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posted on 09/16/2003 12:00:56 AM PDT
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posted on 09/16/2003 12:03:17 AM PDT
Iranian Regime Change Bump
posted on 09/16/2003 12:20:01 AM PDT
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
Will Iran go the North Korea way?
By Atul Aneja
MANAMA Sept.15. Faced with an October-end deadline to prove that it is not seeking nuclear weapons, Iran has reacted angrily and has threatened to review its relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international nuclear umpire.
Iran's Foreign Minister, Kemal Kharrazi, said soon after the 35-member IAEA board of governors decided that Iran should prove it was not developing atomic weapons by a October 31 deadline, that his country would now have to take a fresh look at its relationship with the agency. "Naturally, we should now decide about our cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency," Mr. Kharrazi said in Teheran.
Iran's representative at the IAEA meeting in Vienna, Ali Akbar Salehi, who walked out of the conference just before the resolution was adopted was also blunt in his observations. "We will have no choice but to have a deep review of our existing level and extent of engagement with the agency," he said in a brief statement before leaving the talks. The senior Iranian religious leader, Hashemi Rafsanjani, in an address in Teheran, expressed similar sentiments. Iran's threat to re-examine its relationship with the IAEA has prompted international fears that Teheran could follow the example of North Korea by renouncing international treaty obligations that forbid research in atomic weapons.
Analysts point out the stage is set for a showdown between Iran and U.S.-led industrialised nations, where Teheran will either have to allow a comprehensive IAEA probe of its nuclear facilities or face the prospects of stringent U.N. sanctions.
The IAEA board has decided that Iran should give a "full declaration" of its nuclear programme, to open all nuclear sites for inspection and to accept environmental testing ahead of an agency meeting scheduled for November 1.
In case of non-compliance, Iran's case would be forwarded to the U.N. Security Council where further action against Teheran, including sanctions, can be taken. Iran has been recently subjected to intense international pressure after an IAEA inspection team found traces of enriched uranium which is used for building nuclear weapons, at its nuclear facility in Natanz, in central Iran.
While Iran has denied that it is building nuclear weapons, Teheran's case for building atomic weapons has been well-debated in the Iranian press. Its case for atomic weapons rests on two premises.
First, Iran needs to deter a hostile Israel, which, it is widely believed, has an undeclared atomic arsenal. Second, the possession of nuclear weapons, it is felt, will insulate Iran from possible U.S. military threats. Iran's security situation has been severely compromised after U.S. forces positioned themselves in Afghanistan along its northern borders and in neighbouring Iraq.
Besides, a showdown with the industrialised nations led by Washington on the question of nuclear weapons can help in blunting the sharpening differences between hardliners and reformers inside Iran. http://www.hindu.com/2003/09/16/stories/2003091601931400.htm
posted on 09/16/2003 12:26:04 AM PDT
Canadian FM says he's taking strong line in disputes with Iran, Saudi Arabia
Mon Sep 15, 5:55 PM ET
OTTAWA (AFP) - Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham insisted that Ottawa was "taking strong steps" with the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia over the alleged mistreatment of Canadian citizens in those two countries.
In Iran, Montreal-based photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died July 10 while in police custody after being arrested for taking unauthorized photographs outside Tehran's Evin prison.
Kazemi, a dual citizen of both Iran and Canada, died of a brain hemmorrhage after a blow to the head suffered while in custody, according to an official inquiry ordered by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites).
In Saudi Arabia, Canadian Bill Sampson claims he was severely tortured while in custody and forced to confess to a murder he did not commit.
Sampson was recently released, but only after being sentenced to death by beheading.
Stockwell Day, the foreign affairs spokesman for the right-wing populist Canadian Alliance, claimed in the House of Commons that Kazemi was "wrongly arrested by the Iranian regime and beaten to death ... (yet) our government has not even demand a public apology or restitution to the Kazemi family."
Sampson, said Day, "was wrongly arrested by the Saudi regime and for nearly three years was tortured and beaten almost to the point of death ... (yet) our government has made no demand there for a public apology or restitution to Mr. Sampson."
Day called on the government to expel the Saudi ambassador.
Graham replied: "We are working with the Iranian government. We have taken strong positions with the Iranian government to deal with the Kazemi case.
"We are taking strong steps with the Saudi government to deal with the treatment of Mr. Sampson."
But Graham added he would "not put Canadians at risk abroad by breaking off" diplomatic relations. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030915/wl_canada_afp/canada_saudi_iran_030915215506
posted on 09/16/2003 12:27:40 AM PDT
Britain urges Iran to protect embassy
Mon Sep 15, 1:13 PM ET Add Mideast - AFP to My Yahoo!
LONDON (AFP) - Britain urged Iran on Monday to fulfill its "obligations" to protect London's embassy buildings in Tehran after the third shooting incident there in the space of a month, a government spokeswoman said.
Iran's ambassador to Britain, Morteza Sarmadi, was called in to see Baroness Elizabeth Symons, minister with responsibility for Middle Eastern affairs, after shots were fired at one of the embassy's main residential facilities on Sunday.
Symons told Sarmadi: "Iranians have obligations under the (United Nations (news - web sites)) Vienna convention to protect the British embassy", the Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
"(The minister) urged the Iranians to take immediate steps to meet this obligation and conduct an urgent investigation into these shooting incidents," she said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s official spokesman told reporters Symons had made it clear "that Iran was failing in its obligations to protect the British embassy and urged the Iranians to conduct a full investigation and bring those responsible to justice".
Two shots were fired at the main gate of the compound in northern Tehran at 6:10 pm (1340 GMT) on Sunday. Nobody was injured in the shooting, embassy spokesman Andrew Greenstock said on Monday.
Witnesses questioned after the shooting had seen two men on a motorbike fire the shots, he said.
The walled compound, situated on a busy road, is one of the embassy's main residential facilities and a large number of diplomatic staff and their families are housed there.
The main British embassy in the centre of the city was hit by gunmen on September 3, triggering the Foreign Office to authorize the voluntary departure of non-essential members of staff and dependants.
The embassy has since been carrying out "limited functions".
In a second incident on September 9, three to four shots were fired outside the British embassy, sparking an angry diplomatic protest from the mission that Iranian authorities were failing to provide adequate security.
The Iranian foreign ministry insisted the shots were fired "during a police pursuit of a civilian vehicle and had nothing to do with the embassy".
The latest British rebuke comes amid a worsening of relations between London and Tehran over the arrest in Britain last month of a former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpur.
Anger among religious hardliners in Iran has also mounted since the International Atomic Energy Agency last week issued Tehran with an ultimatum to prove by October 31 that it is not developing nuclear weapons.
Britain, along with the United States, France and Germany, had pushed for a deadline to be imposed on Iran over its civilian nuclear power programme, which Washington believes is being used as a cover to secretly develop atomic weapons. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030915/wl_mideast_afp/britain_iran_diplomacy_030915171337
posted on 09/16/2003 12:29:19 AM PDT
US wants Iran to respond to IAEA questions
Mon Sep 15, 7:04 PM ET Add Politics - AFP to My Yahoo!
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States called for Iran to honestly answer questions about its nuclear program posed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), amid contradictory statements from Iranian officials about whether it would.
"Confusion is a good word," deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said of the mixed messages emanating from Tehran. "They're saying different things, we're saying the same thing."
"We hope that Iran will see this resolution as an opportunity to respond to straightforward questions in a clear, concise manner, and to take the other steps needed to comply with the (IAEA) resolution," he told reporters.
"Actions speak louder than words," Ereli said. "Let's see them take the actions that are called for."
Last week, the IAEA's governing board gave Iran an October 31 deadline to address concerns about its nuclear program prompting angry responses from Tehran, whose delegation walked out of the meeting in protest.
By that date, the IAEA called for Iran disprove US allegations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons.
If it does not, US officials have suggested that the IAEA refer the matter to the UN Security Council which could impose sanctions on Tehran.
Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, who led the walkout at Friday's meeting, said afterward that Iran was reconsidering its cooperation with the UN watchdog and might even withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
But his comments were contradicted on Monday when Iranian vice president and atomic energy agency chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh said that Tehran remained fully committed to the NPT despite its objections to the deadline. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030915/pl_afp/us_iran_iaea_nuclear_030915230422
posted on 09/16/2003 12:30:19 AM PDT
Statoil Retains CEO Fjell After Iran Scandal
September 16, 2003
OSLO -- Statoil ASA said its board of directors unanimously backs CEO Olav Fjell to continue in his post after it assessed the impact of a contract with an Iranian consultancy that sparked an official probe.
The company also announced internal reforms designed to improve transparency in its business dealings.
Chairman Terje Loeddesoel said the board agreed that the Iranian contract, with consultancy Horton Investment, should not have been signed, and that assessments made by Fjell prior to the deal were inadequate.
But he added: "After a long and thorough investigation, we have come to the conclusion that (Fjell) is still the person best suited to take Statoil forward."
Loeddesoel added that he apologised to the board for not immediately informing them collectively of the Iran contract.
Finance watchdog officials raided Statoil last week following a press expose of the agreement between the company and Horton.
Fjell reportedly failed to make background checks on the consultancy, while the length and value of the contract - 100 mln nkr over 10 years - were viewed as irregular.
The board also presented a reform plan designed to uphold high ethical standards in the company's future international expansion, including introducing quarterly reporting to the board on all contract developments, external auditing of all existing contracts and a strengthening of the direct line of reporting from the internal auditor to the board.
Statoil will also investigate potential political risks associated with its dealings in in countries with different sociopolitical systems and improve internal training in ethical matters.
It added that it will cooperate fully with the ongoing probe into the Horton contract. firstname.lastname@example.org http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=09&d=16&a=1
Norway Oil Minister Backs Statoil Decision to Keep CEO, Regret Over Iran Deal
September 16, 2003
OSLO -- Minister of Oil and Energy Einar Steensnaes said he backs Statoil ASA's board of director's negative evaluation of the consultancy contract with Horton Investment for services in Iran and Statoil's continued trust in its CEO, Olav Fjell.
"I am now, first and foremost, concerned with both Statoil's own and Norway's economic crime bureau's investigation into this matter and I hope for a swift and positive outcome," Steensnaes said.
He noted that he would have like to have seen a better handling of the contract by Statoil, however, he said the most important issue now is to avoid similar situations in the future.
Steensnaes added that his comments is based on the board's evaluation and the information that has been made available to him.
Statoil decided to scrap the 10-year, 100 mln nkr deal with Horton Investment last week after a raid on its offices by Norway's economic crime bureau. The company is being investigated for possible corruption. email@example.com http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=09&d=16&a=5
Iran Said to Buy Nuclear Technology From British Companies
September 16, 2003
BBC Monitoring Service
Tehran -- Informed Iranian sources told Al-Hayat on Wednesday [10 September] that Tehran had bought nuclear equipment, installations and technology from British companies. The sources did not reveal the names of these companies but pointed out that the purchase took place with the knowledge of British government.
This is the first revelation of British-Iranian cooperation in the nuclear field since the accusations, and US pressure, have always alluded to Russian-Iranian cooperation in building the Bushehr Nuclear Plant. The United States has also hinted at Pakistan's cooperation with Iran.
According to the information received by Al-Hayat, the nuclear cooperation between Iran and British companies comprised of building the Natanz and Arak plants which specialize in enriching uranium after Iran recently acquired this technology.
This information comes at a time when the escalation between Iran and the United States has expanded to include Tehran's relations with members of the European Union. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi strongly criticized western countries and accused them of "extremism and impudence" and trying to wreck the course of cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Kharrazi threatened to rethink the cooperation with the agency after it specified a time limit for Iran to reveal all aspects of its nuclear programme and sign a protocol to allow stricter international inspection of Iranian [nuclear] plants. This accompanied Tehran's decision to suspend talks with Europe regarding human rights which were scheduled for the end of September.
Source: Muhammad Nun -- Al-Hayat, London, in Arabic 11 Sep 03 http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk/newsfile.shtml
US Accuses Russia of Selling Arms to Iran
September 16, 2003
Middle East Online
WASHINGTON -- The United States on Tuesday accused the Russian government of selling weapons to Iran, a nation Washington considers a "state sponsor of terrorism," but waived sanctions against Moscow in the US national interest.
At the same time, the State Department imposed penalties on a Russian government-owned company that it said had sold laser-guided artillery shells to Iran.
"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 department said.
"The United States government further determined that, despite the transfers, furnishing assistance to the government of Russia is important to the national interests of the United States," it said in a notice published in the Federal Register.
Sanctions that could have been imposed included a blanket ban on US assistance to Moscow, according to a State Department official who added that the determination had been made on August 25 but not made public until Tuesday.
In the same Federal Register notice, the department imposed sanctions against the Russian firm Tula Design Bureau of Instrument Building (Tula KBP) for selling "lethal military assistance" to the Islamic Republic.
Those sanctions include a one-year ban on all US assistance, contracts and licenses to Tula KBP, the department said.
The United States has imposed sanctions against Tula KPB for arms sales to Iraq and Syria before.
In March, Tula was one of three Russian firms that US officials said had sold Iraq night-vision goggles, anti-tank missiles and satellite-jamming devices.
The United States has made similar charges against Russia in the past and has expressed deep and growing concerns about Russian cooperation with Iran's nuclear program which Washington believes is a cover for atomic weapons development.
The Russian government and the companies have repeatedly denied the charges.
The new determination is not related to Iran's nuclear program, the State Department official said.
The department lists seven nations - Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan - as "state sponsors of terrorism." Iraq is in the process of being removed from the list following the US ouster of Saddam Hussein. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=7017
Iraq's Odd New "Friends"
September 16, 2003
New York Post
When first announced a couple of months ago, Iraq's Governing Council was shunned by several Arab states as "non-representative." France, Germany and a few other Saddam nostalics complained of the council's "nondemocratic nature." The United Nations, where fudging matters is a refined art, invited the Governing Council to address the Security Council, but refused to let it occupy Iraq's seat.
Emboldened, all who opposed change in Iraq rushed to attack the council as a "club of quislings." A number of self-styled religious leaders in Egypt and Lebanon even issued "fatwas" forbidding contact with the "unclean" council.
Even some of those who had supported Iraq's liberation complained about of the council's failure to pick a single chairman and its failure to curtail debate and take quick decisions. (Actually, these are positive points. The council has adopted a rotating presidency in contrast to the Iraqi tradition of rule by a strongman. This insistence that all issues should be debated for as long as necessary is also a welcome break from the tradition of one man, or a handful of men, taking quick decisions based on illusions.)
Now, however, the wheel of fortune has turned for the council. In Baghdad, a string of foreign dignitaries wait in line to meet the members of the council or the ministers appointed by them. In some 60 countries, notably including Russia, Iran and Turkey, Iraqi embassies, consulates and legations have already been handed over to people named by the council.
And this month, ignoring some huffing and puffing by one or two members, the Arab League formally welcomed Iraq's interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. This week Iraq will regain its seats in the Organization of the Islamic Conference and OPEC.
On the "fatwa" front, the Sheikh of al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, has expressed support for the council. Tantawi, Egypt's senior theologian, has described as "fools" the mullahs and muftis who call for a boycott of the Iraq Governing Council.
And that is not all. The council has suddenly emerged as the central piece in a strategy that France and Germany are proposing for Iraq.
"We want an immediate transfer of power from the Americans to the Governing Council," a spokesman for the German foreign ministry said.
The French media, reflecting President Jacques Chirac's thinking, are also campaigning for replacement of the American interim administrator Paul Bremer by the Governing Council.
What is the reason for these dramatic changes in attitude?
The most obvious reason is that all those who opposed the liberation of Iraq are now convinced that, despite current problems, there is no possibility of a return of the Ba'athist regime or of a disintegration of the country.
Iraq may have a couple of hard years ahead. But it has all that is needed to become a success story in the medium and longer term. No power interested in the Middle East could afford to stay out of Iraq and sulk.
To enter Iraq right now, however, it is necessary to acknowledge the leading role of the United States. And this is precisely what many opponents of the war wish to avoid. They believe they can circumvent the problem by drawing a wedge between America and the council.
Three models for the transition period are under study:
- The East Timor model, under which the United Nations will declare a mandate on Iraq and run the country until the emergence of a freely elected government.
That model, supported by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, enjoyed some initial support from several members of the Governing Council, notably Adnan Pachachi, himself a former foreign minister of Iraq. Now, however, there is virtually no support for it on the council. Russia and China indicated some support but appear open to other options.
- The second model is Cambodia, where the United Nations worked alongside an existing government.
France and Germany support this model. Roughly, the scenario would run as follows: The U.N. will recognize the Governing Council as the sole representative of Iraqi sovereignty. The Bremer administration will then be transformed into a U.S. aid project in Iraq. The United Nations will then assume control of Iraq in a period of transition. The U.N. representative in Iraq will then fix a timetable for writing a new constitution and holding elections to create a new state and government. (France's candidate for the post: Francois Leotard, the former French defense minister).
- The third model is Afghanistan, where the United States remains in a leadership position alongside the government of Hamid Karzai. The idea is to increase the authority of the Governing Council and let the newly created Council of Ministers assume genuine executive power. The U.S. representatives would then act as an upper chamber of a parliament, retaining an effective veto on key questions until an elected government is in place.
The question for the Bush administration: Is it worth it to expose Iraq to international diplomatic rivalry in exchange for what is bound to be minimal material and military U.N. support?
The only justification for involving the U.N. may have to do with domestic politics. Bush may want to be able to tell voters the U.N. is now on board.
This is precisely why France, Germany and a few others who don't wish Bush re-elected are determined to push the price so high as to make it impossible for Washington to accept without losing control of the situation in Iraq.
The message that Paris and Berlin wish to convey is this: Bush and his "neocons" created a mess, now we enter to save Iraq from destruction.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/5845.htm
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. http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=11130 http://helios.unive.it/~arabic/arabiyat/isl_occ1.htm
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. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-16-051004.asp?reg=MIDEAST
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. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030916/2003091629.html
Iran, S.Arabia vow to boost ties
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. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=188202&n=18
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." http://www.spacewar.com/2003/030916170041.c4l7g0h6.html
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