natural shoulder to lean on for Shi'ites who feel Washington has not fulfilled its promises to bring peace and prosperity to Iraq after Saddam's downfall.

Portraits of Iran's late Ayatollah Khomeini and leaders of its 1979 Islamic revolution are displayed in stores and popular coffee shops alongside those of Iraqi religious leaders.

''To be realistic, when Saddam was around, where did we find refuge? It was in Iran. When they come to us now, we can't say no to them,'' said Saad Sheblawi, a teacher.
14 posted on 09/07/2003 8:41:44 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Scientists Already Working on Nuclear Bomb

September 06, 2003

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
15 posted on 09/07/2003 8:44:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
al-Qaeda Tape Pledges Fresh Attacks Against Americans

September 07, 2003
Samia Nakhoul

DUBAI -- A purported audio tape by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group on Sunday vowed attacks on Americans "everywhere," so devastating that Washington would forget the horror of the September 11 suicide hijackings.

The tape, dated Sept 3, came a few days before the second anniversary of the September, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities -- blamed on al Qaeda. Washington said last week it was on alert for possible attacks by the militant group.

"We announce there will be new attacks inside and outside which would make America forget the attacks of September 11 (2001)," a Qaeda spokesman said in the tape broadcast by the Arabic television channel Al Arabiya.

He identified himself as Abu Abdel-Rahman al-Najdi, The television showed a still photo of a bearded militant wearing a head-dress as it played the tape. There was no immediate independent verification of the identity of the speaker.

"We assure the Muslims that al Qaeda ranks have doubled... Our casualties are nothing compared to our (good) conditions now. Our coming martyrdom operations will prove to you what we are saying," he added.

Al Qaeda has issued five other audio-tapes this year threatening action against the United States. Bin Laden and his deputies also made several video appearances in 2001.

The speaker denied any links to the killing of leading Shi'ite Muslim cleric Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf last month.

Some U.S. and Iraqi reports suggested that al Qaeda was behind the car bomb attack that killed Hakim and 83 others.

"We strongly deny that al Qaeda had any hand in this bombing which killed Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, violated the sanctity of one of God's houses and killed innocent people."


"Our highest aim is to fight the Americans and kill them everywhere on earth and drive them out of Palestine, the Arabian peninsula and Iraq."

The speaker accused Washington and Israel of orchestrating the killing because, he said, they feared the cleric's links to Iran would boost the Islamic Republic's influence in the area.

"We have no motives. Those who killed Baqer al-Hakim are the Americans and Jews. They wanted to get rid of him because they know that his loyalty is to Iran," he added.

Another motive behind the assassination, he added, was to incite Shi'ite-Sunni strife and turn the Shi'ites, who form 60 percent of Iraq's population, against the austere Sunni-dominated al Qaeda.

He also said U.S. losses in Afghanistan were much higher than that announced by Washington.

Washington says just over 180 soldiers have been killed in fighting since the U.S.-led assault on Iraq began in March, including almost 70 killed since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1.

The al Qaeda spokesman said that ousted Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar and Osama bin Laden were alive and leading the battle against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

He urged Muslims to fight the Jihad (holy struggle) against U.S. forces. "God has opened the doors of Jihad in Iraq and Palestine so do not close them..."

FBI and Homeland Security officials said last week the United States faces threat of attack from al Qaeda, saying it still targets Americans and has a presence in U.S. cities two years after the Sept. 11 attacks that killed about 3,000 people.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory saying it remained concerned about al Qaeda's "continued efforts to plan multiple attacks against the U.S. and U.S. interests overseas."

But the advisory, based on a review of intelligence ahead of the two-year anniversary of the attacks, said the department had no specific data on individual targets or dates for any attacks.
16 posted on 09/07/2003 8:45:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Iran, al Qaeda and Iraq

September 06, 2003
The Washington Post
Peter Finn and Susan Schmidt

BERLIN --— Two years after the attacks on the United States, Osama bin Laden’s leadership cadre has been isolated and weakened and is increasingly reliant on the violent actions of local radicals around the world to maintain its profile. But the al Qaeda network is determined to open a new front in Iraq to sustain itself as the vanguard of radical Islamic groups fighting holy war, according to European, American and Arab intelligence sources.

THE TURN toward Iraq was made in February, as U.S. forces were preparing to attack, the sources said. Two seasoned operatives met at a safe house in eastern Iran. One of them was Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, the military chief of al Qaeda, who is better known as Saif Adel. He welcomed a guest, Abu Musab Zarqawi, who had recently fled Iraq’s Kurdish northern region in anticipation of U.S. targeting of a radical group with which he was affiliated, Arab intelligence sources said.

The encounter resulted in the dispatch of Zarqawi to become al Qaeda’s man in Iraq, opening a new chapter in the history of the group and a serious threat to American forces there.

“The monster is already near you,” said one Arab official who is familiar with the intelligence and who spoke on condition that he not be identified by name or nationality. “I don’t know if you can kill it.”

The official added: “Iraq is the new battleground. It is the perfect place. It will be the perfect place.”

After the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the locus of al Qaeda’s degraded leadership moved to Iran. The Iranian security services, which answer to the country’s powerful Islamic clerics, protected the leadership, including Adel and a bin Laden son, Saad, as well as other senior figures, according to the intelligence officials.

From guesthouses in Iran’s east and south, this al Qaeda group planned the May 12 bombing of residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the intelligence sources said. The group might have hoped that a campaign of violence, including the planned assassination of leading members of the Saudi royal family, would lead to the fall of the kingdom’s government, Arab officials said.

After the Riyadh bombing, the Iranians, under pressure from the Saudis, detained the al Qaeda group. One European source said the Iranians had “freeze-dried” the group. Also, Saudi Arabia launched a major crackdown domestically.

But it was too late to snare Zarqawi. He had returned to Iraq. Arab intelligence reports have placed him in Baghdad, although he still retreats to the Iranian side of the border with Iraq when he senses his security is threatened, officials said.


Crossing Iraq’s borders with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent with Jordan and Turkey, hundreds of foreign fighters have begun to flow into the country, according to both U.S. and Arab officials.

A U.S. military official said in a recent interview that there were already 220 foreign fighters in U.S. custody in Iraq. But American and Arab officials also said that al Qaeda has not yet coalesced in Iraq, and Zarqawi’s mission to form a new network and manage these fighters in the country is still embryonic.

The occupation of Iraq — once the home of the caliph, or universal leader, of Muslims — is a galvanizing symbol for radical Islamic groups. On Internet sites and in mosques across the Islamic world, thousands of potential fighters are hearing — and heeding — calls to go to Iraq to fight the infidel, according to European and Arab intelligence sources who have tracked some of the movements of the recruits.

Egypt, for example, announced last week that it had arrested 23 men and was seeking two more on charges of belonging to a terrorist group. The suspects — 19 Egyptians, three Bangladeshis, a Turk, an Indonesian and a Malaysian — were planning to fight U.S. forces in Iraq, Egypt’s interior minister, Habib Adli, said in an interview with the magazine Al Mussawar.

Kurdish forces in northern Iraq recently arrested a Tunisian carrying an Italian passport and attempting to cross from Iran.

Syria arrested and deported an Algerian national and a German resident who organized a group of radicals to travel to Iraq from the same Hamburg mosque where Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, once worshiped. German officials said the man, who is currently free but under observation, had ties to Zarqawi and had also recruited in Italy for volunteers to fight in Iraq.

“They are coming,” said an Arab official from a country that borders Iraq. “They are coming from everywhere.”

After the meeting at the safe house in February, Iranian authorities placed Zarqawi, a 42-year-old Jordanian, under house arrest, according to Arab intelligence sources. It is not clear why they did so. Zarqawi was the head of a cluster of Arabs who had attached themselves to Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish fundamentalist group vowing to establish an Islamic state in northern Iraq. Ansar is believed to be closely allied with al Qaeda, according to the U.S. government. Zarqawi also is believed to have a network of contacts in the Middle East and Europe.

Word that Zarqawi was under house arrest in Iran reached Amman, the Jordanian capital, and officials there sent a detailed extradition request, including nearly a dozen photographs of him, to Tehran, according to American and Arab officials. Zarqawi was wanted in connection with a planned hotel bombing in Amman on the eve of millennium celebrations and with the assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence M. Foley in the city last October.

The Iranians rebuffed demands to turn over Zarqawi, who became more widely known when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said at the United Nations in February that he was a key link between the government of Saddam Hussein, then Iraq’s president, and al Qaeda.

Zarqawi had had a leg amputated at an exclusive Baghdad clinic in 2002, suggesting he had connections to government figures in Iraq, but European officials scoffed at the larger allegation. Zarqawi was an independent operator, they said, citing the interrogation of some of his allies in Germany.

Later in the spring, Zarqawi was released from house arrest and allowed safe passage along smuggling routes to Iraq, the sources said. By then, U.S. and British forces were occupying the country. The sources added that Zarqawi then became what the Americans had charged but never proved to the satisfaction of others on the U.N. Security Council: al Qaeda’s man in Iraq.

A recent internal German law-enforcement report on al Qaeda described Zarqawi as someone who has “assumed leadership responsibilities” that have been delegated “from the original center to the regional level.”

Zarqawi “would be a logical person to control things there,” said Matthew Levitt, a Middle East analyst formerly with the FBI counterterrorism section and now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “He has a fantastic relationship with other groups — the Baathists, radicals in Kurdistan, in Germany. ... They will work with whoever they need to work with. He is a real personification of a global network.”

Firm numbers on foreign fighters in Iraq are impossible to come by, but estimates in the intelligence community in Washington on how many have already entered the country range from 1,000 to several thousand. U.S. military officers in Iraq, and officials with the occupying authority led by L. Paul Bremer, say the figure is much lower but don’t deny the potential threat the fighters represent or the difficulty of policing Iraq’s borders.

The Iraq-Syria border, for instance, is an arid, mostly unmarked frontier, crisscrossed by hard-packed roads. The landscape is intersected by wadis, rocky outcroppings and a scattering of farms irrigated by wells. Much of the traffic in the area is smugglers transporting sheep and other livestock across routes they have used for decades. The territory is ideal for subterfuge. So is the mountainous Iran-Iraq border.

U.S. officials said there was no evidence that al Qaeda or other fighters were behind the recent bombings in Iraq, including the attack on the U.N. headquarters. “Most intelligence agencies think the Baathists are behind the current violence,” said a spokesman for the State Department, referring to Hussein’s party.


But even in the muted language of those attempting to put the best face on the situation in Iraq, the fear of al Qaeda is apparent. “There is a significant concern about the people moving in here,” said a senior U.S. official in Baghdad. “I don’t feel they have the capacity right now where they’re sitting and organizing and being very strategic.” But, he added, it “could be a threat down the line.”

When bin Laden was trapped at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in 2001, he and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, dispatched military chief Adel to Iran to negotiate a safe harbor for some of al Qaeda’s scattering ranks.

Zawahiri had long-standing ties with Ahmad Vahidi, then the commander of the Iranian Qods force, a special operations unit, according to a European intelligence official.

A deal was struck. Iran’s elected leadership, led by President Mohammad Khatami, repeatedly denied that senior al Qaeda figures were in the country, and pointed to the extradition of some fighters to Saudi Arabia as evidence of Iran’s good faith. But Khatami has no control over security organs such as the Revolutionary Guard, which answers to the office of the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Among those who made it to Iran with Adel and bin Laden’s son were Mahfouz Ould Walid, also known as Abu Hafs the Mauritanian and head of the religious committee that issued fatwas justifying attacks, and Abu Mohammed Masri, an Egyptian who is wanted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and who has been al Qaeda’s chief financial officer, setting up its illicit diamond trade as a way to hide funds.

Others who went to Iran were Zawahiri’s deputy, Abu Khayr, and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, al Qaeda’s spokesman, who was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship after an appearance on al-Jazeera television in which he vowed retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against Afghanistan.

With the capture of other top-tier al Qaeda leaders around the world, the group in Iran — accompanied by numerous low- and mid-ranking Saudis, including some who would later participate in the May 2003 Riyadh bombings — became the core of al Qaeda’s functioning leadership.

Bin Laden and Zawahiri went into hiding in the mountains along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and their ability to communicate with their followers has been severely constrained, often limited to oral messages or handwritten notes.

Elsewhere, al Qaeda’s leadership structure began unraveling in earnest a year ago, with the capture in Pakistan of self-proclaimed Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh. Since then, many of the senior leaders have been caught, with information gleaned from one arrest leading to others. Among those now in custody are the U.S. operations chief, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, another key planner of the Sept. 11 attacks; and two planners of the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000, Tawfiq bin Attash and Rahim al-Nashiri.

Last month, Thai police captured Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, leader of the Southeast Asian terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah, who is accused of orchestrating deadly bombings against Westerners at tourist sites in Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia. The United States and allied governments have rolled up thousands of others — some sworn al Qaeda members, but mostly sympathetic radicals.

According to Arab and U.S. officials who have been briefed on American interrogations, almost all of the senior figures in captivity have been cooperating with the United States, which has employed a variety of stress techniques that stop short of direct physical abuse or torture to disorient the prisoners and break their morale.

In some cases, U.S. officials, who are holding these senior al Qaeda figures at a secret location, have created a parallel universe to hasten their cooperation. Some of the captives, for instance, have been given what appear to be copies of Arab and Western newspapers and magazines that are, in fact, written and printed by the CIA. Stories in these phony publications include reports that bin Laden had been killed or that the Saudi government had fallen in a coup d’etat, the Arab officials said.

“The logic is: ‘Look, it’s over’ or ‘You got what you wanted, so cooperate,’ ” said one Saudi source.

And for some of those arrested, it did appear that they were losing. When Zarqawi met Adel in Iran, al Qaeda was in some disarray.

The operational leadership in Iran, despite some of the swaggering statements issued by bin Laden or Zawahiri, felt that another spectacular attack in the continental United States was operationally impossible, according to the analyses by Arab intelligence agencies. The leadership could only hope that the Taliban could regroup in Afghanistan, as it appears to be doing, and that other radicals would rally to the al Qaeda cause of their own volition and commit atrocities in its name.


Adel — prompted by the large number of Saudis around him, including bin Laden’s son, and with a little cash and some bomb-making expertise at his disposal — decided to focus on toppling the Saudi government and encouraging attacks elsewhere in the Arab world. Moroccan officials, for instance, have linked the bombings in Casablanca on May 16 to the al Qaeda group in Iran.

Law enforcement officials at the same time concluded that Saudi Arabia had become the favored staging area and target for al Qaeda. “Saudi Arabia is a planning center — that’s correct. It’s a hub for the Gulf,” said a U.S. official.

But Adel’s strategy strained the hospitality of the security services in Iran.

The May bombings in Riyadh killed 35 people. The Saudi government unleashed a major crackdown, killing some suspects during gun battles and arresting others. The Saudis obtained a trove of evidence — phones, computer hard drives, documents and cash — that pointed back to Iran and Adel. In addition, one of al Qaeda’s local leaders in Saudi Arabia, Ali Faqasi Ghamdi, turned himself in and confessed that Adel and his associates were behind the bombings.

Furious, the Saudis sent two delegations to Iran. One was led by the interior minister’s son, Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, the assistant interior minister for security affairs, and the other by a general in the intelligence service. They demanded that the Iranians turn over bin Laden’s son and other Saudis, including the cousin of one of the Riyadh bombers, Turki Dandani.

The Saudi delegations also requested that Adel be returned to Egypt.

“They got the runaround,” said a Saudi source.

The Iranians have assured the United States and numerous other countries that Adel and other al Qaeda operatives are now under house arrest and unable to communicate with others in the network, according to an official at the State Department. But the Iranians have refused to relinquish custody of the operatives.

“We are trying to get the Iranians to turn bin Laden’s son over to the Saudis,” said a senior counterterrorism official, adding that several countries have tried to act as intermediaries.

Some U.S. officials say they believe that Iran will never relinquish custody of Adel and the others because they could reveal connections between Iran and al Qaeda going back to the mid-1990s. Moreover, Western and Arab officials say they believe Iran is calculating that they are a useful chip in any future standoff with the United States over Iranian policy toward Iraq or Iran’s alleged efforts to develop a nuclear bomb.

Iranian officials refuse to confirm publicly that Adel is in custody, saying only that they are holding some “big fish” who they allege threatened Iran with terrorist attacks.

Schmidt reported from Washington. Correspondents Anthony Shadid and Theola Labbé in Baghdad, staff writer Doug Farah in Washington and special correspondent Souad Mehkennet in Frankfurt contributed to this report.
17 posted on 09/07/2003 8:47:59 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran, al Qaeda and Iraq

September 06, 2003
The Washington Post
Peter Finn and Susan Schmidt

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
18 posted on 09/07/2003 8:49:59 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
" Up to 90 scientists are working secretly on the construction of a nuclear bomb in Iran under the supervision of the ministry of defense"

I don't think it's a secret any more.
19 posted on 09/07/2003 9:46:50 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
20 posted on 09/07/2003 10:11:44 AM PDT by windchime
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