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1 posted on 09/18/2003 12:07:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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2 posted on 09/18/2003 12:08:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran rejects any EU precondition


Tehran, Sept 18 - Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi expressed regret here Wednesday over statements made by the Italian representative to the European Union (EU) regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The envoy from Italy, which heads the rotating presidency of the EU, speaking at a public session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that EU's cooperation with Iran depends on Tehran's acceptance of the additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

These statements which have been made under duress from some countries, provide no help to strengthen constructive Iran-IAEA cooperation, Asefi underlined.

"They will not deter Iran from its legitimate rights to have access to peaceful nuclear technology either."

Iran and EU have started their diplomatic and economic dialogue based on mutual respect, Asefi said adding "But, as Iran did not accept any precondition for these talks, it will not accept any preconditions for their continuation."

He also expressed hope that the EU will put pressure on Israel to come clean on its nuclear arsenal as well as clarify its position on efforts to prevent production and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction to preserve international peace and security.

Speaking at a press conference, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said the immediate and unconditional signing of the additional protocol by Iran is EU's condition for continuation of economic dialogue with Tehran.
3 posted on 09/18/2003 12:21:08 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

OSLO 17 Sept. (IPS)

Olav Fjell, the chief executive of Statoil, Norway's state-owned oil company was voted to continue as the firm’s boss after a 13 hours questioning session by the company’s directors over a 15.5 million US Dollars bribes paid to an intermediary group to secure solid access in the lucrative Iranian oil market.

What makes the case interesting is that the man suspected to have opened the doors of Statoil to Iran’s south Pars gas fields in the Persian gulf is Mr. Mehdi Hashemi, one of the five children of Iran’s number two man, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

According to Norwegian press, Statoil paid 15.5 millions to Horton Investments, a small company registered in Turks and Caicos Islands of the Caribbean and owned by a young Anglo-Iranian businessman named Abbas Yazdi, who hired Mr Hashemi, a Director of the National Iranian Oil Company for the purpose.

Statoil's board chairman, Leif Terje Loeddesoel, said on Wednesday at a news conference that the contract ''smelled bad", and he directed sharp criticism at Mr. Fjell. But he said that Mr. Fjell could continue in his job after explaining his actions in a 13-hour meeting that ended late Monday night.

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.

Norway's leading business daily newspaper, "Dagens Naeringsliv", quoted Mr. Fjell last week as saying he knew some of the money might go to Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom Fjell said he knew "vaguely".

''The contract was with Horton Investment, a company owned by an Iranian living in London who has given us advice," Mr. Fjell said. "We have also had advice from the junior Rafsanjani, but I don't know what the financial relationship is between Horton Investment and Rafsanjani, if any."

Mr. Fjell said after the internal audition and that of the Police that the criticism he received on this matter were justified, adding that the contract was "a serious misstep".

The Norwegian police, who raided Statoil's offices last Thursday, questioned Mr. Fjell for two hours on Wednesday afternoon. The police said they were investigating whether the contract involved the ''illegal influencing of foreign government officials."

On Friday, and after that the press reported the financial scandal, Richard Hubbard, the Head of Statoil’s international exploration and production resigned abruptly and the company revoked the 11-year $15.2 million consultancy contract signed in 2002 with Horton, saying it would pay no more than the $5.2 million that it had already paid to the firm.

It is believed that it was Hubbard that introduced Statoil to Yazdi and his Horton Investments.

Spokesman Kai Nielsen said that Rafsanjani was one of the two consultants that the company had worked most with in Iran, alongside Horton Investment's owner Abbas Yazdi, who introduced Statoil to Rafsanjani.

Consultancy deals are not illegal in Norway but the police are understood to have acted on fears that some of the money paid to Horton Investment was really intended as a bribe to Iranian officials.

The contact signed with Iran thanks to the young Hashemi Rafsanjani stipulates for the Norwegian company to handle operation activities of the offshore's phases and requires it to invest about US dlrs 330 million in the projects. The buy-back contract's duration is 46 month.

Statoil will be reimbursed with the exploited condensate and other gas derivatives of the three phases or the exports revenues from the products.

Statoil's role would be to finance and oversee the building of three gas platforms in the Persian Gulf and a treatment plant for gas and light petroleum on land.

Radio Farda, the Persian service of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty quoted some days ago Mr. Mehdi Hashemi as having denied any bribe taking, reiterating that he nor anyone from the family hand anything to do with the case. ENDS NORWAY IRAN OIL AND BRIBE 17903
4 posted on 09/18/2003 12:22:01 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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UK denies divided policy on Iran

Thursday, September 18, 2003 - ©2003

London, Sept 18, Irna -- Foreign Office Minister Chris Mullin denied that the prime minister`s office and foreign office were divided over the UK`s foreign policy towards Iran.

Accusation of the split were raised by Veteran conservative MP, Sir Teddy , in a brief debate on UK-Iran relations in parliament`s parrallel chamber, Wedminister Hall.

Taylor said that he was "very upset about the abrupt" change in British policy towards Iran, which he traced to prime minister Tony Blair`s meeting with Israel`s Ariel Sharon in London in July. He said it was a "huge error" to have negative relations with Iran.

Iran, he said, was "one of the most sensible countries in the middle east. The conservative MP compared the controvery over the government`s claim that Iraq could use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes with the 45 days demand made by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Iran to cooperate.

He said he had been surprised by the demand because the last report from IAEA`s director general has said there had been increased cooperation with Iran and access had been given to additional locations.

It seemed "almost foolish and arrogant" to deal with Iran in such a way, Taylor said and suggested that the first basic issue for the US and UK to reolve was to have "humility."

He believed that the US and UK "only supported democracy when it suited" and quoted such examples as the support given to the deposed Shah OPF Iran and to Iraq in its war against Iran.

Then there was the "frightful destruction" of an Iranian Irbus over the Persian Gulf in 1988, which the US did not even apologise for, he said.

Although Taylor said he was not an expert on Iran and had never visited the country, but suggested that it was easy to see that Britain was thrwoing away an opportunity to improve relations and were instead treating Iran with "near contempt."

In response, Mullin said that there was "no doubt" that Iran was a country of growing international importance and there was a string British interest in the policies pursued by its government.

He described the British government`s policy towards Iran as persuing a "constructive but when necessary critical engagement" and cited cooperation in such areas as the fight against drugs, the reconstruction of Afghnaistan and in efforts to stabilise Iraq.

The UK supported president Mohammad Khatami`s Civil Society based upon the rule of law, the foreign office minister said. But although there was a string mandate for reform, he said the situation was complex and expressed hope he would succeed.

Mullin said that it would be wrong not to set out concerns about Iran, specifying there were worries about human rights, support for terrorist groups, the development of weapons of mass destruction and Iran`s nuclear program.

But he insisted the British government was united in its support against terrorism and would do all it can to support engagement in what he described as a "two-way process."
5 posted on 09/18/2003 12:23:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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US blacklists Russian arms firm selling to Iran

Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Thursday September 18, 2003
The Guardian

The US has accused Russia of selling an advanced weapon to Iran and imposed sanctions on the state company involved.
The action has been taken just days before the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is due to meet George Bush at the US presidential retreat, Camp David.

Tula KBP, a state-owned company making anti-aircraft and anti-missile devices, has been banned from doing business with the US and US companies for a year for selling the laser-guided Krasnopol M artillery shells to Iran.

Washington classifies Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism, and suspects it of having a nuclear weapons programme, under cover of a civil nuclear energy programme, in which Russian technology may play a part.

Yesterday the US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, John Bolton, arrived in Moscow to discuss nuclear proliferation.

Russia's project to build an $800m nuclear reactor in Iran is expected to be high on the agenda.

Tula KBP said it had not sold any arms to Iran and that the sanctions were a political move without teeth, since the US was not one of its clients.

Washington has previously accused the company of sending radar equipment to Iraq and missiles to Syria.

In a notice published on Tuesday it said the government had "determined that the government of Russia trans ferred lethal military equipment to countries determined by the secretary of state to be state sponsors of terrorism".

The sanctions have largely been interpreted as a gesture intended to heap pressure upon Moscow to further cool its relations with Tehran.

Normally Washington would impose sanctions on the entire country for such a breach.

But in this instance it has decided not to cancel the millions of dollars aid it gives Russia annually because it regards the disposal of the former Soviet Union army's nuclear arsenal as vital to national security.

Russia has refused to bow to international opposition to a contract with Iran to build a nuclear reactor at Bushehr, despite admitting recently that it shares Washington's concern about nuclear proliferation.

Russia has tried to allay the concern about its transfer of nuclear energy technology to Iran by having Iran return the spent fuel.

The plan appeared to hit an obstacle last week when Tehran demanded payment for the spent fuel.

But on Tuesday the Russian minister for atomic energy, Alexander Rumyantsev, said Iran and Russia had "no contradictions".

No date has yet been set for signing the contract.

An Iranian delegation is expected in Moscow next week to complete matters.

Many argue that the fuel is not the key issue.

A European diplomat said yesterday: "There is concern that the considerable number of Russian engineers living in Iran, and Iranian engineers coming to Russia to learn about nuclear science, might be gaining or trans ferring knowledge that could be accelerating Iran's nuclear weapons programme."

Hundreds of Iranians have been trained at nuclear technology institutes in various parts of Russia.

But Moscow insists that the students are taught only the technical language and the skills needed for peaceful energy plants.

Russian officials said there was no point putting pressure on them.

"It is not the first time America has made such demands, but there is no basis for it," a senior foreign ministry official said.

"In Russia we have very strict export controls. It is difficult to understand what their motivations are.",12858,1044245,00.html
6 posted on 09/18/2003 12:24:04 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Saudis consider nuclear bomb

Ewen MacAskill and Ian Traynor in Vienna
Thursday September 18, 2003
The Guardian

Saudi Arabia, in response to the current upheaval in the Middle East, has embarked on a strategic review that includes acquiring nuclear weapons, the Guardian has learned.
This new threat of proliferation in one of the most dangerous regions of the world comes on top of a crisis over Iran's alleged nuclear programme.

A strategy paper being considered at the highest levels in Riyadh sets out three options:

· To acquire a nuclear capability as a deterrent;

· To maintain or enter into an alliance with an existing nuclear power that would offer protection;

· To try to reach a regional agreement on having a nuclear-free Middle East.

Until now, the assumption in Washington was that Saudi Arabia was content to remain under the US nuclear umbrella. But the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US has steadily worsened since the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington: 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudi.

It is not known whether Saudi Arabia has taken a decision on any of the three options. But the fact that it is prepared to contemplate the nuclear option is a worrying development.

United Nations officials and nuclear arms analysts said the Saudi review reflected profound insecurities generated by the volatility in the Middle East, Riyadh's estrangement with Washington and the weakening of its reliance on the US nuclear umbrella.

They pointed to the Saudi worries about an Iranian prog-ramme and to the absence of any international pressure on Israel, which has an estimated 200 nuclear devices.

"Our antennae are up," said a senior UN official watching worldwide nuclear proliferation efforts. "The international community can rest assured we do keep track of such events if they go beyond talk."

Saudi Arabia does not regard Iran, a past adversary with which Riyadh has restored relations, as a direct threat. But it is unnerved by the possibility of Iran and Israel having nuclear weapons.

Riyadh is also worried about a string of apparent leaks in American papers from the US administration critical of Saudi Arabia.

David Albright, director of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington thinktank, said he doubted whether the Saudis would try to build a nuclear bomb, preferring instead to try to buy a nuclear warhead. They would be the first of the world's eight or nine nuclear powers to have bought rather than built the bomb.

"There has always been worries that the Saudis would go down this path if provoked," said Mr Albright. "There is growing US hostility which could lead to the removal of the US umbrella and will the Saudis be intimidated by Iran? They've got to be nervous."

UN officials said there have been rumours going back 20 years that the Saudis wanted to pay Pakistan to do the research and development on nuclear weapons.

In 1988, Saudi bought from China intermediate-range missiles capable of reaching any part of the Middle East with a nuclear warhead.

Four years ago, Saudi Arabia sent a defence team to Pakistan to tour its secret nuclear facilities and to be briefed by Abdul Qader Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

A UN official said: "There's obviously a lot of restlessness in the Middle East. Regional insecurity tends to produce a quest for a nuclear umbrella. The Saudis have the money and could provide it to Pakistan."

Mr Albright said the Saudis would face a long haul if they were determined to acquire nuclear weapons. He doubted whether anyone would sell.

Arab countries yesterday urged the International Atomic Energy Authority, the UN nuclear watchdog, to get tough with Israel to let inspectors assess its nuclear programme in line with similar pressure on Iran.

Oman's ambassador to the IAEA, Salim al-Riyami, speaking on behalf of the Arab League, which represents Arab states, said it was time to get tough with Israel. "I think it's time to deal with this issue more substantively than before," he said.,11599,1044402,00.html
7 posted on 09/18/2003 12:28:16 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Rejects EU Preconditions for Continued Cooperation

September 18, 2003

Teheran - Iran will not accept any preconditions by the European Union for continued cooperation, the news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

Iran and the EU have started their dialogue based on mutual respect, but Iran neither accepted any precondition for these talks then nor for their continuation now, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi said.

The spokesman was referring to remarks by the Italian delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency, which made clear that EU cooperation with Iran depended on Teheran's acceptance of the additional IAEA protocol which authorizes unannounced and unlimited nuclear inspections.

Such remarks will not help strengthen constructive Iran-IAEA cooperation and definitely will not deter Iran from its legitimate rights to have access to peaceful nuclear technology, the spokesman said.

Assefi said Wednesday that Iran would also not give in to political pressure by the United States over it nuclear programs. Under the terms of last week's IAEA ultimatum, Teheran has until October 31 to accept all IAEA regulations on nuclear inspections.

It has been warned that the issue will go to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions if it does not comply by November 20.
18 posted on 09/18/2003 8:12:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Argentine Bomb Police to Testify

September 18, 2003
Elliott Gotkine

The Argentine president is to order the secret service to testify in a court case over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, the BBC has been told.

The lawyer representing victims of the bombing told the BBC that President Nestor Kirchner was to sign a decree forcing the country's secret police to appear in court.

Separately, an Argentine newspaper has revealed that a former cultural attache to the country's embassy in Iran is being investigated in connection with the bombing.

The bombing of the Jewish Mutual Aid Association (Amia) in 1994 killed 85 and left more than 200 people injured.

Members of Argentina's National Intelligence Service - while not directly implicated in the attack - have long been accused of deliberately misleading the investigation.

Menem connection

Now they will have to account for their actions in court.

Many suspect that Carlos Menem, who was Argentina's president at the time, was also involved.

Argentina's leading newspaper, Clarin, says prosecutors are now looking into his relationship with a former cultural attache to the Argentine Embassy in Iran.

Carlos Lelli is being investigated amid allegations he was the intermediary used by Mr Menem when he allegedly received million from Iran, in exchange for not accusing the Islamic Republic of the Amia bombing.

But Mr Lelli will not be testifying. He died in a car crash in August 2000, just two months after a former Iranian intelligence official made the million claim.
19 posted on 09/18/2003 8:15:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Real Risk in Iran's Nuclear Deception

September 18, 2003
The Jersey Journal

The hot spot in the Middle East that we should be worrying about at the moment may be Iran and not Iraq. Can you say "nukes?"

Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency detected traces of enriched uranium at an Iranian nuclear facility; the Iranians claimed it was needed for a peaceful nuclear-energy program. Enriched uranium could of course be used for reactors for the purpose of making electricity, but it is also the method by which nations build nuclear weapons programs. The problem with the Iranian explanation is that they already get "safe" fuel from Russia for their reactors.

So why is there a uranium enrichment program?

Iran is bound under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to tell the world that it is building nuclear weapons, and it denies what everyone suspects. This is the same treaty the North Korean government has repudiated, but at least they admitted they are building powerful weapons of mass destruction. Rather than back off, the IAEA did the right thing by setting a deadline, ironically Oct. 31, when Iran must allow inspectors into that country for inspections. If Iran refuses to comply, then the whole mess goes to the United Nations Security Council to determine what action must follow.

Does this seem like déjá vu?

Once again, the credibility of the United Nations will be on the line, as well as the security of the world. It's essential that the Security Council avoid the mistakes of the Iraq question.
20 posted on 09/18/2003 8:18:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
IAEA Chooses New Governing Board, Iran No Longer a Member

September 18, 2003
AFX News

VIENNA -- The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chose a new governing board Thursday, and the regular rotation of countries represented meant that Iran, a country accused of breaching the body's rules, is no longer a member, a spokesman for the watchdog agency said.

Spain is to take over from Kuwait as chairman of the 35-nation board, which makes key decisions such as deciding last week to impose an October 31 deadline on Iran to prove it is not secretly developing atomic weapons.

Spain is to be chosen as chair when the new board meets for the first time in Vienna on Monday.

AFP reported Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, as saying: "It's better to be on the board but we can still raise our voice and defend our position" since Iran can be present at meetings as an observer.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said the appointment Thursday of the new board at a general conference of the 137-member IAEA was an "annual rotation of board members."

He said the board's composition was a "formula with certain seats allocated to each region so that the balance more or less stays the same."

Iran is replaced for the Middle East and South Asia region by Pakistan, a country which possesses nuclear weapons.

Key nuclear powers Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are permanent members of the board.
21 posted on 09/18/2003 8:21:34 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Soldier Opens Fire on His Fellow Guards

September 18, 2003

TEHRAN -- A soldier guarding Tehran's law courts on Thursday opened fire on his fellow guards, killing one and wounding several others, the student news agency ISNA reported.

The director of political and security affairs in Tehran, Ali Taala, said five or six shots were fired in the incident, adding that an investigation was underway into the cause of the shooting.

No further details were given.
22 posted on 09/18/2003 8:23:16 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Guard kills superior and wound several militiamen

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Sep 18, 2003

An officer of the LEF was killed and several militiamen were wounded, today, in the Justice palace located in the Nasser Khosrow avenue of Tehran.

A guard exasperated by witnessing the persistent repression of Iranians shoot out on his superior and colleagues and then escaped from the premises located in the nearby busy 15 Khordad (former Ark) circle.

Most neighboring avenues were closed and a successful man hunt took place, then, in the area by resulting in the capture of the rebellious soldier in the Davar avenue.

The rebellion of Iranian draftees is nothing new and has had several precedents. Sons of people, many of them are looking for the day that they can use of their guns in order to help their compatriots gaining freedom.
23 posted on 09/18/2003 8:24:28 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
US Will Target States Backing Terror

September 17, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
Alex Keto

A Dow Jones Newswires Analysis

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney Wednesday reiterated the Bush administration's policy of using preemptive attacks to destroy threats to the U.S.'s security by saying the U.S. and its allies have a moral duty to target states that back and support terrorism.

However, coincidentally or not, Cheney's tough talk backing preemptive attacks comes amid escalating rhetoric and accusations from White House officials about Syria.

"Prior to 9/11, too many nations tended to draw a distinction between terrorist groups and the states that provided these groups with support, sanctuary and safe harbor. They were unwilling to hold these terror-sponsoring states accountable for their actions," Cheney told the Air Force Association National Convention.

Given the grave threat posed by terrorists groups armed with weapons of mass destruction, Cheney said the U.S. can no longer afford to wait for a threat to emerge and an enemy to strike.

"So in addition to going after the terrorists, we are also taking on states that sponsor terror," Cheney said.

The vice president said that Bush has already ordered the U.S. military to topple two regimes that backed terrorists - Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Cheney made no mention of any other countries that back terrorism, other administration officials haven't been reluctant to provide a list of states sponsoring terrorism and building weapons of mass destruction.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton pointed a finger at four countries in a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday when he said that Iran , North Korea, Syria and Libya are all building weapons and helping terrorists.

Getting more specific, Bolton said Syria has stockpiled thousands of chemical-weapons munitions, including artillery shells and bombs, in addition to backing Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Bolton acknowledged Syria has not supplied any terrorist groups with these weapons or used the weapons itself, but he said the nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction causes great "anxiety" within policy-making circles.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan backed up this assessment by saying Syria's current course of actions is unacceptable, and added that the regime of Bashir Assad needs to amend his ways.

"We're making it very clear that any support or harboring of terrorists is unacceptable, and you will be held accountable. That's why we are continuing to pressure Syria to reverse course, to change its behavior," McClellan said.

McClellan added that it is not just Syria's support for terrorism and its pursuit of chemical and biological weapons that are bothering the U.S.

In addition, the U.S. has demanded Syria seal its borders with Iraq to prevent the infiltration of foreign terrorists, he said.

"These are very real and serious concerns that we have," he added.

Cheney didn't say military action against terror states is inevitable, but he did note that several past strategies the U.S. has employed to defend itself simply don't work against terrorists and their sponsors.

While the U.S. was able to hold the Soviet Union at bay during the Cold War with the threat of massive retaliation, this strategy of deterrence is now on the ash heap of history, Cheney said.

"There is nothing they (the terrorists) value highly enough that we can put at risk to keep them from launching an attack against the United States. So no treaty or arms control agreement or strategy of deterrence will end this conflict," Cheney said.

Another strategy, raising ever thicker and more formidable defenses against a terror strike, likewise will not succeed in the end, Cheney said.

"The problem with terrorist organizations is that even if you build defenses that are 99% successful, the 1% that gets through can still kill you," he said.

Given these realities, Cheney said the only realistic action is a strategy aimed at hitting terrorists where they gather and where they are helped.

"We will be much more secure if we aggressively go after the terrorists - and after the nations and the mechanisms that support them - than if we lay back and wait for them to strike us again here in the United States," the vice president said.

Cheney acknowledged that some key allies are not comfortable with a policy of destroying regimes that back terrorism, but he derided these critics as out of touch with the new strategic reality created by the Sept. 11th attacks in which a small number of terrorists killed thousands.

"Some people - both in this nation and abroad - have questions about that strategy. They suggest that somehow it's wrong for us to strike before an enemy strikes us. But as President Bush said, 'If the threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations, would come too late'," Cheney said.

In any case, Cheney said the U.S. has a moral obligation to pursue the war on terrorism "well into the foreseeable future."

"It is a struggle against evil - against an enemy that rejoices in the murder of innocent, unsuspecting human beings," Cheney said.
24 posted on 09/18/2003 8:27:27 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Iran's nuclear diplomacy

It's all gone dreadfully wrong

Sep 18th 2003 | TEHRAN
From The Economist print edition

Even the European Union has lost patience with Iran

WHEN confronted with difficult questions about its nuclear programme, Iran's strategy has been to play for time. That approach backfired badly last week when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed its collective exasperation with Iran's evasive attitude. Instead of buying more time, Iran now faces a deadline of October 31st to dispel doubts about its nuclear ambitions.

When the 34 other members of the IAEA's governing board adopted a strongly-worded resolution, Iran's representative, Ali Akbar Salehi, walked out of the proceedings in anger. He should not have been surprised. Concern over Iran's nuclear activities has been mounting on both sides of the Atlantic. France and Germany share American suspicions about the nature of Iran's programme, and the European Union has presented a united front to the government in Tehran. But Iran mistakenly pinned its hopes on non-aligned governments blocking an American-backed resolution.

The result was a diplomatic disaster for a country that has made a priority of courting Europe as a buffer against America. Muhammad Khatami's reformist government counted the improved relations with European governments as one of its few successes. But the nuclear issue has exposed the limits of its authority.

Mr Khatami's supporters pleaded with the EU to tread softly to avoid giving ammunition to their hardline opponents in the theocratic system. But there is little sign that the reformists have the final say on the issues that matter to the rest of the world, and the gap between Iran's words and actions could no longer be overlooked.

Even the staunchest advocates of talking to Iran, such as Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary, are forced to question the fruits of “constructive engagement”. Mr Straw has an extra little difficulty: the four successive sets of pot-shots at the British embassy in Tehran. Nobody was injured in the attacks and nobody has been arrested. The government calls them “isolated incidents”, though in every case the shots were fired from a passing motorcycle.

Iran has played its cards badly. Some reformists in parliament point out that it would have been much easier to defuse the nuclear issue months ago, simply by taking the initiative and signing up for short-notice inspections. Now, saving face will be much harder. With France standing side-by-side with the Bush administration, Iran has managed to produce the seemingly unattainable: transatlantic unity.
25 posted on 09/18/2003 10:16:25 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Keep an eye on France in November when the UN Security Council will likely vote on Iran's non-compliance with the IAEA. -- DoctorZin

Our War With France

NY Times
September 18, 2003

It's time we Americans came to terms with something: France is not just our annoying ally. It is not just our jealous rival. France is becoming our enemy.

If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq's transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.

France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its "rightful" place as America's equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs.

Yes, the Bush team's arrogance has sharpened French hostility. Had President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld not been so full of themselves right after America's military victory in Iraq — and instead used that moment, when the French were feeling that maybe they should have taken part, to magnanimously reach out to Paris to join in reconstruction — it might have softened French attitudes. But even that I have doubts about.

What I have no doubts about, though, is that there is no coherent, legitimate Iraqi authority able to assume power in the near term, and trying to force one now would lead to a dangerous internal struggle and delay the building of the democratic institutions Iraq so badly needs. Iraqis know this. France knows this, which is why its original proposal (which it now seems to be backtracking on a bit) could only be malicious.

What is so amazing to me about the French campaign — "Operation America Must Fail" — is that France seems to have given no thought as to how this would affect France. Let me spell it out in simple English: if America is defeated in Iraq by a coalition of Saddamists and Islamists, radical Muslim groups — from Baghdad to the Muslim slums of Paris — will all be energized, and the forces of modernism and tolerance within these Muslim communities will be on the run. To think that France, with its large Muslim minority, where radicals are already gaining strength, would not see its own social fabric affected by this is fanciful.

If France were serious, it would be using its influence within the European Union to assemble an army of 25,000 Eurotroops, and a $5 billion reconstruction package, and then saying to the Bush team: Here, we're sincere about helping to rebuild Iraq, but now we want a real seat at the management table. Instead, the French have put out an ill-conceived proposal, just to show that they can be different, without any promise that even if America said yes Paris would make a meaningful contribution.

But then France has never been interested in promoting democracy in the modern Arab world, which is why its pose as the new protector of Iraqi representative government — after being so content with Saddam's one-man rule — is so patently cynical.

Clearly, not all E.U. countries are comfortable with this French mischief, yet many are going along for the ride. It's stunning to me that the E.U., misled by France, could let itself be written out of the most important political development project in modern Middle East history. The whole tone and direction of the Arab-Muslim world, which is right on Europe's doorstep, will be affected by the outcome in Iraq. It would be as if America said it did not care what happened in Mexico because it was mad at Spain.

Says John Chipman, director of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies: "What the Europeans are saying about Iraq is that this is our backyard, we're not going to let you meddle in it, but we're not going to tend it ourselves."

But what's most sad is that France is right — America will not be as effective or legitimate in its efforts to rebuild Iraq without French help. Having France working with us in Iraq, rather than against us in the world, would be so beneficial for both nations and for the Arabs' future. Too bad this French government has other priorities.
30 posted on 09/18/2003 12:17:58 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
"Iran Can Arm Missiles with Biological Warheads"

September 19, 2003
Nathan Guttman

WASHINGTON - Iran has the capability of arming ballistic missiles with biological warheads, Paula DeSutter, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, told Congress on Wednesday.

This is the first time that an official claim of Iran's ability to launch biological warheads has been made.

Intelligence sources said that such an ability indicates sophisticated technological capabilities, since biological warheads are considered much harder to use than other types. Among other problems, the structure of the warhead differs from that of a conventional one, to facilitate the dispersal of the biological material.

DeSutter's testimony was delivered at a joint session that included Israeli Knesset members as well as members of both houses of Congress. The meeting, part of an ongoing initiative to hold periodic joint sessions of the Congress and Knesset, was attended by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressmen Jane Harman (D-CA) and Curt Weldon (R-PA). The Israeli representatives were four members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee: Chairman Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Omri Sharon (Likud), Haim Ramon (Labor) and Ephraim Sneh (Labor).

DeSutter told the committee that Iran is in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and has been working to acquire secretly nonconventional weapons of all kinds. She said that Iran's nuclear program is a genuine threat to both the Middle East and the U.S., since the Iranians are constantly working to expand the range of their missiles. America's current strategy for dealing with the problem is to push for a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency, formally declaring Iran in violation of the NPT, she added.

Other experts warned the meeting that if Iran's efforts continue unchecked, its nuclear capabilities could outstrip those of North Korea.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia yesterday denied a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper stating that the kingdom was considering acquiring nuclear weapons. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not considering acquiring a nuclear bomb or nuclear weapons of any kind," the Saudi Embassy in London said in a statement. "There is no atomic energy program in any part of the kingdom and neither is one being considered."
34 posted on 09/18/2003 9:25:56 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Accused of Role in Iraq Bombings

September 19, 2003
Patrick Bishop

America's pro-consul in Baghdad gave warning yesterday that Iran should halt its plots to destabilise Iraq, in a further hardening of American attitudes towards its long-time adversary.

Ambassador Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority and effectively Iraq's civilian ruler, said that Iran, which has been watching the American occupation of its neighbour with mounting alarm, "continues to meddle in various ways in Iraq's internal affairs".

In an interview with The Telegraph he claimed that Iranian intelligence agents and government officials were working to destabilise the reconstruction process. Their activities included "support for various people, some of whom have taken violent action against both Iraqis and against the coalition".

Asked whether Iranians were suspected of possible involvement in shooting and bomb attacks, he replied: "There's certainly some indication of that, yes."

Three American soldiers were killed yesterday in an ambush on a busy road near Khaldiya, west of Baghdad. Their vehicles were damaged by a mine and then gunmen fired on survivors. As well as daily attacks on coalition forces a devastating series of bombings aimed at civilians have rocked Iraq in recent weeks and killed about 150 people.

Teheran is already under pressure because of evidence that it may be developing nuclear weapons and has until the end of October to prove its innocence to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr Bremer's accusations against Iran will dismay President Mohammed Khatami, whose attempts at reform have been hobbled by the Shia religious conservative establishment.

Mr Khatami recently told King Abdullah of Jordan that he was alarmed at the prospect of conflict between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq and willing to do what he could to prevent trouble.

I am shocked. -- DoctorZin
35 posted on 09/18/2003 9:29:23 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Let send Jimmy Carter over there, he'll know what to say to
those pesky Iranians.
37 posted on 09/18/2003 9:43:49 PM PDT by RJBJR
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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”

42 posted on 09/19/2003 12:01:30 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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