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Iranian Alert -- September 16, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 9.16.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 09/16/2003 12:00:56 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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To: AdmSmith
These students were arrested in 2002.. These are the references I found for some from Asia Times:

Tuesday, Nov 26 - Four student protesters - Saeed Razavi-Faqih, Abdollah Momeini, Mehdi Aminizadeh and Akbar Atri - are arrested by plainclothes security agents. The four are blindfolded and taken to an unknown location.

Wednesday, Nov 27 - The four students are released.

Tuesday, Dec 10 - Saeed Razavi-Faqih, Abdollah Momeini, Mehdi Aminizadeh and Akbar Atri have been ordered to appear (on Saturday) before the hard-line Tehran Revolutionary Court for further questioning. The four are charged with "insulting Islamic sanctities" and "endangering state security" for leading demonstrations.
21 posted on 09/16/2003 2:53:43 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Came across this Amir Taheri piece on Islam, written in 2001. Thought it might give some insight into the differences within Islam.

UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM IN THE WEST By Amir Taheri, Arab News Staff GulfWire 8/12/2001

"It is time that Muslims started a debate among themselves." "Muslims need to raise and answer a number of burning questions."

These are some of the catchphrases that pepper many editorials and columns in leading Western newspapers. Inspired by the tragedies of Sept. 11 in the United States, the advice is often offered with a mixture of condescendence and ill-concealed anger.

The problem with that advice is that it ignores the fact that the Muslims have been debating among themselves right from the very beginning. The history of Islam is full of theological and political upheaval, doctrinal schisms, violent acts, and even civil wars. Political opponents assassinated three of the four Well-Guided Caliphs, starting a tradition of political murders that has continued to this day. According to the best scholarly estimates available, Islam has witnessed the emergence, and often the demise, of hundreds of different schools, paths, persuasions and denominations.

The problem is that most Western commentators see Islam as the counterpart of Christianity. However, Islam must be seen as the counterpart of Christendom, not of Christianity. When we speak of Christianity we speak only of that faith. But when we speak of Islam we speak of everything: religion, politics, government, culture, art, science etc.

Now the difficulty is that, unlike Christianity, there are no established and universally accepted mechanisms for excommunication in Islam. Anyone who says he or she is a Muslim and pronounces the "two testimonies" (Shahdatain) must be regarded as one. During a television debate a few weeks ago, I was taken to task by a new Muslim convert from the United States for insisting that both Osama Bin Laden and Mulla Muhammad Omar should be regarded as Muslims. We may not like the two men, and I certainly don't, but we do not have a Muslim pope or archbishop to excommunicate them.

This openness of Islam is, of course, a source both of strength and of weakness. It also baffles non-Muslims who find it hard that Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda gang belong as much to Islam as the "flower-and-love" Sufis of the semi-clandestine zawyiiahs and khaneqahs. The American pop star Madonna, who has become a fan of Rumi, putting some of his immortal poems to song, cannot get over the fact that her beloved Persian poet of the medieval times and the present-day cavemen of Afghanistan belong to the same broad Islamic universe. Without going deep into Islamic history, anyone with any knowledge of recent Islamic history would know that Muslims have been engaged in a robust debate over modernity since at least the middle of the 19th century. All the modern ideologies and political schools of the West, from liberalism and democracy to socialism, communism and even Freemasonry have had their own adepts and advocates in the Muslim world. There were times when large Western-styles political parties dominated the political and cultural scene in such key Muslim nations as Egypt, Turkey and Iran.

What is at issue is the question of who the Western media choose to focus on. Since the mullas seized power in Tehran in 1979 and held American diplomats hostage, the West has focused more on the advocates and practitioners of violence than their opponents in the Muslim world. Western scholars have churned out scores of books about superficial activists like Abul Ala Maudoodi, Hassan Al-Banna, Ayatollah Khomeini, Sayyed Qutb and a few others of similar ilk than about the more serious Muslim thinkers of the past century or so such as Ismail Agha Gasprinski, Mirza Ibrahimov, Akhund-Zadeh, Muhammad Abdoh, Jamaluddin Assad-Abadi (Al-Afghani), Mirza Malkam Khan, Abdul Rauf Fitrat, Ahmad Danesh, Sadreddin Ayni, Taha Hussein, Ahmad Kasrawi, Muhammad Iqbal, Ahmad Fardid, Malek Ben-Nabi and countless others. As for today, hardly any attention is paid to people like Nur Khalis Majid, Dariush Shayegan, Abdul Karim Sorush, Muhammad Saleh Al-Ashmawi, Fereydoun Hoveyda, Muhammad Abed Al-Jaberi, and countless others from Indonesia to Morocco. There are also many Muslim political figures who would be in a better position to reflect the mood in present-day Islam.

The impression created is that the Muslim world is a political desert in which the only plants that grow come in the shape of radical mullas or Al-Qaeda warriors.

Part of the reason is the masochism of some Western intellectuals. They prefer those who advocate violence and terror against the West. Many Western intellectuals reflected that masochism even after the Sept. 11 tragedies. The Western media, for its part, is often more interested in "hot" and sensational utterances rather than cool and pondered analysis. One chief editor of a leading American television channel told me how disappointed he was that all the Muslim thinkers that I had recommended for interview were clean-shaven and wore neckties. "Give us some beards, too," he pleaded. "We must put on some of those who say they want to kill everybody in the West." It would be as if one made a TV program in which British skinheads, German neo-Nazis and a few American psychopaths were presented as spokespeople for Christendom against Islam.

Today, there are 53 Muslim states with a variety of social and political systems. Any sweeping generalization about them will necessarily create more problems than it solves. A robust debate is taking place at many levels in most of those states. In some, it amounts to what one may call "a civil war of ideas." In some, Algeria or Afghanistan for example, there are those who cut the throats of people rather than debate with them. But this is not always the case.

At the center of the debate is the same questions that was first raised in the 19th century. Why did Islam, once a builder of civilizations, become so weak as to be reduced to the level of a mere observer in the world, and, more importantly perhaps, what is to be done to make Islam a subject rather than an object of history again?

The answer provided by the mullas and Al-Qaeda, that Muslims should go and blow themselves and everyone else up, is just one of many answers. If the West is interested in other answers, it needs to ask its intellectual and media to work harder and search deeper.

"Where is the explosion?" a senior American TV editor asked me over the telephone last week. He was referring to the "explosion" that was supposed to come from the Muslim street against the US-led campaign in Afghanistan. The fact is that there were a total of only 17 anti-West demonstrations, nine of them in three Pakistani cities, few of which attracted more than a few hundred people. And, even then, there were more anti-American demonstrators in London than in Peshawar. In Tehran, many young Muslims demonstrated in sympathy with the United States.

The fact is that there are some elements in the Muslim world that feel an intense hatred of the West, especially of the United States. There are, of course, some elements in the West, too, who share that intense hatred. But a majority of Muslims have no such prejudices. They disagree with the US on some issues and agree with it on others. In other words, they treat the matter as political not religious. Then there are those in the West who pretend that unless we agree with them on everything all the time, we should be regarded as hostile. Such a position is the mirror image of our mullas and Al-Qaeda criminals, and is as reprehensible.

I had hoped that the Sept. 11 tragedies might encourage a better understanding of Islam in the West. Now I fear that the opposite may come to pass. The torrent of information about Islam has mainly focused on small areas of present-day Islamic existence. Knowing more about something does not necessarily mean knowing it better when the information consumed is either partial or wrong.
22 posted on 09/16/2003 3:21:56 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
Great find.
23 posted on 09/16/2003 3:49:55 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's reformists fret over flagging voter appeal

TEHRAN, Sept. 16 —

Iran's reformists fretted on Tuesday about how to revive their flagging voter appeal after the announcement that fresh parliamentary elections would be held in five months.

Voter turnout plunged as low as 12 percent in Tehran during local council elections in February. The mass abstention dealt reformists their first poll defeat since reformist President Mohammad Khatami scored a resounding 1997 presidential vote win.

And with the announcement this weekend that parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 20, reformists are worried that turnout will again be light.

''Has the same fervour people used to have (for elections) remained? Hasn't their fervour diminished? If it is so, we need to identify the problem and cure it,'' the official IRNA news agency quoted Khatami as saying in a speech in southern Iran on Tuesday.

Political analysts say a low turnout in February could see reformists lose the parliamentary majority they wrested from conservatives in 2000 when public enthusiasm for Khatami's message of gradual change remained high.

That, in turn, would further weaken Khatami whose inability to overcome resistance from powerful conservatives to his agenda of improved democracy, justice and civil rights has been a major factor in dwindling public support for reformists.

''It's not just that people have become apathetic. They have taken a decision not to participate in elections because they want to register their disillusionment with the status quo,'' said one local analyst, who asked not to be named.

Reformist politicians acknowledge there has been little change in public sentiment since the February council elections.

''The attitude towards non-participation (in elections) prevails,'' parliamentarian Ali Shakourirad told Reuters.

Leading conservatives, such as former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, have also expressed growing concern that Iranians have lost their enthusiasm for politics.

But conservative commentator Amir Mohebian, a member of the editorial board of the hardline Resalat newspaper, said Iranians would flock to the polls to send a message to Washington which accuses Iran of building nuclear arms and sponsoring terrorism.

''The heightened U.S. pressure on Iran, contrary to some predictions, I believe will increase people's participation, because people think a low turnout would encourage America to continue its pressure and even attack the country,'' he said.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
24 posted on 09/16/2003 3:51:45 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran ready to leave non-proliferation regime

Iran-Regional, Politics, 9/16/2003

Iran is keeping its options open in considering a move to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the organization set a deadline for Iran to enforce complete exposure of Iran's nuclear activities, and may leave the organization following suit of North Korea.

The official news agency IRNA reported that "President Mohammad Khatami, referring to the need for access to sciences and technologies including nuclear technology, as the nation's basic requirement, said here Monday that Iran's nuclear program is not aimed towards destructive purposes."

The report said that "In a meeting with high ranking commanders of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC), the president underlined "no one can ever dissuade us from materializing such a goal, adding the US " make hue and cry without any reasonable ground, suppress others in the name of campaign against violence, take terrorist measures and occupy lands as anti-terror campaign. The Americans are known for making hue and cry just as their policy is based on extremism and expansionism."

The President said that "Iran doesn't intend to produce WMD, but rather favors a region and a world free from such destructive weapons. "Given that we have fallen victim to WMD, we don`t require to have access to atomic bombs. We have no intention to produce them, since it is against our principles. However, we are determined to be powerful. Power has to do with science and technology, while nuclear technology is the most advanced. We are making attempts towards reaching such a goal by depending on the capabilities and talents of the Iranian youth," he added.

He added "Our policy is based on resisting intrusion and we will not allow any malicious attempts against the Islamic Revolution as well as the Iranian nation," he concluded.

It is not clear if the Arab states will put aside fears of Iranian power and cooperate with Iran and follow suit to exit the international atomic agency that is seen to be an enforcer against countries selectively, while other countries of concern, such as Israel, who already have nuclear weapons are left alone from being harassed.

Meantime, the Jamahiriya news agency, spoke about the report by the British newspaper the Sunday Times which said that the US and the UK prevented disclosure of "the report (that) is a result of efforts made by an Anglo American team which consists of 1400 scientists and military and intelligence experts who were working in Iraq during the past four months to discover any chemical or biological weapons. But the team didn't succeed to find weapons or evidence about them." Iranian officials said the US allegations against them are mere political pretexts for hostile purposes.
25 posted on 09/16/2003 3:53:19 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran, S.Arabia vow to boost ties

03:54:16 È.Ù
Jeddah, Sept 16 - The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia stressed here tuesday on the need to consolidate bilateral ties in political, economic and cultural fields.

In a meeting between visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and his Saudi counterpart prince Saud Al-Faisal, the two sides discussed regional and international issues.

The ministers exchanged views on holding the 10th summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Malaysia in mid-October.

Kharrazi, is scheduled to confer with Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abd Al-aziz As-Saud Tuesday evening on the most important regional and international developments, as well as the growing Tehran-Riyadh ties.

Kharrazi arrived in Jeddah on Monday evening on a two-day visit.
26 posted on 09/16/2003 3:56:28 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Downturn in British-Iran Relations is Par for the Course

September 16, 2003

LONDON -- The souring of Anglo-Iranian ties over Tehran's nuclear intentions and the arrest in London of a one-time Iranian diplomat suspected of terrorism comes as little surprise to foreign policy analysts.

"British-Iranian relations do tend to go up and down," said Rosemary Hollis, a Middle East expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, a major foreign policy think tank in London.

"There are sensitivities that are just part of the landscape," she told AFP.

"The prevalance of the conspiracy theory in Iran that the British are behind everything... You find an astonishing number of Iranians who think that the British even manipulate Washington."

Britain has been at the forefront of calls by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Iran to fully respond to concerns about its nuclear programme by October 31.

Relations have also soured over the arrest in August of a former Iranian ambassador to Buenos Aires, Hade Soleimanpur, who is wanted in Argentina for the July 1984 car bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 in the Argentine capital.

Soleimanpur, now studying tourism at an English university, was released on bail last week pending extradition proceedings.

Britain is also pressuring Iran to fulfill its "obligations" to protect its embassy in Tehran, following the third known shooting incident at the mission within a month.

Hollis traced the on-off relationship between London and Tehran to the early days of the 20th century, when the then-mighty British Empire played a major role in developing its oil industry.

Britain occupied part of Iran during World War II, and supplied valuable intelligence to the United States during the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mossadegh, the prime minister who had nationalized Iran's oil industry.

"British-Iranian relations improved in the second half of the 1990s" after they strived to overcome the legacy of Iran's menacing "fatwa" or death order against British author Salman Rushdie, Hollis said.

More recently, Britain was seen as striving to build diplomatic bridges with Iran -- branded by US President George W. Bush as part of an "axis of evil" -- in a clear bid to lend support to reformists in the Islamic republic.

Gary Saymore, director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said he believed Iranians were looking at Soleimanpur's arrest "as part of a bigger conspiracy" by the United States and Britain to put pressure to bear on Tehran.

"Tehran has a very ambivalent relation with the United Kingdom," he told AFP on Tuesday.

"On the one hand, they hope that their relationship with the UK will help reduce American hostility," he said. "On the other hand, the UK is a 'little Satan,' seen as a potentially hostile ally of the United States."

Saymore, an expert on non-proliferation, believed Iran is "still a few years away" from being able to develop nuclear weapons.

"From their standpoint, it makes more sense to cooperate now to buy time, so that they can complete their (nuclear) facility under IAEA safeguards and under the Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.

"Once they leave the treaty, that obviously exposes them to political pressure and even military attack coming from the United States and Israel," he added

In any event, Iran's attention now is primarily on domestic politics, Saymore said.

"There are going through a period of adjustment... They are obviously some very serious internal strains (and) they would like to have peace and quiet so they can focus on domestic issues."
27 posted on 09/16/2003 4:05:06 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

U.S. Says Russia Sold Arms to Iran

By Lyuba Pronina Staff Writer
The United States on Tuesday accused Russia of supplying arms to "state sponsors of terrorism," chiefly Iran, and slapped sanctions on a Russian defense company.

The charges -- which mirror U.S. accusations concerning Baghdad after the Iraq war started -- appear to be an attempt to pressure Moscow over its cooperation with Tehran, analysts said.

"The United States government has determined that the government of Russia transferred lethal military equipment to countries determined by the secretary of state to be state sponsors of terrorism," the U.S. State Department said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

A State Department official said the decision -- made Aug. 25 but announced only Tuesday -- was connected to the sale of laser-guided Krasnopol-M artillery shells to Iran.

He said sanctions have been imposed for one year on KBP Tula, the maker of the shells. KBP Tula is a state-owned company that produces anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile systems.

The sanctions bar KBP Tula from doing business with the U.S. government and from buying U.S. defense equipment.

KBP Tula said Tuesday that the sanctions were meaningless since it has no business in the United States and suggested that they were a warning to Moscow.

"This may be a way to put political pressure on the country," KBP Tula deputy chief engineer Andrei Morozov said by telephone from Tula.

He said KBP Tula does not have any contracts with Iran and has never sent it any arms.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, agreed that Tuesday's charges carried political overtones. "This is some kind of political game," he said.

The accusations came a day before U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham was to arrive in Moscow to attend an international nonproliferation conference and less than two weeks before U.S. President George W. Bush hosts President Vladimir Putin at a summit at Camp David.

The timing may have something to do with U.S.-Russian differences over Iran's nuclear capacity and could be a message to Moscow that "the U.S. is very concerned about Iran and is willing to pick at anything," said Ivan Safranchuk, director of the Moscow office of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information.

In addition, with the gap closing on Moscow's and Washington's positions over the Iranian nuclear issue, the White House may be testing whether the Kremlin is willing to yield on other positions, such as on the sale of conventional weapons, Safranchuk said.

In 2000, Russia pulled out of a 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin deal under which it agreed not to deliver weapons to Iran. Analysts predicted at the time that Iran might become Russia's third largest client after China and India, but aside from a batch of helicopters and armored personnel carriers, there have been no reports of arms deliveries.

Washington has been most concerned about Russia's role in helping Iran build its nuclear industry through the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. To address concerns that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, Russia has said it will freeze construction of the $1 billion plant and not supply any fuel unless Iran agrees to return all spent fuel.

The State Department official said Tuesday that the new charges were not connected to Iran's nuclear program or the Bush-Putin summit.

"I would not read into the timing," he said, speaking by telephone from Washington. "It is not linked to the upcoming summit and not designed to introduce any sour notes into the meeting."

He refused to say how the United States had learned about the Iran deal or when it was believed to have taken place. "We would not like to go into this. It is a sensitive issue," he said.

The finding means that Washington could have imposed sanctions on Russia, a move that would cut off all U.S. assistance to the country. The State Department, however, said it had decided this would not serve the national interests of the United States.

The United States directly accused the Russian government of supplying arms to "state sponsors of terrorism" last September and slapped sanctions on three Russian defense companies, including Tula KBP.

In 1999, the State Department placed sanctions on Tula KBP for the first time, after the company delivered Kornet anti-tank missiles to Syria.

In late March, Bush complained that Tula KBP and another Russian defense company had supplied Iraq with anti-tank guided missiles, GPS jammers and night-vision goggles in violation of UN sanctions. Moscow, along with Berlin and Paris, was fiercely opposed to a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and the U.S. complaint was widely seen as an attempt to pressure Russia into softening its stance.

KBP Tula has the right to export arms independently from state-owned arms mediator Rosoboronexport. It delivered $350 million worth of arms last year.

28 posted on 09/16/2003 6:10:50 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: nuconvert
AH, YES!!--the "Scholarly 'Moral-Equivalence Argument!'"

It Simply MUST BE that the Christian & Jewish Suicide Bombers are merely behind their more advanced (Due to Their Great 9th Century scientific advances) Muslim Counterparts.

SURELY, there will SOON BE "Suicide Bombings" of Mosques & Moslem Women & Children by Christians & Jews (once these Groups "Get the Hang of It!!")

After ALL, according to this Author, "We're all the Same!!"



29 posted on 09/16/2003 6:59:51 PM PDT by Doc On The Bay
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To: Doc On The Bay

Interesting logic

30 posted on 09/16/2003 7:24:39 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: Doc On The Bay; nuconvert
After ALL, according to this Author, "We're all the Same!!"

Ahem, aren't Muslims humans with the same blood coursing through their veins as the Christians and the Jews have?

31 posted on 09/16/2003 7:43:51 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: DoctorZIn
September 6:

Russian and Iranian officials failed during a September 5th meeting in Moscow to agree on a date for signing an agreement on returning spent fuel from the Bushehr nuclear reactor to Russia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. Under pressure from the U.S. and other countries worried about North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Russia -- which is helping Iran build the Bushehr reactor -- is demanding that the Islamic Republic return the spent fuel. Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry says it will not start delivering fuel for Bushehr until such an agreement is reached.


Bush apparently has communicated concern to Pooty-Poot re the Islamic Bomb. No more invitations to Crawford barbecues without a stricter accounting of rods.

Perhaps similar pressures account for the reported movement of three Chinese divisions to the DPRK's border.

Syria is getting attention as well.

32 posted on 09/16/2003 8:52:18 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo; Doc On The Bay; DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; ...
Inside Iran, a Persian paradox

There is a self-assurance in the sentiment here that Iran is not Iraq.

Jasjit Singh

There are civilisations and there are states, but there are few civilisational states, and even fewer civilisational nation-states. India and China represent the latter, and so does Iran which has undergone some remarkable changes in the past quarter century.

A superficial view, especially when things are seen through a Western prism, would conclude that the country continues along a linear extension of the Islamic Revolution. But that stereotype would miss the flashing signs of a society that is successfully reconciling modernity and religion with a government of the people. The apparent paradoxes could be confusing, and hence the need to understand the Persian psyche.

At the root of Iranian concerns are the challenges of economic and social change to ensure that with the rising proportion of youth (70 per cent of the population is expected to be below 28 years of age in a decade), the aspirations of young people are adequately catered for.

Societal changes are taking place in ways that are often difficult to fathom. For example, with over a million young men killed in the eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, the majority of the young are women. And this is being smoothly accommodated in various sectors of state and society.

Over 58 per cent of university admissions last year went to women, the presidential office, which used to have less than 10 per cent women on its staff less than a decade ago, already employs double that number. Women’s dress code has undergone a subtle change from the earlier monto (similar to the burqa) to designer outfits that still show only the face while suggesting the figure.

And built into the attitudes of the youth is the deep pride in the Iranian-Persian civilisation and history. Bookstores here have now perhaps the most elaborately designed and beautifully printed books on Omar Khayam, Hafiz, Khalil Gibran, and the Sufi poets.

As a senior adviser to the president put it to me when I was there on a recent visit, Iranians want a society with Man, and not God, at the centre. This also produces in the elite a well-defined sense of a unique country all set to pursue pragmatic policies in an increasingly polycentric world. It is comfortable with the contradictions of the world where it sees its own path to its national interests defined in secular rather than religious terms. In concrete terms, it implies an amalgam of Islamic religious culture, Persian civilisation and Western democratic values.

Iranians face the current transitional contradictions, especially in US policies, with sophisticated equanimity. Iran is perceived by Iranians as a “glass between two stones” — Afghanistan and Iraq — whose future direction is uncertain, as is the intensity of pressure from US policies.

The sources of security threat to Iran are seen to emerge from Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel, almost in that order, where the Taliban and Pakistan were key factors for the radicalisation of security.

Terrorism is undoubtedly seen as the major threat to peace and stability, and there is unhappiness that Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism in the name of religion is almost totally ignored by Washington. But the real problem is that the US is involved in the generation of that threat in each case.

Iranians also see the risks of terrorism rising in the Islamic world, driven by US policies in the region, going back to the 1980s. Iraq is the prime example where, in Iranian eyes, the US has lost all legitimacy, the people are now unwilling to cooperate, and where a traditionally plural society could rapidly regress into fundamentalism.

According to Iranian experts, the Shias (who constitute 65 per cent of the population) in Iraq want their country to be a stable democracy but there is apprehension that such a development would not be acceptable to the US and Israel.

Without any noticeable rancour, Iranians emphasise their cooperation with the US in its war against terrorism and the removal of Saddam Hussein against the backdrop of Iran being termed as part of the “axis of evil” by the US president.

What Iran seeks is stability in the region to allow it time to sort out its own socio-economic challenges. But peace and stability could be disturbed by the spread of terrorism, the US policy of encirclement and possible military action in the name of counter-proliferation. There is a noticeable self-assurance without bravado in the sentiment that Iran is not Iraq. But how US pressure will shape Iran’s internal developments is, of course, something only the future will reveal.

The recent build up of the threat of Iran’s nuclear programme has to be seen in this context. Iranian officials and experts candidly express that there are no difficulties about Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Iran, they assert, has no programme to build nuclear weapons and is not engaged in such activity. They are not willing to say where the traces of enriched uranium on centrifuge cylinders came from, although US and European intelligence sources have clearly identified Pakistan as the supplier.

The IAEA has not found any evidence of a nuclear weapon programme, and Iran seems to be cooperating fully in spite of some past technical inconsistencies. Iran may also not have any problem in signing the additional protocol for expanded safeguards and more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.

The programme for nuclear energy in an oil-gas rich country (also pursued by USA and USSR), is seen as one of national pride and achievement in science and technology, originated during the Shah’s time, a year before the Islamic Revolution, when President Carter had characterised Iran as “an island of stability”.

The problem may be technical, but the US and Israel seem to be pushing for a confrontationist political approach in the context of a demonising agenda. This in turn is creating problems for the government since it wants Iran to be seen as a “responsible” state. Outside the government, demands to protect national honour and sovereignty are rising, something most Indians and others would empathise with. Non-proliferation pressure may well achieve the very opposite of what the US and its allies seek, and domestic pressures for withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty may increase. At the minimum, current US policies could be counter-productive. They could strengthen the hardliners, mostly among the older generation, especially the clerics.
33 posted on 09/16/2003 10:18:27 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

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

34 posted on 09/17/2003 12:03:44 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife



35 posted on 09/17/2003 7:02:32 PM PDT by Doc On The Bay
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To: F14 Pilot
IMHO, if "Iran" is to survive as a "Nation-State" through the next Decade, the "Clerics" MUST BE relegated to "Arbiters of Moral/Ethical Issues" in a STRICTLY ADVISORY ROLE.

Unless Iran SHEDS it's "Theocracy," It (a GREAT Nation) will be "Bypassed" by current & evolving World History.

ANY form of "Government" antithetical to innovation CANNOT SURVIVE the "March of History!" (check out the Fall of the Soviet Union!!)


36 posted on 09/18/2003 8:44:09 PM PDT by Doc On The Bay
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