Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush is the real threat

The Guardian:

Tony Benn

Wednesday August 31, 2005

Now that the US president has announced that he has not ruled out an attack on Iran, if it does not abandon its nuclear programme, the Middle East faces a crisis that could dwarf even the dangers arising from the war in Iraq.

Even a conventional weapon fired at a nuclear research centre - whether or not a bomb was being made there - would almost certainly release radioactivity into the atmosphere, with consequences seen worldwide as a mini-Hiroshima. We would be told that it had been done to uphold the principles of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) - an argument that does not stand up to a moment's examination.

The moral and legal basis of the NPT convention, which the International Atomic Energy Agency is there to uphold, was based on the agreement of non-nuclear nations not to acquire nuclear weapons if nuclear powers undertook not to extend nuclear arsenals and negotiate to secure their abolition.

Since then, the Americans have launched a programme that would allow them to use nuclear weapons in space, nuclear bunker-busting bombs are being developed, and depleted uranium has been used in Iraq - all of which are clear breaches of the NPT. Israel, which has a massive nuclear weapons programme, is accepted as a close ally of the US, which still arms and funds it.

Even those who are opposed, as I am, to nuclear weapons in every country including Iran, North Korea, Britain and the US, accept that nuclear power for electricity generation need not necessarily lead to the acquisition of the bomb.

Indeed, many years ago, when the shah - who had been put on the throne by the US - was in power in Iran, enormous pressure was put on me, as secretary of state for energy, to agree to sell nuclear power stations to him. That pressure came from the Atomic Energy Authority, in conjunction with Westinghouse, who were anxious to promote their own design of reactor.

It is easy to understand why president Bush might see the bombing of Iran as a way to regain some of the political credibility he has lost as a result of the growing hostility in America to the Iraq war due to the heavy casualties suffered by US forces there .

It is inconceivable that the White House can be contemplating an invasion of Iran, and what must be intended is a US airstrike, or airstrikes, on Iranian nuclear installations, comparable to Israel's bombing of Iraq in 1981. Israel has publicly hinted that it might do the same again to prevent Iran developing nuclear nuclear weapons.

Such an attack, whether by the US or Israel, would be in breach of the UN Charter, as was the invasion of Iraq. But neither Bush, Sharon nor Blair would take any notice of that.

Some influential Americans appear to be convinced that the US will attack Iran.

Whether they are right or not, the build-up to a new war is taking exactly the same form as it did in 2002. First we are being told that Iran poses a military threat, because it may be developing nuclear weapons. We are assured that the President is hoping that diplomacy might succeed through the European negotiations which have been in progress for some months.

This is just what we were told when Hans Blix was in Baghdad talking to Saddam on behalf of the UN, but we now know, from a Downing Street memorandum leaked some months ago, that the decision to invade had been taken long before that.

That may be the position now, and I fear that if a US attack does take place, the prime minister will give it his full support. And one of his reasons for doing so will be the same as in Iraq: namely the fear that, if he alienates Bush, Britain's so-called independent deterrent might be taken away. For, as I also learned when I was energy secretary, Britain is entirely dependent on the US for the supply of our Trident warheads and associated technology. They cannot even be targeted unless the US switches on its global satellite system.

Therefore Britain could be assisting America to commit an act of aggression under the UN Charter, which could risk a major nuclear disaster, and doing so supposedly to prevent nuclear proliferation, with the real motive of making it possible for us to continue to break the NPT in alliance with America.

The irony is that we might be told that Britain must support Bush, yet again, because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, thus allowing him to kill even more innocent civilians.

· Tony Benn will be talking about War; Religion and politics; and Democracy, at the Shaw Theatre in London on September 7, 8 and 9

Iran denies envoy delivered tough secret message from Bush

Iran Focus:

London, Aug. 31 - Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied reports that United States President George W. Bush had written a letter to Iranian leaders threatening them with tough action if Iran did not back down from its threatening stance on its suspected nuclear weapons program.

“A knowledgeable source in the Foreign Ministry denied reports by certain Arabic-language dailies, which said that Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed [Sabah] Al-Salem Al-Sabah had brought a message from the United States in his trip to Iran”, the official IRNA news agency said.

“This news had no truth in it and is baseless”, the Foreign Ministry official told the news agency.

The Dubai-based daily al-Khaleej on Monday quoted knowledgeable Kuwaiti officials as saying that the Persian Gulf state’s Foreign Minister had delivered a message from President George W. Bush to the Iranian leadership, urging the Islamic Republic to return to the negotiation table so as to avoid instability and insecurity in the region. Bush warned Iran’s leaders of serious consequences if they continued their intransigent stance, the daily wrote.

During his 24-hour visit to Tehran, the Kuwaiti foreign minister met separately Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. On his return to Kuwait, he praised Rafsanjani, who was defeated by Ahmadinejad in the recent presidential elections amid acrimonious charges of widespread rigging.

“Mr. Rafsanjani expressed surprise that our boundary disagreement with Iran has not been resolved, although our talks began when he was president”, Al-Sabah told the Kuwaiti press.

Reports of a stern warning to Iran’s leaders from President Bush also appeared simultaneously on a Persian-language website close to allies of ex-President Mohammad Khatami.

The Dubai-based Al-Khaleej wrote, “For roughly the past two months, Kuwait, through political meetings and contacts, has been trying to act as an unofficial and unannounced go-between between Iran and the United States and also between Iran and European countries, and has become more active in recent times”.

The Persian Gulf daily wrote that the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister had met jointly with the ambassadors of the European trio – Britain, France, and Germany – and held a separate meeting with the U.S. ambassador to UAE prior to his trip to Tehran.

Iran’s leader urges new cabinet to fight “oppressive World Order”

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 30 – Iran’s Supreme Leader told the country’s newly-installed hard-line president and cabinet on Tuesday that one of the main tasks of the new government is to “wage a wise, professional and courageous struggle against the various aspects of the oppressive World Order”, the state-owned news agency FARS reported.

In stinging remarks clearly aimed at the United States and its allies, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had “external opponents and adversaries, such as the dominating world powers, global tyrants, advocates of secularism, and international capitalists”.

“But more important than these foes are the internal enemies, who must be kept on a tight leash, so that the correct path and direction that has now been adopted do not become diverted”, Khamenei said, without elaborating who these enemies were.

“Ignore those who accuse you of such things as being fanatics”, Khamenei told members of a cabinet dominated by former Revolutionary Guards commanders and secret police officials. “Those who accuse the new government of fanaticism are acting more like fanatics, because they are fanatical in their defence of outdated and obsolete Western ideas and talks”.

The Supreme Leader praised Ahmadinejad for choosing justice as his campaign slogan and said, “When other good slogans such as progress and freedom and popular rule became dominant, justice faded in comparison, whereas no idea or slogan should overshadow justice”.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the government must not become passive in the face of “the prevailing political and economic domination of the world, but must confront the present situation with an active and dynamic approach”.

Iranian Americans protest Iran president's September visit to UN

Iran Focus:

Tue. 30 Aug 2005 Associated Press

NEW YORK - Iranian Americans opposed to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday denounced his upcoming visit to the United Nations, citing the new leader's alleged ties to terrorist activities abroad and repressive policies at home.

"He's a terrorist and should not be allowed in this country. What kind of message is that giving for him to come here right after the September 11 anniversary," Shirin Nariman, spokeswoman for the NY Committee against Ahmadinejad (NYCA), said at a press briefing Tuesday.

The briefing was organized by the NYCA to announce its campaign against Ahmadinejad's plan to address the annual U.N. General Assembly session in September.

The NYCA, which maintains that Ahmadinejad has masterminded terrorist activities and assasinations of Iranian dissidents abroad, has the support of about 40 Iranian-American organizations around the United States, Nariman said.

The group further claims that Ahmadinejad as a former student leader during Iran's Islamic Revolution in the 1970s led the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Although six former hostages have said that they recognize the new president from news photographs, a review by U.S. investigators has turned up no conclusive evidence that Ahmadinejad was part of the core group of hostage takers who held Americans for 444 days.

Nariman was joined by other speakers representing Iranian communities in New York, Washington, D.C. and Florida, as well as Americans who spoke in support of the campaign.

Bahman Badiee of the Iranian Society of South Florida called on the United States and the United Nations to block Ahmadinejad's visit.

"It's time for the governments of Europe and the United States to heed the call of the Iranian people who aspire to an end to the rule of tyranny," he said.

Echoing other speakers' claims that Ahmadinejad did not represent the majority of the Iranian people and held no popular legitimacy, he said "Iran's UN seat belongs to the Iranian nation, and not to Tehran's terrorist president and his delegation."

Calls to Iran's mission to the United Nations on Tuesday were not immediately returned.

Ahmadinejad, the former mayor of Tehran, defeated more reform-minded candidates in a presidential contest in June.

The United States has criticized the election as undemocratic. U.S. President George W. Bush has said Ahmadinejad would receive a U.S. visa to attend the United Nations General Assembly in September.

As the host nation for the United Nations, which is headquartered in New York, the United States is obligated under U.N. rules to approve visas to foreign leaders regardless of their relations with the United States.

"We have an agreement with the United Nations to allow people to come to meet, and I suspect he will be here to meet at the United Nations," Bush said earlier this month.


United We Stand International Candlelight Vigil Public Invitation On September 11 To Remember Victims of All Human Tragedies and Hope For Peace and FREE Societies To: The Iranian public, American public and all freedom-loving compatriots throughout the world!

We, the undersigned, invite the Iranian public and citizens throughout the world to unite in a “United We Stand” International Candlelight Vigil on September 11, as a day of remembrance for victims of all human tragedies and loss. Let this be a day when we all unite, irrespective of cultural, religious and political differences in a united struggle for peace, free societies and secular democracies.

In order to increase humanities awareness and unity on every September 11th as it gets dark at night, please turn off every light in your home, step outside, get out of your car, or leave your office and light a candle in memory of the over 3000 victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks, as well as in remembrance of all victims of terrorism, wars and tyrannies of the past 60 years.

It is imperative that as citizens of the world we urge all democratic governments to learn from our history so that we may avoid future mistakes. The September 11th WTC terrorist attack was a tragedy, but it was also an opportunity to define a better future world order based on ethics, morale values, free society, human freedom and peace.

1,368 years ago, a great collection of books was kept in the Persian empire's Library at Tees-fun, which was the second biggest center of art, literature, and science in the world. This vast collection of books was set ablaze and destroyed by fundamental Islamist invaders, possibly setting the world's clock back by at least 400 years. The massive libraries so carefully collected by the Sassanian Empire scattered in the capricious winds of the fundamental Islamist edict:“If the books herein are in accord with Islam, then we don't need them. If the books herein are not in accord with Islam, then they are kafir (of the infidel).”

The Islamist Clerical Terrorist Regime in control of Iran can take 70 million Iranian citizens hostage, and can torture and execute over 120,000 Iranian political prisoners, but they cannot shake the immortal foundation and spirit of Cyrus The Great, the founder of First Declaration of Human Rights. As humanity rejected slavery and European colonialism, sending those broken concepts to the dustbin of history, the dictatorial nature and tyranny of Islamist Terror Masters will be rejected everywhere and must be replaced with free societies and secular democracies.

To stay silent and remain indifferent in the face of these barbaric atrocities and danger is indeed a sin for the believers and a cowardly act for the non-believers.

"Human beings are all members of one body.

They are created from the same essence.

When one member is in pain,

The others cannot rest.

If you do not care about the pain of others,

You are not worthy of being called a human."

(A quote from a renowned Persian Poet, Saadi Shirazi 12th to 13th century AD)

The goals, demands and beliefs of the signatories from around planet Earth are summarized in the following points:

1. Complete separation of religion from the state in every country of the world.

2. The “War On Terror” is UNWINNABLE and the world peace can not be achieved as long as the Unelected Islamists Terror and Torture Masters are in power in Iran. The terror state and fear society can not create stability.

3. Complete and thorough acceptance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

4. A free, open and democratic referendum after regime change in Iran that is monitored by independent and objective NGOs from countries throughout the world.

5. The territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Iran.


The Undersigned

Armed clash in western Tehran


Aug 30, 2005, 13:20 An armed clash erupted, late afternoon, in Emamzadeh-Hassan area located in Greater Tehran.

Islamic republic regime forces closed all perimeters and were seen trying to storm a residence occupied by what was qualified as 'terrorists'.

Noise of shoot out were heard for more than half an hour as armed elements opposed fiercely militiamen's attack. Several Bassij and plainclothes agents were seen wounded during the action.

The theocratic regime uses labels, such as, bandit, hooligan, spy, terrorist, rapist or drug addict in order to qualify its armed opponents. Such policy helps its European and Asian partners in order to justify their economic collaboration with an unpopular regime.

Two militiamen stabbed to death


Aug 30, 2005, 18:39 Two members of the Bassij paramilitary force were stabbed to death yesterday in the Iranian Capital. Each of the two murders took place separately and in different areas of the Greater Tehran.

Attacks against the Islamic regime's symbols of power and security agents are in constant raise as more and more Iranians are believing that the clerics won't step down from political power by peaceful means.

Bassij members are of the most unpopular and hated elements of the theocratic regime's security forces.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Militia Intelligence officer wounded in ambush


Aug 29, 2005, 16:11

An Intelligence officer was seriously wounded, late Sunday, in an ambush by unidentified assailants in Tehran.

The later who's believed to be a high rank members of the Pasdaran Corp. (Revolutionary Guards) Intelligence Dept. has been hospitalized at the Baghiatollah Hospital belonging to the guards.

Attacks against the Islamic republic regime's symbols of power or agents are in constant raise as more and more Iranians believe that the clerics won't step down from power by democratic means.

Several killed in another prison riot


Aug 30, 2005

Several prisoners have been killed in another prison riot which has happened in the central province of Fars according to some official sources of the Islamic regime.

The official number of deaths is of seven among inmates.

The killing has resulted to the transfer of the notorious Fars province's prisons to the Oil City of Abadan according to the same sources. They add that the transfer had generated another riot in Abadan prison. SMCCDI had reported the report about this deadly riot on August 11th.

The later is known for issuing orders having resulted in amputation of some inmates' hands based on the backwarded and barbarian Sharia law.

Chirac urges mullahs of Iran to reconsider

Aug 29, 2005

French President Jacques Chirac stepped up pressure on Iran on Monday to reconsider a European Union offer of incentives in return for a suspension of sensitive nuclear work.

The U.N. Security Council would have to examine the issue if Iran did not cooperate, Chirac said, pressing Tehran to abandon atomic work that both the EU and the United States suspect is a preliminary step towards making nuclear weapons.

"I invite the Iranian authorities to make the choice of cooperation and trust by genuinely looking at this offer and by reverting to their commitments to suspend activities linked to the production of fissile materials," Chirac said in a speech.

Iran rejected the offer earlier this month and resumed some nuclear work in breach of a promise to freeze such activities while talks lasted, prompting the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany to call off a negotiating meeting with the Iranians.

The move to call off the talks, which were envisaged as part of the EU offer, marked a breakdown in two years of negotiations between the EU trio and Iran over its nuclear programme.

Frustrated by Iran resuming uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant earlier this month, the EU is now preparing the road to possible sanctions.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Jihadism's roots in political Islam

International Herald Tribune:

Bassam Tibi International Herald Tribune


GÖTTINGEN, Germany After any terrorist attack by jihadists - from the Sept. 11 attacks to those in Bali in 2002, Madrid in 2004 and London in July - two contradictory views are usually heard. Some people claim that such religiously legitimated terror has its roots in Islam; others, principally Muslims and politically correct Westerners, say such terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

The truth can only be reached by putting aside both extreme views and by recognizing the difference between Islam, the religion, and Islamism, the religious-political ideology. Although jihadism may not be Islamic, it is based on the ideology of Islamism, which has emerged from the politicization of Islam in the current war of ideas.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of recognizing this truth. Jihadism will continue to be with us for decades to come, as long as the movement related to it within Islamic civilization continues to thrive and to disseminate its deadly ideas.

Jihadists see themselves as non-state actors waging an irregular war against "kafirun," or unbelievers. They see their struggle as a just war legitimated by a religious, political and military interpretation of the Islamic concept of jihad.

Jihadism's relation to Islamism can be stated in a nutshell: Jihadists read the classical doctrine of jihad in a new mind while reinventing Islamic tradition.

Although the Koran allows Muslims to resort to "qital" (physical fighting) for the benefit of Islam, this is clearly for reasons other than terrorism, because the Koran allows qital only under strict rules, while terrorism, by definition, is a war without rules. The new interpretation of jihad adds an "ism" to it, jihad becoming jihadism (jihadiyya), an irregular war that is a variety of modern terrorism.

It is wrong and even deceitful to argue that jihadism has nothing to do with Islam, because the jihadists believe that they are acting as "true Islamic believers" and learn the Islamist mind-set in mosques and Islamic schools, including those of the Islamic diaspora in Europe.

It follows that the debate over whether these terrorists are "Islamic" or "un-Islamic" is meaningless. The fact is that jihadism is a new direction in Islamic civilization, an expression of the contemporary "revolt against the West" that enjoys tremendous popularity in the ongoing war of ideas. In order to combat the deadly idea of jihadism successfully, it is necessary to seek Muslim cooperation to determine who the jihadists are, rather than engaging in empty arguments.

The jihadists are followers of the ideas of Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, who laid the foundations of Islamism as a political and military interpretation of Islam.

Islamism aims not only to purify Islam but also to establish the "Nizam Islami," or Islamic order.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, some commentators said that jihadists were now targeting the West because they were "fighting somebody else's war." This is utterly wrong. The intellectual father of jihadist Islamism, Sayyid Qutb, who was executed in Cairo in 1966, made the message crystal clear: Jihadism is a "permanent Islamic world revolution" aimed at decentering the West in order to establish "Hakimiyyat Allah," or God's rule, on a global scale.

Early Islamists honored Qutb's distinction between two steps, the local and the global, in the jihadist strategy: First topple secular regimes at home, and then move on to global jihad. What Al Qaeda has done is not to fight somebody else's war, but rather to confuse the two steps in the jihadist strategy. This confusion continued to manifest itself in the terrorist attacks in Madrid and in London, because of the existence of a Muslim diaspora in Europe that has its own problems.

What can be done to counter jihadism? As a Muslim immigrant living in Europe, I wholeheartedly reject the idea of a "clash of civilizations." But it would be naïve to overlook the reality of an ongoing "war of ideas" - a struggle between global jihad and democratic peace as competing directions for the 21st century.

Instead of giving in to talk of a "clash of civilizations," what is needed is an alliance between Western supporters of democracy and enlightened Muslims against jihadist Islamists.

It is important to realize, however, that democracy is a political culture and not simply a procedure. Shiite clerics in Iraq, for example, have failed to recognize this - and as a result they are unable to provide an alternative to Sunni jihadism.

(Bassam Tibi is a professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and a professor-at-large at Cornell University. He is the author of "Islam between Culture and Politics." )

Hundreds arrested in northern Iran province

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 29 – Iran’s State Security Forces have arrested 442 “trouble-makers” in the coastal province of Gilan, northern Iran, according to the provincial police press office.

The arrests come after Iranian authorities announced that they had launched a new crackdown to root out dissent in society. “These arrests were carried out with the support of SSF commanders in towns in this province in the framework of a new operational plan called ‘Zafar’ (victory) to fight and contain disorder”, the SSF press office said.

Authorities routinely refer to anti-government activists as trouble-makers.

Iran’s new deputy state broadcasting chief appointed

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 29 – Iran appointed on Sunday a new deputy chief for state broadcasting, a state-run news agency reported.

Abdolreza Rahmani was appointed as the deputy head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) by its current chief Seyyed Ezatollah Zarqami.

The influential position includes control over state television and radio broadcasts.

Zarqami also appointed Morteza Mirbagheri as the organisation’s deputy chief for television broadcasts and promoted Ali Agha Mohammadi to the position of chief advisor and head of the group of counsellors. Agha Mohammadi is also the spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council, the country’s highest decision-making body for security-related issues.

Until 2004 IRIB was headed for ten years by Ali Larijani who now heads the Supreme National Security Council.

Iran hostage-takers’ leader becomes head of political group

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 28 – A once firebrand Shiite cleric who acted as the leader of radical Islamist students who seized the United States embassy in Tehran in 1979 was appointed on Sunday to head the Militant Clerics Association.

The reclusive Mohammad Moussavi Khoeiniha was elected unanimously by members of the group, which is exclusively made up of Shiite clergymen, as its new secretary-general.

The Militant Clerics Association was formed in 1987, when two dozen Shiite clerics broke away from the Association of Militant Clergy, accusing the latter of failing to follow the radical policies advocated by Ayatollah Khomeini. The breakaway group’s principal figures included Mohammad Khatami and Mehdi Karrubi. Khatami became President in 1997 and Karrubi became Speaker of Iran’s parliament.

Sunday’s meeting was chaired by Khatami.

Khoeiniha was the leader of the group “Students Following the Line of the Imam” which led the 1979 takeover of the United States embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

In the introduction to an interview with Khoeyniha in July 2000, Time wrote, “Twenty years ago, Seyed Mohammed Mousavi Khoeiniha gave the go-ahead for the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by militant Islamic students. The resulting hostage crisis went on to define the Islamic Revolution, and Khoeiniha's influence helped consolidate the clerical rule that followed the Shah's overthrow in 1979”.

Khoeiniha was Iran’s Chief Revolutionary Prosecutor in 1988, when thousands of political prisoners were massacred in the country’s prisons.

After losing an internal power struggle within the clerical leadership, Khoeiniha shed his firebrand image and, like other members of the Militant Clerics Association, became self-styled moderates.

Iran: New police intelligence chief appointed

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 28 – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed a Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General as the new intelligence chief for the country’s State Security Forces on Sunday.

In a decree Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Mohammad-Kazem Moazzenian as the head of the Intelligence Protection Organisation of the State Security Forces.

Moazzenian replaces Hojjatoleslam Gholam-Hossein Ramezani.In July, Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, a veteran paramilitary commander with a reputation for ruthlessness, as the head of the SSF, in a move that was widely regarded as one aiming to place the law enforcement forces under the control of the Revolutionary Guards.

Moghaddam was the number two in the paramilitary Bassij and commander of the force in Greater Tehran. He is among the top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and has also been a long-time ally of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Australia faces refugee legal bid


Sunday, 28 August 2005

By Red Harrison

BBC News, Sydney

An Iranian boy is due to begin court action against the Australian government on Monday, in a move that will make legal history in Australia.

Ten-year-old Shayan Bedrai claims his time in refugee detention camps caused catastrophic mental health problems.

He is the first refugee to seek compensation for the experience of being detained in Australia.

Nearly 4,000 children have been held in Australia's refugee detention camps in the past five years.

Shayan's lawyers say this case is likely to be the first of many.


The Bedrai family arrived among a boatload of illegal immigrants in early 2000, when Shayan was five.

Authorities put the family behind the razor-wire fences of a remote detention camp in the outback.

According to his lawyers, Shayan saw riots broken up with tear gas and water cannons, watched as people tried to commit suicide and was exposed to hunger strikes at the camp.

He endured conditions that no child nor human being should be expected to cope with, his lawyers say.

His parents are seeking compensation on his behalf.

They say Shayan has a condition which leaves him sitting in silence for days, refusing to eat or drink, and he frequently needs hospital treatment to survive.

Three years ago, the Australian Human Rights Commission ruled that Shayan's detention was unjust.

The body recommended the government pay compensation and the costs of psychiatric treatment - but the government declined.

Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

The Trumpet:

By Gerald Flurry

This headline first appeared in the Trumpet in December 1994. Recent events make this even more of a possibility.

The king of the north and the king of the south are two powers prophesied to clash in this end time. It is vital that we understand who they are.

“AND AT THE TIME OF THE END shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over” (Dan. 11:40). Both powers are rising quickly on the world scene right now. This clash WILL SHAKE THE WORLD AS NEVER BEFORE! And that is the good news. The bad news is, it will lead to World War III—UNLESS WE HEED GOD'S PROPHECY AND REPENT!

Islamic extremism is going to be the king of the south. You need to understand why.

The Muslims of the world are comprised of a population second only to that of China. They inhabit a geographic area larger than Russia. The Islamic world also controls much of the world’s oil resources.

The stage is being set for an Islamic group of nations, almost certainly to be led by Iran as the prophesied king of the south, to push at the king of the north, the European Union. Iran has a foreign policy with a lot of “push.” And since the end of their war with Iraq in 1988, Iran has accumulated a massive arsenal of military weapons to back up its aggressive foreign policy.

Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture, Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.

Iran’s Nuclear Power

Iran has long sought to become the undisputed leader in the region, largely through aggressive and ambitious military development.

Iran’s weapons program is of enormous concern to the U.S. It isn’t only former Soviet weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material that Iran is getting its hands on—it has also actively recruited former Soviet atomic scientists. Communist China has also supplied the Iranians with nuclear technology.

It is clear Iran wants its own production capability. Under the guise of creating a civilian energy program, it is pushing to bring home whole facilities like uranium-conversion facilities—spending far more annually on nuclear hardware than would be required for mere domestic energy production. It now has two nuclear power plants. Iranian diplomats state that they were built only for energy. But nobody believes that, since their country is glutted with oil.

All this is in addition to nuclear weapons that Iran already has, thanks to the Islamic former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.

Notice this quote from the European newspaper over a decade ago, in a front page article titled “Iran Has N-Bomb”: “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing’ from the newly independent republic of Kazakhstan, formerly part of the Soviet Union.” This article said the Russians sent a top-secret report to the cia disclosing that several nuclear warheads vanished from a just-closed nuclear base in Kazakhstan. “Two of the nuclear weapons were smuggled across the border from Kazakhstan into Iran last year and are now under the control of Reza Amrollahi, the head of the Iranian Organization for Atomic Energy. The fact that Amrollahi is also in charge of recruiting former Soviet atomic scientists has sharpened the West’s anxiety over Iran’s efforts to build an Islamic bomb” (May 7, 1992).

But nuclear capability is just the capstone of a comprehensive Iranian military buildup.

As far back as 1994, U.S.News & World Report gave some alarming statistics as to just how strong Iran’s military was becoming (emphasis mine): “Iran has been vigorously rearming its regular forces as well, mainly with help from Russia. The Rafsanjani government has spent up to $4 billion a year for the past five years on everything from artillery, tanks and advanced sea mines to missiles and Russian jets. Iran has even bought two attack submarines from Russia, and a third is said to be on the way. With some 1,200 tanks, 2,300 artillery pieces, 100 attack helicopters, two dozen Scud and Chinese css-8 cruise missiles, and 16 fighter and ground attack squadrons, THE IRANIAN MILITARY IS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST IN THE REGION. ‘They are rebuilding their forces in a very calculated way,’ says Zeev Eytan of Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies and co-editor of the Middle East Military Balance. ‘They are spending money carefully and buying GOOD EQUIPMENT’” (Nov. 14).

These are the actions of a country intent on becoming the superpower of the Middle East! They weren’t just buying cheap weapons.

Today, regionally speaking, Iran trails only Egypt in the size of its army (11 million men fit for military service, with over 800,000 more reaching military age annually), but it outranks Egypt in military expenditures, which, since that 1994 U.S. News article was published, have climbed toward $9.7 billion a year.

Iran also has several thousand tons of chemical agents stockpiled, including blister, blood and choking agents. According to testimony by Leonard Spector before the House International Relations Committee in 1996, it is capable of producing an additional thousand tons of these agents every year. And in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention it signed, Iran has had a biological warfare program for two decades, beginning back during the Iran-Iraq war.

For delivery of these deadly materials, Iran has artillery mortars, rockets, aerial bombs and Scud warheads—many also delivered from former Soviet countries, China and North Korea. Iran is now working hard to become self-sufficient in its missile production. In July 2000, Iran announced a successful test of its own Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of over 800 miles. Contacts within the Iranian regime claimed that the Shahab-4, with a range of 1,300 miles, was successfully tested in the summer of 2002. This missile uses entirely Russian technology.

In September 2000, Robert Walpole, a National Intelligence Council official, told the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on proliferation that “The probability that a missile with a weapon of mass destruction would be used against U.S. forces or interests [or Europe’s, I might add] is higher today than during most of the Cold War, and will continue to grow.”

In other words, in the hands of a country like Iran, this terrifying arsenal won’t sit idle for long. Their history shows that they are adept at using those means at their disposal to meet their objectives.

The Root of Terrorism

The Iraq campaign was the latest round in America’s global war on terrorism. But where did all of this world terrorism begin? Iraq is a dangerous part of the equation, but not the head of the snake.

We must go back in history to see terrorism’s roots.

When the Shah of Iran led the country, he was a strong ally of America. But our liberal press and politicians thought he was too undemocratic. So they helped to drive him from power. As he was falling, America gave him little or no support.

Then, in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah. For 10 years, until he died, Khomeini established Iran as the world’s number-one sponsor of terrorism. He was succeeded by Hashemi Rafsanjani, who intensified Iran’s worldwide network of terrorism.

Back in 1994, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher called Iran “THE WORLD'S MOST SIGNIFICANT STATE SPONSOR OF TERRORISM.” America has known for years who “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism” is. But we lack the will to deal with Iran. State-sponsored terrorism became deeply entrenched in the 1990s, and our leaders did almost nothing to combat it.

We must understand how this relates to the present situation in Iraq. History shows how Islamic extremism can dramatically change the politics within a country, and it gives us an indication of the kind of power Iran could be very close to achieving.

Let’s look at Egypt, where Islamic extremism—which spawns terrorism—is gaining power at a frightening pace. Daniel 11:42 indicates that Egypt will be allied with the king of the south. This prophecy indicates we are about to see a radical change in Egyptian politics! That change is already well under way.

Radical Changes in Egypt

It is interesting that God’s end-time apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, visited with two Egyptian presidents, Anwar el-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. Egypt received a strong warning from God.

In 1981, Mike Wallace of the television program 60 Minutes interviewed Ayatollah Khomenei. He told the ayatollah that Anwar Sadat had said he was a “lunatic.”

Almost immediately afterward, President Sadat was assassinated!

That is the kind of power the leader of radical Islam has! America and the world allowed this evil power to change history. We didn’t have the will to stop such madness.

When the Sadat assassination occurred, Mr. Armstrong said it was a turning point in Middle East history! And that was almost an understatement. But virtually nobody in the media saw—or they refused to see—what A WORLD-CHANGING EVENT that was!

Iran’s terrorist network was working frighteningly well.

Mr. Sadat was in the process of changing the Middle East for the good of the world. He took a stand against his own people and the Arab world to make peace with Israel. He proved to be a truly great man. If the U.S. and Britain had shown his courage, they would have dealt with Iran then. Because of their weakness, the Middle East began to look to the king of terror—the king of the south—for leadership. It all happened because of American weakness.

Islamic radicals are very effective in assassinating top leaders. They probably also assassinated the speaker of Egypt’s parliament, Rifaat al-Mahgoub (the country’s second-ranking official at the time), in 1990. Gunmen on motorcycles sprayed his chauffeured sedan with automatic rifle fire. They likely were behind the killing of Algeria’s President Mohammed Boudiaf in 1992. These are just a few examples of how Islamic extremism can influence Mideast politics.

President Mubarak could be assassinated just as Anwar el-Sadat was. This could radically change Egyptian politics, as happened in Iran in 1979. In fact, the Bible indicates that could happen: “He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Dan. 11:42). The king of the north will destroy the king of the south—and Egypt. Why Egypt? Is it because Egypt is allied with the king of the south? Does that mean radical Islam will soon control or direct Egyptian politics? Bible prophecy answers yes. (Here Egypt is mentioned apart from the king of the south. This proves that Egypt is not the king of the south, although anciently it was, in type.)

Today, Egypt is the most stable country in the Arab world. It is viewed as the leader of the more moderate Arabs. But recently, Egypt has become much more friendly to Iran and more distant from Israel and the West. That happened after the death of Sadat and other violent terrorist acts committed against Egypt. In the past, Egyptian politics have been changed radically by Middle East assassinations and other violent acts directed by Iran. Such acts can rapidly change the minds of people. Revolutions often result. However it happens, Egypt will also become the enemy of the king of the north.

If radicals are willing to go to such extremes to influence a country like Egypt, what might they try to do in the weakened state of Iraq? How far would Iran be willing to go to secure the oil wealth of its neighbor in pursuit of its regional ambitions?

Supporting Terrorism

While President Bush considers Iran part of an “axis of evil,” most nations think differently. They are trading freely with Iran, making agreements and business deals. There is a lot of talk about how moderate the Iranian people are. That is why, even though Iran has committed worse crimes than Iraq, America’s policy has been much more lenient toward that country.

But what are Iran’s real fruits? After all, Iran is a theocratic republic. That means the religious leaders hold ultimate power. Under Iranian law, the ayatollah (now Khamenei, Khomenei’s successor) can override the president on any action he wishes. The 12-member clerical Guardian Council can scrap any decision of the elected parliament. Islamic leaders head the revolutionary court, the Tehran Justice Department and the special court for the clergy.

The fruits of the conservative clergy are those of condemnation of the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel, stifling political control (i.e. banning liberal candidates by the hundreds from supposedly “democratic” elections), censorship (banning books and closing down errant newspapers), floggings and executions, and hugely unsuccessful domestic economic and social policy.

Iran talks as though it is in the vanguard against terrorism. The terrible irony is, Iran’s definition of “terrorism” is vastly different from the U.S.’s. And not just among conservatives—even President Mohammad Khatami has said, “Supporting peoples who fight for their land is not, in my opinion, terrorism” (National Interest, Spring 2000). While out of one side of its mouth Iran condemns terrorism, it continues to support terror groups in Israel, Lebanon and Syria that sabotage peace and destabilize the region!

This is documented, proven fact. The evidence is available to everyone. Iran has vast links to regional terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. Iran supports terrorism without qualms—morally, ideologically and economically.

Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?

I believe the American economy will remain reasonably stable for a few years—until God’s warning message is delivered. But the U.S. has over a $6 trillion debt that is going to be a major cause of our economy collapsing very soon. We also lead the world in every major social disease: divorce and family breakdown, crime, drug usage and pornography.

Britain has similar problems.

So what will happen to Iraq when America and Britain can no longer support it? There is going to be a radical change in world events.

Can you imagine the power Iran would have if it gained control of Iraq, which was at one time the third-leading exporter of oil in the world? Experts say Iraq has more oil than any country in the world except Saudi Arabia.

I have believed for years that Iran will lead the king of the south and clash with the European Union, the king of the north. Iran is far ahead of any other Mideast country, apart from Israel, in developing nuclear warheads and bombs. They are a very aggressive force that will be stopped only by a superior force!

Saddam Hussein was the only leader that Iran feared. Now the U.S. has taken him out of the way. But does America have the will or strength to guard the spoils of war? Prophecy states that it does not.

Have we now cleared the way for Shiite Iran to rule over Shiite Iraq?

It was the U.S. that overpowered Serbian leader Milosevic. He was the only leader in Europe that Germany feared.

The staggering paradox may be that U.S. power cleared the way for both the king of the north (the European Union) and the king of the south— and ultimately paved the way for our own destruction, if we don’t repent.

The New York Times of May 1 wrote, “In recent weeks, there has been a steady trickle of intelligence reports about efforts by Iran to influence and shape events inside Iraq.

“Iran, in the view of American analysts, does not welcome a strong American role in Iraq, which would extend American political and military influence in the region.

“Under this assessment, Iran is not looking to confront American forces but to influence events so that the United States fails in its effort to shape Iraq and decides to leave.”

Of course Iran isn’t foolish enough to confront the U.S. directly at this point. After the Iraq campaign, America seems very strong.

But certain aspects of the Iraq campaign that actually show American weakness. And though the current U.S. administration is vowing not to allow an Iranian-style theocracy to gain hold in Iraq, there are also signs in the way it is rebuilding the country that show a fundamental lack of political will to see this pledge through. Perhaps it will not be during the term of the current president, but the Bible shows that America will fail to contain Iran the way it hopes to.

Already, it is clear that Iran is eyeing the situation for opportunities. It would like nothing more than to extend its influence over the majority Shiite population in Iraq, and assume control over its massive oil wealth.


Shortly after Baghdad was taken by coalition forces, it quickly became clear how much the Iranian Shiites had made inroads into Iraq, even under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

Stratfor wrote this in its War Diary of April 23: “The Shiite population is creating a serious administrative problem for the United States. This was partly expected, partly a surprise. The surprise is not to the extent of anti-Americanism but the extent of the organization. The Shiites are much better organized than U.S. intelligence believed. It is clear that their long-term goal is to govern Iraq. …

“The United States cannot really crack down on the Shiites, and the Shiites know it. U.S. troops in riot control mode is not the image Washington wants. … In the end, the solution to this problem is likely in Tehran. The Iraqi Shiite community, to the extent to which it is organized, owes that organization to Iran. Iran’s goal is simple: Get the United States out of Iraq. Officials in Tehran do not expect this to happen immediately, but they do expect it to happen.”

One indication of the depth of the problem is coming in the form of an Iraqi Shiite cleric named Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. During Hussein’s rule, Al-Hakim was exiled for 23 years. He used that time to establish a large militia in Iran called the Badr Brigade, complete with heavy artillery and tanks. Since Baghdad fell, al-Hakim has returned home to Iraq, as have huge numbers of his brigade, to the cheers of thousands of Iraqi Shiites. He is demanding that American forces leave the country.

“Washington fears [al-Hakim] is an Iranian puppet who wants to impose a theocracy on Iraq, and some observers have compared his return from exile with that of former Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Tehran in 1979” (National Post, Canada, May 13).

In addition, according to United Press International, Al-Dawa (a fundamentalist group affiliated with Iran-backed Hezbollah) opened 27 offices around Iraq during the week of May 10. This is yet another indication of the ties between Iran and great portions of the Iraqi populace—people who cannot be ignored if the U.S. really wants to establish democratic self-rule in Iraq.

The Shiites are holding bigger and bigger demonstrations demanding that the U.S. leave. Some of them are holding posters of Ayatollah Khomenei.

Religious Clash

When the king of the south clashes with the king of the north, the European king will be victorious. Then, the king of the north will unite with the rest of the Arab world not allied with Iran to destroy America, Britain and Judah (called “Israel” today)—unless we repent.

The clash of these two kings would be hastened greatly if Iraqi oil were to fall into the hands of Iran. But even a close alliance between the two countries could achieve the same goal. Germany and Europe get over a third of their oil from the Middle East.

Daniel 11:40 through Daniel 12:13 happen during the “time of the end.” Oil and money give the king of the south power to “push” and trigger a world catastrophe! The king of the north (the European Union) has shocked the world with its meteoric rise to power. We are now seeing the king of the south rise in a similar fashion.

All of these events are tied together. They are horrifying to contemplate! The Bible says we are about to see a religious clash that will stagger this world!

Bible prophecy is being fulfilled as you read this article. These prophecies are exploding on the world scene right now at a dizzying pace. This world is about to be plunged into its greatest suffering ever—trouble far worse than the concentration camps and the millions of people butchered in World War II! It will all begin in the Middle East.

This issue concerns all of us. Events in the Middle East and Europe are major signs of the soon-coming Great Tribulation. The king of the north and the king of the south will spark the greatest time of suffering ever known to man! It will be far worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki—or anything that happened in World Wars I and II combined. We must awaken to the unparalleled nuclear holocaust just ahead of us!

With reporting by Joel Hilliker

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Iran Rejects Negotiations With Europe

Yahoo News:

By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 28, 8:57 AM ET

Iran on Sunday rejected what it termed conditional negotiations with Europe over Tehran's nuclear program and said it wanted instead to have talks with the U.N.'s international nuclear watchdog agency.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said any future nuclear negotiations would not include the United States, which contends Iran wants to build atomic weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is solely to produce electricity.

"Since Europe has demanded conditional negotiations, Iran will not accept that and negotiations won't be held," Asefi told reporters. "We are interested in negotiations and working with the International Atomic Energy Agency, as our partner."

Earlier this week Britain's Foreign Office said there was "no basis for negotiations with Iran until they respond" to an IAEA resolution adopted earlier this month that calls on Iran to suspend uranium reprocessing activities at its Isfahan plant.

The EU countries called off a negotiating session scheduled for Aug. 31 because of the resumption of work there.

Asefi said Iran supported negotiations with all countries but activities at Isfahan would never stop.

On Wednesday, Iran had said it was preparing new nuclear proposal that was intended for use in talks with Europe. Asefi said it still would be issued within 45 days and was designed boost Iran's right to have the full nuclear fuel cycle.

Ali Larijani, Tehran's top nuclear negotiator, said Friday that Iran would not negotiate away its right to enrich uranium and shrugged off threats of possible U.N. action, which could include sanctions. A day earlier he had called on more countries to joint the three European negotiators, France, Britain and Germany.

The three countries, negotiating with Iran on behalf of the European Union, sought to persuade Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program in return for economic incentives, a proposal Iran has rejected. At the same time, Iran reactivated uranium conversion at its Isfahan nuclear facility, a precursor to uranium enrichment.

Enrichment is one of the final stages in the nuclear fuel process which Iran froze last November in conjunction with its negotiations with the Europeans. The enrichment process can produce either the fuel needed for a reactor or material used in creating a nuclear bomb.

Iran gives judges right to shoot after attack

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 28 – The head of the Tehran Criminal Court on Sunday announced that all judges would be allowed to carry arms and shot at will anyone whom they feel threatened by. Fakhreddin Jafarzadeh told the state-run news agency ISNA, “Higher-ranking officials have announced that as of tomorrow all judges will be armed with handguns and whenever they feel threatened they have been given the right to shoot”.

The announcement came in the wake of a shooting of another judge in Tehran Sunday morning. Mohammad Reza Aghazadeh was shot in the eye and hand while leaving his residence on his way to work. The new Minister of Justice said that he was rushed to hospital where he was recovering from his injuries.

A high-profile judge had been killed in an attack earlier in August. Sunday’s decision effectively allows judges to shoot any individual on the sole basis that they feel threatened by them.

Unidentified “spy drone” crashes in western Iran

Iran Focus:

Tehran, Iran, Aug. 27 - An unmanned plane crashed after hitting a mountain in western Iran, according to government officials in the Iranian capital.

The plane crashed in the Alashtar Mountains in Lorestan Province, Ali-Asghar Ahmadi, the Deputy Minister of the Interior for security affairs, told reporters on Saturday. “We have received a report about an unmanned plane crashing into the mountains in this region”, Ahmadi said, without any further elaboration.

Ahmadi did not identify the origin of the drone or its intended mission, diverting questions to the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Supreme National Security Council.

Officials in the two security agencies were not available for comment, but an official in the governor’s office in Lorestan Province, contacted by telephone, said the Revolutionary Guards units had secured the site of the crash where “the spy drone hit a mountain”.

The nearest town to the site of the crash is Alashtar with a population of 70,000, which lies 50 kilometres north of the provincial centre Khorram-Abad.

In February, an explosion which turned out to be a dam blast in southern Iran sent jitters through global financial markets amid speculation that the Iran’s nuclear reactor in Bushehr had come under attack. Iran's Arabic-language al-Alam satellite channel issued the first reports of an explosion in Deylam, about 100 miles from the Bushehr plant, citing witnesses who said they had seen an aircraft fire a missile. The panic was in part fuelled by confirmation in Tehran the previous day that unmanned U.S. spy planes were flying surveillance missions over nuclear facilities.

News of the explosion caused international stock markets to plunge, while oil prices shot up by nearly a dollar before eventually settling down.

Ahmadinejad stresses on Islamic justice

Aug 27, 2005

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Saturday stressed the focal role of Islamic justice in outlining plans.

He made the remark in a ceremony to introduce Farhad Rahbar as the new head of the Management and Planning Organization (MPO).

The president added his government would focus on Islamic justice.Ahmadinejad said, "if we rely on domestic assets, social class gap will not open up."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mojtaba reminder

Committee to Protect Bloggers:

I'm writing briefly to ask you not to forget Mojtaba Saminejad, the Iranian blogger who was sentenced to two years in prison for criticizing his government for arresting other bloggers. Mojtaba is mixed in with the general population of a prison that is overwhelmingly populated by hardcore violent criminals. We have started an online petition for him here: It sends a separate email to the major Iranian decision-makers in charge of Mojtaba's case and in charge of registering global public opinion about Iran. Every time someone signs it sends a separate email to each recipient. By signing it you are saying, "We haven't forgotten; we won't forget." Please sign it, publish a post about it (if you have a blog) and let others know. We have also created a similar petition for Omid Sheikhan: Omid was arrested 9 months ago and tortured. He faces a court date in early October. We want to convince the Iranian authorities to drop the spurious charges against him. Please do the same for Omid as you do for Mojtaba -- sign, post and pass it on. For anyone who might think this sort of thing doesn't do much, read this article about another imprisoned Iranian blogger, Sina Motallebi: . Mojtaba's petition has over 400 and Omid's over 300 signatories. We need a lot more than that. Thanks for your help.


Director, The Committee to Protect Bloggers

Ex U.S. hostages confirm Iran president’s role in embassy siege

Iran Focus:

London, Aug. 26 – Two former United States hostages held captive in Iran for 444 days when radical Islamists seized the American embassy in Tehran in 1979 told a Persian-language satellite channel that they have no doubts that Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the supervisors of their interrogators during their ordeal.

Retired Army colonel Charles Scott, speaking on Los Angeles-based NITV, said that though Ahmadinejad was not one of his actual interrogators, he supervised interrogation sessions while the 52 hostages were held captive in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Scott added that Ahmadinejad displayed his authority when he ordered the captives to be given small prison cells and said, “These dogs are only allowed to come out of their cells to be executed”.

Another former hostage, Kevin Hermening, who was 21 years old at the time, recounted how Ahmadinejad tried to force him to open the embassy’s safe after the takeover. He described Ahmadinejad as one of the leading figures during the ordeal.

Several other former American hostages have also asserted that that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was involved in the embassy takeover.

Last month, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Iran's president was a leader in the student movement that organised the 1979 United States embassy siege and that the U.S. was still determining whether he was a hostage-taker himself.

"We've looked into the allegations that were made about his involvement in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. We know he was a leader of the student movement that organised the attack on the embassy and the taking of American hostages", McClellan said.

Ahmadinejad is expected to travel to New York in September to take part in the opening ceremonies of the United Nations General Assembly.

Friday, August 26, 2005

New Iranian Defense Minister – Mughniyeh’s Controller, Israel Affairs Expert

DEBKA file:

DEBKAfile Exclusive Profile

August 23, 2005, 11:59 PM (GMT+02:00)

Mostafa Mohammad-Najar, defense minister and star player in new Iranian government.

Mostafa Mohammad-Najar, brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guards, has packed a lurid, blood-spattered biography into his 49 years, according to the profile of Iran’s new defense minister sketched here by DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence and Iranian experts.

Last week, the Iranian majlis automatically approved the new cabinet tailored by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to conform with the ultra-conservative policies of the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Of the 21 new ministers, 18 hail from the Revolutionary Guards and the dread secret police, forming a war cabinet par excellence.

Mohammad-Najar’s credentials stand out enough - even in this company - to attract the attention of watchers in Washington, Jerusalem and most Middle East capitals. They mark him out as one of the most brutal products of Iran’s secret services and therefore, by definition, a high-ranking and seasoned terror master.

DEBKAfile names him in fact as the longtime senior controller of Imad Mughniyeh, one of Washington’s most wanted terror masters, who currently serves as chief of the Hizballah’s special security apparatus and Tehran’s go-between with al Qaeda.

The new defense minister is notorious for his role in the earliest terror attacks on US targets in the Middle East. The first was the October 23, 1983, suicide bombing of US Marines headquarters in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. The second was the Khobar Towers blast in eastern Saudi Arabia on June 25, 1996. This was a joint Iranian intelligence-al Qaeda operation targeting the facility housing American fighter pilots and air force crews guarding the Dharan oil fields. The death toll of that atrocity was officially put at 19 with 200 injured, but was certainly much higher.

In 1982, after the Iran-Iraq war, Muhammad-Najar was placed at the head of the Revolutionary Guards Middle East department which controls Iranian intelligence bodies in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf emirates, and runs clandestine projects for the “export of the Islamic revolution” to these countries. He quickly proved himself an able organizer and operations chief. He forthwith planted 1,500 Revolutionary Guardsmen in the Lebanese Beqaa Valley. Their transit through Syria was approved by the Damascus government. This Iranian outpost established the first recruiting center for the new Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization calling itself Hizballah.

Right from the start, Muhammad-Najar worked closely with a rising star in the Islamic terrorist firmament, Imad Mughniyeh, who debuted with spectacular abductions of foreigners, mostly American and British hostages. The two became firm friends in this period. In February 1988, the pair organized the kidnapping of Colonel William R (Rich Higgins, the most senior American intelligence officer in Lebanon. He was tortured to death by Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen and Hizballah operatives on an unknown date.

Later in the 1980s, when Lebanon became too hot for him, Mughniyeh fled the country ahead of American pursuit. His Iranian friend and future Iranian defense minister arranged for Iranian intelligence to protect him and smuggle him to safety in Tehran.

Muhammad-Najar also has a history of deadly strikes against Israel. More than one account ascribes him a role in the suicide bombings of Israeli army command posts in the southern Lebanese towns of Tyre and Sidon in 1983.

After his 1985 appointment as head of Iran’s Military Industries Organization under the aegis of the Revolutionary Guards, he kept up his connections with the Iranian terrorist machine including the Hizballah. One of his jobs was to develop weapons adapted to terrorist warfare outside Iran. He took a personal interest in developing the 230mm Iranian super mortar that was supplied to the Revolutionary Guards’ al Quds battalion and the Hizballah for use in the Middle East and also in Europe.

The new defense minister is also credited with organizing the 12,000 Katyusha short-range rockets Hizballah has positioned on the Lebanese-Israeli border as a deterrent against Israeli attacks on Iran and itself.

In October 2000, a month after the outbreak of the Palestinian suicide terror war against Israel, Muhammad-Najar took a hand in the Hizballah’s kidnap of three Israeli soldiers, Adi Avitan, Benny Abraham and Omar Suweid. At the end of 2001, he helped prepare the 50-ton illegal weapons cargo for loading at Kish Island aboard the Karine-A smuggling ship. Vessel and cargo were seized by Israeli commandos on the Red Sea before they reached Arafat’s terrorist squads in the Gaza Strip.

In nearly five years of the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the new Iranian defense minister stayed in close touch with the Hizballah’s 1800 Unit, which interacts with the Palestinian terrorist organizations and whose agents are actively present in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and among dissident Israeli Arabs.

Ahmadinejad picked him as defense minister in appreciation of his expertise as an intelligence and terror mastermind with long experience of violent covert operations against American and Israeli targets in such places as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and his work in conjunction with Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations. Muhammad-Najar’s presence in a key position in the Iranian government is bad news above all for the United States and Israel. They see him as an omen of the imminent stepping up of Iranian involvement in Hizballah and Palestinian.

Iran's Most Radical Regime

Front Page Magazine:

August 23, 2005

By Patrick Devenny

Since taking office two weeks ago, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has wasted little time in molding the Iranian government in his own extremist image, a process which started with last week’s appointment of Ali Larijani as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Larijani, a former commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and a close advisor to Ahmadinejad, possesses impeccable extremist credentials and is a favorite of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Supposedly a diplomat, Larijani is evidently not a fan of tactful parlance, recently declaring, “We have bloodthirsty foes like the United States and Israel who could attack us with all they have. So, why should we deny ourselves any category of weapons just to please the savage European powers?” This government-wide elevation of hard-line Iranians continued on Sunday, when Ahmadinejad submitted his list of 21 proposed cabinet members to the Majlis, or national parliament, for approval. His proposed slate of advisors failed to include one woman or reformer, featuring only religious conservatives and extremists whose idea of “reform” involves women being forced to wear full head coverings and the public execution of homosexuals. Analogous to this consolidation of ultra-conservative power inside Iran is the rise in authority of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps itself. The IRGC is considered by its commanders to be the primary guardian and servant of the Iranian revolution, both at home and abroad, a responsibility it has vigorously upheld since its formation in 1979. Now, with the election of Ahmadinejad – himself a former IRGC commander – the IRGC appears to be taking a leading role in policy formulation for the entire Iranian government. Of the twenty-one future cabinet members, eight are former IRGC members, such as nominee for Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar, a 25-year veteran of the IRCG with extensive links to international terrorism and weapons proliferation. Most of the other nominees have worked closely with the IRGC or in corps-sponsored operations throughout their careers. Such developments are only the latest indication of the IRGC’s transformation from state agency into a state unto itself, a startling revolution in Iranian affairs which should horrify anyone who values freedom and stability in the Middle East. A Bloody History To understand the disquieting dimensions of the IRGC’s genesis, one need only look at their organizational history, a past replete with murder, oppression, and terrorism. Beginning in 1979, the IRGC became the Khomeini regime’s chief ideological enforcer, executing dissidents and torturing opponents. Their charge as protectors of the revolution was enshrined in Article 150 of the Iranian Constitution, which gives the IRGC the responsibility of maintaining Iran’s religious nature and spirit. Officers such as a young Mahmud Ahmadinejad (who joined the IRGC in 1980) took to their guardian of the revolution role with fanatical devotion, setting up an extensive secret police force that quickly stamped out any remaining opposition to Khomeini’s totalitarian regime. Their instruments included prison facilities such as Evin prison in Tehran, where hundreds of regime opponents, real or imagined, were tortured and shot by IRGC officers. The IRGC’s domestic security role also entails a responsibility to provide Iranian civilians with military training. This effort has led to the formation of the “Baseej,” a 4.5 million man paramilitary militia which has stood in violent opposition against reformist forces throughout the country. Baseej members – at the behest of their IRGC officers - were extremely active in combating the urban unrest that occurred under the presidency of Mohammad Khatami. The militia was often observed beating protestors with clubs, raiding college dorm buildings, and destroying opposition media outlets. The IRGC-Baseej devotion to the existing order in Iran has continued to this day, as their street muscle proved instrumental in turning out a sufficient amount of support for Ahmadinejad, while simultaneously threatening reform-minded voters. The IRGC has never been content with simply fighting subversive forces within Iranian borders; Article 154 of the Iranian constitution charges the IRGC with aiding the “oppressed” people of the world. This innocuous assignment has served as the justification for the IRGC’s longstanding and deep ties with terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and Iraqi terrorists. Hundreds of IRGC soldiers are currently stationed in Lebanon alongside Hezbollah terrorists, where they operate massive training camps and supervise the expansion of Hezbollah’s rocket force. Through the IRGC’s “Al-Quds” unit, Iranian officers have planned and coordinated numerous international terrorist attacks, including the 1994 attack on a Jewish target in Buenos Aires which resulted in 86 deaths. When Al-Qaeda leaders such as Saif al-Adel fled Afghanistan for Iran in late 2001, they were greeted and protected by IRGC officers. In Iraq, according to the latest issue of Time Magazine, the IRGC currently controls a sophisticated terrorist network of at least 280 agents and assassins which has murdered hundreds of Iraqi civilians, as well as an increasing number of coalition troops. With such a heinous past, it is no wonder the IRGC’s increasing power inside Iran disturbs opponents of the Tehran regime. A Growing Influence This drift of IRGC officers into elite Iranian society has not been limited to the upper echelons of government. Lower-strata civil service jobs, such as police chiefs, economic advisors, and military officers are increasingly being filled by IRGC men. The IRGC is also heavily represented in the nation’s universities, with guards officers taking over university presidencies and professorships. At the same time, the IRGC has expanded its influence over Iran’s economy. IRGC front companies have become the largest businesses in Iran, dominating profitable sectors such as telecommunications and international trade. Additionally, most of Iran’s ports are controlled by the IRGC, allowing millions of dollars in import/export taxes to flow directly into IRGC coffers. With their societal and economic infrastructure in place, IRGC leaders have felt increasingly comfortable in taking high-level appointments and pushing for increased powers and authority. The 290-seat Majlis includes over 70 former or active IRGC officers, even though corps officers are forbidden by clerical law to hold such political offices. Dozens of mayors, provincial governors and deputy ministers also owe their allegiance to the IRGC. Most of Iran’s critical overseas missions in cities such as Kabul and Baghdad are not run by the foreign ministry, but by the guards. With this augmented political weight, the IRGC has successfully lobbied the ruling clerics for additional powers. Just two weeks ago, Ayatollah Khamenei finally gave in to several familiar IRGC requests, granting them total control over Iran’s military infrastructure and natural resources during times of war. Solidifying the IRGC’s influence within the Iranian power structure is its stewardship of Iran’s most valuable asset – its nuclear program. On the orders of Ayatollah Khamenei, all nuclear related activities – both covert and overt – have been placed under the command of the IRGC. The centerpiece of their efforts is the sprawling Malek Ashtar Industrial complex in Tehran, which the IRGC has operated since 1986. Recently expanded, the complex is tasked primarily with the construction of nuclear centrifuges, a mission overseen by IRGC nuclear scientists. In November 2004, sensitive nuclear technology that had been under the control of the armed forces was transferred to the IRGC and installed in the Malek complex, without explanation. IRGC General Jaafari Sahraroudi, considered to be President Ahmadinejad’s closest advisor, has been tapped to personally oversee coordination between the IRGC’s development program and other ongoing Iranian nuclear efforts. At the heart of the IRGC’s overall mission is the protection of the nation’s clerical leadership. IRGC leaders are directly accountable to Khamenei himself, and some are known to be fanatically loyal to his personage. That said, as the organization’s power and influence grows, its abject loyalty to Khamenei and his ruling Guardian Council becomes more and more tenuous. Khamenei has repeatedly warned the IRGC against political involvement, cautioning the corps to avoid becoming an active political force within the Iranian polity. Such strictures have always been quietly ignored by the IRGC leadership, but this disobedience has increased in recent years. Turf battles between the IRGC and those close to Khamenei have already erupted over various doctrinal and economic issues. Indicating a further strain in the relationship between the clerics and their guardians is the willingness of many in the IRGC to express their frustration with what they see as the corruption of the mullahs, a complaint popular among ordinary Iranians. They have followed up on this appealing rhetoric by setting up hundreds of community clinics and recruitment centers, actions dictated by their nationalist ideology which advocates spreading the fruits of the revolution to the masses, not just the theocratic elite. Such faux populism stands in stark opposition to the exclusive oligarchy status long coveted by the mullahs. While the IRGC should not be expected to formally take the reins of power anytime soon, their powerful role should ensure that other sectors of the Iranian leadership will consistently accede to their wishes. Khamenei, who has little public support and is increasingly an outcast among the ruling clerics, now relies heavily on his guardians in the IRGC. The man whose word was once considered holy writ in Iran now relies on his former bodyguards for legitimacy, a somewhat fragile agreement that the IRGC can be expected to take advantage of. Troubling Ramifications The repercussions of the IRGC’s ascendancy for the U.S. and its allies are troubling across the board. In Iraq, increased IRGC power means additional interference by already active Iranian agents, as the IRGC leadership specifically tasked with such operations – such as General Qassem Soleimani - is promoted to the upper-echelons of the Iranian government. With their increased authority, they will likely seek to expand "insurgent" programs, a development which promises further death and destruction for American soldiers and their Iraqi allies. The push for better relations between the U.S. and Iran – which appeared somewhat promising in the late 1990s – is again on the back burner, as the IRGC leadership has always stated - publicly and privately – that there is no need for any diplomatic niceties with regard to “the enemy”. Indeed, candidate Ahmadinejad was the only Iranian presidential contender who failed to include improved relations with the United States in his platform. This disregard for meaningful diplomacy will no doubt extend into nuclear negotiations as well, as the IRGC will never acquiesce to Western demands that their nuclear operation be halted. Such a move would be anathema to the virulently nationalist strain inherent in IRGC dogma, and would also serve to decrease the IRGC’s power inside Iran, two developments which are fundamentally unacceptable to the IRGC. As troubling as the IRGC’s rise to power is for the United States, it is far more disconcerting for two other groups, namely Iranian reformers and Israelis. The IRGC has aggressively hunted down dissidents and reformers throughout its history, throwing them in jail or beating them in bloody street battles. In 1999, disturbed by student unrest and the “permissive” political atmosphere promoted by President Khatami, 24 senior IRGC officers drafted a letter to the president, calling on him to take action. Otherwise, warned the signers, the IRGC would take its own violent measures to quell the disturbances, in order to fulfill their promise to guard the revolution. Khatami – wisely – gave in to the IRGC’s demands. Such a threat helps signify the corps adamant stance against any democratic reforms and the lengths they are willing to go to – including a military coup – in order to stop them. The state of Israel in particular has much to fear from an IRGC-based government. Ahmadinejad and his IRGC allies have been some of the more vitriolic enemies of Israel among the Iranian elite, deriding the “Zionist influence” in almost every one of their public announcements. Ahmadinejad himself has pledged on numerous occasions that he would never negotiate or meet with Israeli officials. Seeking to emulate the “heroic martyrs” in Palestine, the IRGC has recently initiated a plan to recruit and train thousands of men willing to give their lives in suicide bombing operations in order to “protect Islam” from Israel. Such actions indicate the IRGC’s willingness to at least maintain, and probably intensify, Iran’s fanatically anti-Israeli stance. Conclusion With the rise of the IRGC and its militarist allies, the Iranian dynamic is altered significantly. The new IRGC leaders are considerably better educated than their clerical superiors, giving them a better grasp of the international political scene. They are firm believers in Iranian nationalism, a doctrine which requires extensive international involvement and the possession of nuclear weaponry. Critical of the corruption that has paralyzed the Iranian leadership for decades, the IRGC is capable of mobilizing a significant amount of sympathetic Iranian public opinion to their side. They are adamantly anti-Western and anti-Semitic, their ideology firmly rooted in the Khomeinist values of piety and religious extremism. Noted Iran expert Amir Taheri put it best, recently referring to Ahmadinejad and his IRGC allies as “the North Koreans of Islam.” This new leadership generation – most of whom are in their 40s and 50s – fought and bled on the battlefields of the1979 revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, and Lebanon, while their clerical masters memorized verses of the Quran in the serene seminaries of Qum. Like the Roman Praetorian Guard of ancient times, the hard-charging officers of the IRGC may soon tire of protecting their clerical overlords, and may choose to wield power themselves. Their ascendancy poses a whole new Iranian rule-set for the U.S. to grapple with, one significantly more dangerous than the one it faced in the past.

Iran Gets Tough From Top to Bottom

The Conservative Voice:

by J. Grant Swank, Jr.

August 25, 2005 10:01 AM EST Tough. Mean tough. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad stated that Iran has much to fear from the United States and Israel. Therefore, since taking office a couple of weeks ago, he has warned that Iran is going to get tougher than ever.

The Iranian politic will be in the extreme. Ali Larijani as chief nuclear negotiator proves it. He's former chief of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and that means nothing less than being a maximum hard hitter. Further, he's high on the list of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

It was Larijani who, according to Patrick Devenney of FrontPage Magazine, declared: "We have bloodthirsty foes like the United States and Israel who could attack us with all they have. So, why should we deny ourselves any category of weapons just to please the savage European powers?"

On then with the arms show. Destiny demands it. Fresh Iranian leadership will see it through.

In addition, the new President's closest aides, that is, his cabinet members, will be hard-hitting personnel. Not one female or reformer is among them. Only Islamic extremists are filling the slots. That means they all will advocate, for instance, females wearing the complete head coverings and continued public killings of homosexuals.

The IRGC sees through the guarding of the police state in Iran. That entity has a bloody history. Such includes "murder, oppression, and terrorism." Those who in the past disagreed with Khomeini disappeared mysteriously. Some were killed outright and others endured extreme torture in prisons. All was in the name of protecting the culture.

Further, grassroots citizens are trained by IRGC in policing society. They are instructed in "military" tactics. Such became known as the "Baseej," a multi-million member paramilitary force brought into being to put down any resistance to the despotic regime. In other words, reformers were not tolerated in the neighborhoods.

Moreover, IRGC has been commissioned to fight in other countries. They are there, they say, for the "oppressed" peoples of the globe. Therefore, the IRGC tied in with such killing entities as Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and Muslim murderers global. In other words, IRGC took part in slaughter activities here and there worldwide.

Top on the agenda list of the IRGC influence is the Iranian nuclear power. All nuclear programs have been handed over to the IRGC, hence the President's statement regarding enhancing Iran's nuclear potential because of the threats from the United States and Israel.