Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Compass Direct:

Secret police crackdown results in the torture of 10 other Christians

November 28 (Compass) – An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in front of his home a few hours later.

Ghorban Tori, 50, was pastoring an independent house church of convert Christians in Gonbad-e-Kavus, a town just east of the Caspian Sea along the Turkmenistan border.

Within hours of the November 22 murder, local secret police arrived at the martyred pastor’s home, searching for Bibles and other banned Christian books in the Farsi language. By the end of the following day, the secret police had also raided the houses of all other known Christian believers in the city.

According to one informed Iranian source, during the past eight days representatives of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) have arrested and severely tortured 10 other Christians in several cities, including Tehran. All the detainees have since been released.

One of the arrested Christians was reportedly interrogated about his involvement in relief work after Iran’s deadly Bam earthquake in December 2003. Another working with a legal organization defending human rights was accused of using it as a “cover” for church activities.

In addition, MOIS officials have visited known Christian leaders since Tori’s murder and have instructed them to warn acquaintances in the unofficial, Protestant house fellowships that “the government knows what you are doing, and we will come for you soon.”

A former Muslim of Turkmen descent, Tori had converted to Christianity more than 10 years ago, while in Turkmenistan.

After he returned to his native Iran in 1998, Tori began to share his new Christian faith with friends and relatives. Within two years, a small fellowship of 12 believers was meeting in his home.

But not all welcomed his message; at least one relative attacked Tori, scarring his face. In the past year he received several threats from Islamic extremists vowing to kill him if he did not stop sharing his Christian faith. Tori is survived by his wife and four children, ages 3 to 23.

He is the fifth Protestant pastor assassinated in Iran by unidentified killers in the past 11 years. Three of the five were former Muslims, under Iranian law subject to the death penalty for having committed apostasy.

Tori’s murder came just days after Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called an open meeting with the nation’s 30 provincial governors. During the session, an Iranian source told Compass, Ahmadinejad declared that the government needed to put a stop to the burgeoning movement of house churches across Iran.

“I will stop Christianity in this country,” Ahmadinejad reportedly vowed. “This was apparently a green light from the president of Iran to go out and start killing Christians,” the source said.

Slurring Non-Muslims

Last week a Zoroastrian representative in the Iranian Parliament protested a slur against non-Muslims on November 20 by a top aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to the government-run Entekhaab website, in a public speech Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told youthful Basijis (members of a volunteer militia formed to enforce strict Islamic codes) preparing to join suicide missions that “non-Muslims are sinful animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption.” Jannati, who is secretary general of the powerful Guardian Council, is known to be a mentor and close advisor to Ahmadinejad.

Iranian Member of Parliament Kurosh Niknam declared the comment, “an unprecedented insult to religious minorities.”

Over the past month, Ahmadinejad has conducted a broad shake-up within the government establishment, replacing hundreds of governors, ambassadors and senior ministry officials with young and mostly inexperienced Islamists. Yesterday students at Tehran University protested noisily when a religious cleric without even a high school diploma was appointed rector of the nation’s oldest university.

In November, the new director of prisons also transferred a number of political prisoners of conscience into criminal wards with convicted murderers and drug dealers. At least one of these political prisoners has been killed by fellow inmates, sparking the fears of Iranian Christians for the security of Hamid Pourmand, serving a three-year sentence at Tehran’s Evin Prison for refusing to renounce his conversion to Christianity.


Arab News:

by Amir Taheri

November 12, 2005

With the imposition of curfew and an impressive show of raw force, the French authorities may well have managed to bring the latest urban riots under control. And a few nights of heavy rain may also help dampen the ardor of "les jeunes", the youthful insurgents who have wreaked havoc in more than 300 localities throughout France over the past two weeks.

One thing, however is certain: Bringing the situation under control is one thing but finding a long-term solution to the problem is quite another.

The failure of the French leadership to understand what is happening, let alone develop a strategy to cope with it has opened the way for all sorts of maverick initiatives.

A group calling itself the Union of Muslim Organizations in France has issued a "fatwa" (Islamic edict) calling on the Muslim youths to cease their rebellion. The message is clear: Rather than obeying the laws of the French Republic, Muslims in France should follow "fatwas" concocted by the Muslim Brotherhood. A variety of fixers, middlemen, and arbiters, most of them members of various militant Islamist groups, have also appeared at the local level in many places and are presenting themselves as an alterative to state authority.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a number of proto-fascist groups have mushroomed in the suburbs, especially close to Paris, and are calling for the formation of armed militias to fight the rioters. Claiming that France is already drawn into a civil war they are calling for the army to be brought and martial law to be imposed in the affected areas.

The one question that everyone is anxious to avoid concerns the nature of what polite society in Paris likes to call "urban violence".

According to the left, notably the unreformed Socialist Party, the trouble stems from cutbacks in government subsidies that have curtailed social services in the affected areas. The Socialists are especially sore about Sarkozy's decision to scarp the so-called "proximity police" that the previous Socialist administration had created. The "proximity police" had been a fig leaf to hide the fact that the real police, along with doctors, firemen, school inspectors, and other representatives of the republic had been excluded from dozens of suburbs for years. The "proximity police" had no authority to detect crime, arrest criminals or even report on criminal activities. But it could play football with teen-agers, organize seaside holidays for them, and supervise "artistic tagging" competitions.

There is no shortage of state subsidies in areas struck by the riots.

Government spokesman Jean-Francois Coppet says that the affected areas have benefited from "massive injections of cash" over the past three years. Nearly half of the population lives on various state handouts. The affected areas have become the hunting ground of professional do-gooders, associations, charities, pressure groups, social theorists, and, of course, so-called "Islamic reformers." For years, some municipalities have devoted almost a third of their budget to such outfits in the hope of avoiding precisely the kind of crisis they now face.

No, the crisis cannot be explained in pseudo-Marxist terms. People do not go around torching public buildings and firing on the police simply because they are poor.

The truth is that the affected suburbs represent a dangerous cocktail in which poverty, cultural alienation and racial tensions are some of the ingredients. But even those ingredients alone would not have been sufficient for causing an explosion. After all the Paris region is also home to substantial numbers of Asian, mainly Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants who are as poor, as culturally alienated and as subject to racial pressure as are the inhabitants of the "exploding suburbs".

The indigenous French do not consider the Asian community as a threat to the very idea of Frenchness if only because it has no universal pretensions.

The Muslim immigrant minority, however, is perceived as a threat because Islam regards itself as a universal faith and an alternative to Western civilization. Most indigenous Frenchmen are persuaded that their own culture and civilization is the best that mankind has ever produced and that Islam's pretensions are misplaced, to say the least.

It is hard to establish which came first but there is no doubt that militant Islamism and equally militant Islamophobia have formed a deadly couple that is leading France into uncharted waters.

The crisis concerns the very idea of Fenchness. And yet, many French leaders delude themselves into believing that French identity, often referred to as "l'exception francaise" is so manifestly superior as to be beyond debate.

The trouble is that there are millions of Muslims, especially those born in France of Arab and African immigrant parents, who do not feel French the way most other Frenchmen do. Some do not feel French in any sense whatsoever, apart from their official identity papers.

The question, therefore, is whether or not France can seduce this group of its children back into a new form of Frenchness.

The task is more difficult than the similar challenges that the United States and Britain have faced. In the US all that is required is loyalty to the American Constitution within which all sorts of hyphenated identities are not only accepted but actively promoted. You don't even have to speak English to be an American. Britain, for its part, has managed with a policy of benign neglect toward ethnic and religious minorities, allowing them to live as they wish with the understanding that, even though they may learn to play cricket, they will never become Englishmen.

France, however, has always wanted to assimilate its minorities, transforming them into "proper Frenchmen". On the eve of the French Revolution in 1787 only 12 percent of Louis XVI's subjects had French as their mother tongue.

Two hundred years later that had risen to almost 90 percent of French citizens. To reach that goal successive regimes in Paris had pursued a determined, and often ruthless, policy of destroying dozens of languages and cultures in a quest for a unique form of Frenchness.

That policy worked because the languages and cultures that were assimilated belonged to communities that had been both Christian and European since time immemorial.

Assimilation is far more difficult now because the Arab and African Muslim communities are neither European nor Christian.

They may be prepared to become a bit more European but would demand that, in exchange, other Frenchmen also become a bit more like them. In other words what they demand is a new French identity, a synthesis of the traditional concept of Frenchness with new Arab, African and Islamic ones. You cannot play multiculturalism without admitting the possibility that your own culture may, at some point, be affected by other cultures, including ones that were once regarded as alien or even threatening.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

az dictatory be democracy

EU, Iran to meet in December on nuclear dispute: diplomat

Yahoo News:

AFP Tue Nov 22, 2:08 PM ET

Britain, France, Germany and Russia have set a provisional date in December to meet with Iran in a move aimed at breaking the deadlock over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, a diplomat told AFP.

"The date is December 6. There is no agreement yet on the venue," said a European diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue.

New talks would be the next step after the United States and the so-called EU-3 -- Britain, France and Germany -- put off calling this week on the UN nuclear watchdog to send the Iranian case to the UN Security Council, in order to give Russia time to get Tehran to agree to a compromise.

The West fears that Iran is using a civilian nuclear power program to hide covert development of atomic weapons. Tehran says its program is a peaceful project to generate electricity.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday that Iran's suspected aim to make the bomb could pose a "very serious threat to world stability and peace."

The United States hopes that getting countries such as Iranian ally Russia involved in talks will help get Tehran "off the dangerous course it's on," said Gregory Schulte, US ambassador to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The message that must be sent was that pressure was coming not just from the United States and the EU-3 but was "a much broader international consensus," Schulte told reporters.

According to the European diplomat, the idea for the December meeting would be to "talk about (resuming) talks" between Iran and the trio of European Union negotiators on guaranteeing Tehran will not make nuclear weapons.

The talks broke off in August when Iran resumed uranium conversion it had suspended nine months earlier.

Conversion turns uranium ore into the gas that is the feedstock for making enriched uranium, which can be fuel for either nuclear power reactors or the raw material for atom bombs.

There would be "no strings attached", to the December talks, the European diplomat said, although Iran should be "prepared to discuss seriously" a Russian compromise proposal under which Tehran's uranium enrichment would be carried out in Russia.

Possible venues for the meeting include Moscow, Vienna and Geneva. According to the diplomat, while the logistics were not in place it would almost certainly take place unless Iran escalated the crisis, such as by moving ahead with actual enrichment.

This week's IAEA board meeting will not refer Iran to the Security Council, a move which could lead to sanctions, another Western diplomat said on Monday.

The body's 35-nation board of governors meets in Vienna Thursday to review progress after calling on Iran in September to cease all nuclear fuel work, to cooperate with an IAEA investigation and to return to talks with the European Union.

The IAEA board had also in September found Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a ruling that opens the way to bringing the matter to the Security Council.

Russia and China, which also has strong economic ties with Tehran, both support Iran's right to civilian nuclear technology and oppose any referral to the world body.

The Western diplomat speaking Monday said the United States felt it was "worth taking a few more months to work on Russia and China to bring them on board" to support UN referral if diplomacy fails.

Silence about the massacres

Il Corriere della Sera:

Another must-read from Magdi Allam, the Egyptian-born Italian columnist and investigative journalist for Il Corriere della Sera. Magdi is an outspoken Secularist, pro-US, pro-Israel and libertarian. Because of his political stance, a fatwa has been issued against him and now he lives accompained by body-guards.

by Magdi Allam, columnist for Il Corriere della Sera

Who Among Us Really Cares About The Thousands Of Iraqi Victims Of Terror? Over the last few days there have been over 150 killed and 200 injured, for the most part Shiites who were praying at Khanaqin, other poor Shiites at the funeral of Abu Saida, close to Baquba. Massacres perpetrated by the suicide terrorists of Al Qaeda, similar to the attacks which at the same time hit the market of the Shiite quarter of Diyala and the area around two hotels in Baghdad. This is all summed up, both in the West as in the Muslim world in a macabre tally of the dead. Perhaps some react within themselves with a note of indignation. Probably many feel a misplaced satisfaction in collecting, day after day, bloody proof which confirms the thesis of the “unjust war”. With the implicit intention of drawing a veil of silence and indifference over Iraqi deaths as soon as the foreign “forces of occupation” abandon Iraq. Imagining that in this way, an atrocious tragedy unleashed by the “insane” and “hateful” Bush would be filed away.

However, the widespread refusal to recognize the internal and international dimension of the globalised Islamist terrorism which has identified Iraq as the front line in its “holy war” is as illogical as it is senseless. Is it possible that the U.N., after having legitimized the new Iraqi State and the multinational forces with resolutions 1511 and 1546, does not raise its voice in the defense of the victims of terror? Is it possible that the Organisation of Islamic Conference does not utter even half a word of condolence for massacred Muslims? Is it possible that the Arab League is only concerned with patronizing the interests of the most extreme Sunni Iraqi groups with ties to the so called “resistance”? Is it possible that the E.U. entrenches itself behind a barrier of deafening silence so as not to draw attention to the conflicts within it? Is it possible that the so-called “progressive” and “reformist” parties deny the situation of the majority of the Iraqi population now fighting for their life and freedom? Is it possible that the unions remain inert even when faced with the murder of 114 Iraqi workers which took place on the 14th September in Baghdad? What is happening in Iraq goes beyond any bearable limits. How can we not feel human pity for these Iraqis who are being massacred as “apostates” and “enemies of Islam” for the simple fact of being Shiites, Kurds of simply for being employees of a state which was legitimized by popular will and the international community? It is no longer possible to shut ones eyes to the endless rivers of blood of faithful gathered in prayer in their Mosques, of simple folk in crowded markets shopping for food, of relatives of terror victims in turn murdered at the funerals of their loved ones. Let us say “enough” to the massacre of innocents in Iraq. “Enough” to the terrorists who in the name of Islam massacre Iraqis, Arabs, Westerners, Muslims, Christians, Jews! Let us knock down the wall of silence which makes us all accomplices with the worst enemies of life! Let us free ourselves from the ideological chains which imprison humanity! Let us all take the initiative, together, to mobilize ourselves alongside the Iraqi people and against terrorism, without ifs or buts! Magdi Allam 22nd November, 2005

Source of the english text

Silenzio sulle stragi

Chi di noi ha veramente a cuore le migliaia di vittime del terrore in Iraq?

Nei giorni scorsi ci sono stati oltre 150 morti e 200 feriti, in gran parte fedeli sciiti in preghiera a Khanaqin, altri poveri sciiti durante un funerale ad Abu Saida, vicino a Baquba. Stragi perpetrate da terroristi suicidi di Al Qaeda, al pari di quelle che nelle stesse ore hanno colpito il mercato del quartiere sciita di Diyala e nelle vicinanze di due alberghi a Bagdad. Ebbene tutto ciò si risolve, sia in Occidente sia nel mondo musulmano, in una semplicistica macabra contabilità dei morti. Forse taluni reagiscono interiormente con un moto di indignazione. Probabilmente i più provano una malcelata soddisfazione nel collezionare, giorno dopo giorno, prove sanguinolente che confermano la tesi della «guerra ingiusta». Con l'implicita intenzione di far calare una cappa di silenzio e di indifferenza sui morti iracheni non appena le «forze di occupazione» straniere dovessero abbandonare l'Iraq. Immaginando che così si archivierà una volta per tutte una atroce tragedia scatenata dal «folle» e «odioso» Bush.

Eppure è così illogico nonché insensato il diffuso rifiuto di voler prendere atto della dimensione interna e internazionale dello stesso terrorismo globalizzato di matrice islamica che ha individuato nell'Iraq il fronte di prima linea della sua «guerra santa». Possibile che l'Onu, dopo aver legittimato il nuovo Stato iracheno e le forze multinazionali con le risoluzioni 1511 e 1546, non elevi la sua voce a difesa delle vittime del terrorismo? Possibile che la Conferenza per l'Organizzazione islamica non spenda mezza parola di cordoglio per dei musulmani trucidati? Possibile che Lega araba si preoccupi solo di patrocinare l'interesse dei gruppi iracheni sunniti più estremisti collusi con la cosiddetta «resistenza»? Possibile che l'Unione europea si trinceri dietro una assordante barriera di silenzio per non accentuare i conflitti al suo interno? Possibile che i cosiddetti partiti progressisti o riformisti rinneghino le istanze della maggioranza della popolazione irachena in lotta per la vita e per la libertà? Possibile che i sindacati restino inerti anche di fronte all'eccidio di 114 manovali iracheni lo scorso 14 settembre a Bagdad?

Quanto sta avvenendo in Iraq travalica ogni limite di sopportazione. Come possiamo non provare umana pietà per questi iracheni che vengono massacrati quali «apostati» e «nemici dell'islam» per il semplice fatto di essere sciiti, curdi o servitori di uno Stato sovrano legittimato dalla volontà popolare e dalla comunità internazionale? Non è più possibile chiudere gli occhi di fronte al fiume ininterrotto del sangue di fedeli in preghiera nelle moschee, di gente semplice accalcata nei mercati alla ricerca di che sfamarsi, di parenti delle vittime del terrorismo colpite anche loro dai barbari suicidi durante i funerali. Diciamo basta con la strage di innocenti in Iraq! Basta con i terroristi che nel nome dell'islam massacrano iracheni, arabi, occidentali, musulmani, cristiani, ebrei! Abbattiamo il muro dell'omertà che ci rende complici dei peggiori nemici della vita! Liberiamoci dalle catene ideologiche che imprigionano la nostra umanità! Prendiamo tutti insieme l'iniziativa di mobilitarci al fianco del popolo iracheno e contro il terrorismo, senza se e senza ma!

Magdi Allam

22 novembre 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

Europe Moves Toward Delay of Iran Referral

The New York Times:

By STEVEN R. WEISMAN Published: November 22, 2005

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 - The leading countries of Europe conferred about Iran on Monday, with growing indications that they would not move later this week to refer Iran's recent actions in its nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

Western diplomats said it remained important to keep a consensus on Iran, not only between Europe and the United States but also with China, Russia and India, all of which have said they oppose a referral to the Security Council at this time.

The diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks while they were in progress, also said no final decision had been made about whether to seek a referral at the next opportunity, a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board on Thursday. The senior American envoy on Iran said talks with the Europeans were continuing.

"It's a period of great fluidity, diplomatically," said the envoy, R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs. He added that he found his recent talks with the Europeans, the Chinese and the Russians encouraging because "a wider circle of countries" was working "to send one message to Iran."

If Iran's case is not referred to the Security Council on Thursday by the atomic agency, its next opportunity would be well into next year.

American officials say that one topic of discussion with Iran is a recent offer by Russia to enrich uranium for Iran to use for energy purposes, thus preventing Iran from enriching uranium itself to the point at which it could be used to make a bomb.

Iran, however, has warned that if it is referred to the Security Council, it would bar United Nations inspectors from its nuclear sites.

The Weak Must be Protected

Corriere Della Sera:

Per il velo una musulmana sfigura al volto un'altra musulmana a Brescia

Cari amici, vi ripropongo il mio commento trasmesso oggi da Studio Aperto, il telegiornale di Italia1, su una sconcertante aggressione fisica di una donna musulmana ai danni di un'altra donna musulmana in provincia di Brescia. La vittima è stata sfigurata al volto. La sua colpa: aver deciso di togliersi il velo con il consenso del marito. Per la donna aggressore si è trattato di una inaccettabile offesa all'islam che andava punita con la violenza.

"Ormai anche nel nostro paese, così come succede in Bangladesh o in Giordania, delle donne musulmane vengono sfigurate per il semplice fatto di non indossare il velo o di essere comunque condannate per offesa o tradimento dei valori dell’islam. Il fatto che quest’azione criminale in provincia di Brescia sia stata perpetrata da un’altra donna musulmana, sottolinea la radice ideologica di un fenomeno criminale che va al di la della sfera religiosa e dell’identità sessuale. E’ come nel caso del rito barbaro delle mutilazioni genitali femminili, che vede le mamme le più accese sostenitrici della violenza fisica sulle proprie figlie. Tutto ciò sottolinea l’urgenza di una legge che salvaguardi i diritti fondamentali della persona anche per le donne immigrate in Italia, proprio per tutelare la loro dignità, libertà e incolumità fisica violate da ideologie liberticide e tradizioni disumane".

Magdi Allam2005-11-21 13:20

Dear friends,

I repeat my comment aired today on Studio Aperto, the “Italia Uno” news bulletin, about a very worrying physical assault by a Moslem woman towards another Moslem woman in the province of Brescia. The victim’s face was disfigured. Her crime: she had decided to take off her veil without her husband’s consent. For the aggressor this was an unacceptable offence to Islam which had to be punished by physical violence.

“Nowadays, even in our country, just like what happens in Bangladesh or Jordan, Moslem women are assaulted and disfigured simply for not wearing a veil or are anyhow condemned for offending or betraying Islamic values. The fact that this criminal act in Brescia was carried out by another Moslem woman underlines the ideological roots of a criminal phenomenon which goes beyond the religious sphere or sexual identity. It is like the case of the barbaric practice of female circumcision, which sees the mothers as the staunchest supporters of physical violence towards their own daughters. All this underlines the urgency of a law which safeguards fundamental human rights, even for female immigrants into Italy; to safeguard their dignity, freedom, and physical safety from liberticidal ideologies and inhuman traditions.” Magdi Allam 21st November, 2005

Iran's Parliament moves to block UN inspections

International Herald Tribune:

By Nazila Fathi The New York Times


TEHRAN Iran's conservative Parliament approved the outline of a bill Sunday that would bar United Nations inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites if the agency referred Iran's case to the Security Council for possible punitive measures.

The vote came before the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors was expected to review Iran's case on Thursday. The agency passed a resolution in September and called on Iran to suspend all its uranium enrichment-related activities before the meeting this month.

The Iranian measure needs to be approved by the Guardian Council before it becomes law. But the vote Sunday, which was approved by 183 of the 197 lawmakers present at the session, suggested that Parliament backed the government's tougher stance over its nuclear program.

"By approving this bill, we are sending a message to the atomic agency," said Alaedin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's Commission for Foreign Policy and National Security, urging the agency not to act against Iran.

"Otherwise, we require the government to suspend all its voluntary measures," he said, according to the ISNA student news agency. Boroujerdi was referring to Iran's allowing inspection of its nuclear sites.

Iran defied an agreement with three European countries - Britain, France and Germany - in August and resumed activities at one of its nuclear sites near the city of Isfahan.

It further complicated diplomacy last week after it fed a new batch of uranium into the facility.

The work includes converting mined uranium, known as yellowcake, into a gas, uranium tetra-fluoride, or UF4, in a process that occurs a step before enrichment. In a report on Friday, the head of the international nuclear agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, praised Iran's "transparency and indispensable" cooperation but also urged it to suspend its enrichment-related activities and to allow inspectors to visit a military site, Lavizan Shian, near Tehran.

The United States accused Iran last year of dismantling buildings at the Lavizan Shian site and removing topsoil from the area in an effort to hide experiments related to nuclear weapons. Iran contended that the razed construction was not related to military or nuclear work.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Assefi, said Sunday that Iran would only allow the inspectors to visit that site if they were able to provide "concrete proof" of weapons-related activity.

"They cannot just say we want to talk to this or that person and keep dragging out the case," he said. "They should tell us their aims, and these aims should be towards closing the case."

He also brushed off references in the report to blueprints of detailed nuclear designs, saying they were "baseless" and "media speculation."

The report said that Iran had turned over a document, which it never used, that said in 1987 it obtained blueprints of nuclear information from a network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic program.

Diplomats said the information could be used for making a nuclear bomb.

Iran Raises Stakes on U.N. Inspections

ABC News:

Lawmakers Vote to Block Nuclear Inspections if Iran Is Referred to Security Council


The Associated Press

November 20

TEHRAN, Iran - Raising the stakes before a key vote by the U.N. nuclear agency, lawmakers approved a bill Sunday requiring the government to block inspections of atomic facilities if the agency refers Iran to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

The bill was favored by 183 of the 197 lawmakers present. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio four days before the International Atomic Energy Agency board considers referring Tehran to the Security Council for violating a nuclear arms control treaty. The council could impose sanctions.

When the bill becomes law, as expected, it likely will strengthen the government's hand in resisting international pressure to permanently abandon uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for either nuclear reactors or atomic bombs.

The United States accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its program is for generating electricity.

The bill now will go to the Guardian Council, a hard-line constitutional watchdog, for ratification. The council is expected to approve the measure.

"If Iran's nuclear file is referred or reported to the U.N. Security Council, the government will be required to cancel all voluntary measures it has taken and implement all scientific, research and executive programs to enable the rights of the nation under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," lawmaker Kazem Jalali quoted the bill as saying.

Canceling voluntary measures means Iran would stop allowing in-depth IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities and would resume uranium enrichment. Iran has been allowing short-notice inspections of those facilities.

Iran resumed uranium-reprocessing activities a step before enrichment at its Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in August. It has said it preferred a negotiated solution to begin uranium enrichment.

The United States and Europe want Iran to permanently halt uranium enrichment. But Iran says the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows it to pursue a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, and it will never give up the right to enrich uranium. "Through this bill, we are declaring to Europe that referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council means Europeans are pushing the region toward a crisis," Jalali told the chamber before the vote.

"If it happens, it will impose a heavy cost on the world, the region and European countries themselves."

Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who also oversees the nuclear program, said the vote sends a message that Iran will not give up its legitimate rights to develop a nuclear fuel cycle.

In May, the Guardian Council ratified a bill compelling the government to continue the nuclear program, including uranium enrichment activities. The law set no timetable, however, allowing the government room to maneuver during negotiations with the Europeans.

The 35-member IAEA board of governors meets Thursday in Vienna, Austria. In a preparatory report, the agency found that Iran received detailed nuclear designs from a black-market network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic program. Diplomats say those designs appear to be blueprints for the core of a nuclear warhead.

Khan's network supplied Libya with information for its now-dismantled nuclear weapons program that included an engineer's drawing of an atomic bomb.

The document given to Iran in 1987 showed how to cast "enriched, natural and depleted uranium metal into hemispherical forms," said the confidential IAEA report.

Iran sought Sunday to blunt potential international action over its nuclear program, labeling the report about its blueprints "baseless."

"This is just a media speculation," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

The nuclear program is arguably the only policy in Iran that is supported by all parts of the political spectrum. It is regarded as a source of national pride, and any government abandoning enrichment likely would lose support.

Iran votes to block IAEA inspections

USA Today:

Posted 11/20/2005 9:26 AM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's parliament approved a bill Sunday requiring the government to block international inspections of its nuclear facilities if the nation is referred to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

The bill was approved by 183 of the 197 lawmakers present at the session, which was broadcast live on state-run radio. The vote came four days before the International Atomic Energy Agency board meets to consider referring Tehran for violating a nuclear arms control treaty.

When the bill becomes law, as is expected, it will strengthen the government's hand in resisting international pressure to abandon uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors or an atomic bomb.

The United States accuses Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its program is for generating electricity.

Iran Parliament Votes to Close Atomic Sites to U.N. Monitors

The New York Times:

November 21, 2005


TEHRAN, Nov. 20 - The Iranian Parliament on Sunday approved the outline of a bill that would bar United Nations inspectors from its nuclear sites if the agency referred Iran's case to the Security Council for possible punitive measures.

The board of governors of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to review Iran's case when it meets Thursday. The atomic agency passed a resolution in September and called on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities before the meeting.

The bill needs the approval of the Guardian Council, which has final say over all government actions, to become law. But the approval on Sunday, by 183 of the 197 lawmakers present, suggests that Parliament backs the government's tougher stance on its nuclear program.

"By approving this bill, we are sending a message to the atomic agency," said Aladdin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament's Commission for Foreign Policy and National Security, urging the agency not to act against Iran.

"Otherwise, we require the government to suspend all its voluntary measures," he said, according to the ISNA student news agency. Mr. Boroujerdi was referring to Iran allowing inspection of its nuclear sites.

Iran defied an agreement with Britain, France and Germany in August and resumed activities at a nuclear site near Isfahan.

It further complicated diplomacy last week after it fed a new batch of uranium into the plant. The work includes converting mined uranium, or yellowcake, into a gas known as uranium tetrafluoride, or UF4, a step before enrichment. In his report on Friday, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's "transparency and indispensable" cooperation but urged it to suspend enrichment-related activities and to allow inspectors to visit Lavizan-Shian, a military site near Tehran.

The United States accused Iran last year of dismantling buildings at Lavizan-Shian and removing topsoil from the area to hide experiments related to nuclear weapons.

Iran said the razed construction was not related to military or nuclear work.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Assefi, said Sunday that Iran would allow the inspectors to visit that site only if they could provide "concrete proof" of activity related to weapons. "They cannot just say we want to talk to this or that person and keep dragging out the case," he said. "They should tell us their aims, and these aims should be towards closing the case."

He brushed off references in the report to blueprints of nuclear designs, saying they were "baseless" and "media speculation."

The report said Iran had turned over a document - which it had never used - that said that in 1987 it obtained blueprints of nuclear information from a network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic program.

Khavaran Mass Grave Destroyed

From Radio Farda in Persian:

A group of strangers destroyed the grave markings created by families of those who perished in the massacres of political prisoners in Iran in 1988. The victims of this genocide were buried by bulldozer in mass graves. Years later, the families created makeshift graves and other markings. These were destroyed by strangers last week.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Iran rejects UN rights censure


Sunday 20 November 2005 Iran has rejected UN censure of its human rights record, saying it will not give in to such pressure, state television reported.

The TV newscaster on Saturday quoted the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as dismissing Friday's UN committee resolution on Iranian human rights as "political", and challenging Canada's credentials to propose it.

"Canada was not competent to judge about human rights. It just tried to interpret the UN mission to serve its own political purposes," Asefi said, according to the newscaster.

The UN committee had passed a resolution that deplored Iran's use of torture, degrading punishment such as flogging and amputation, discrimination against women and intimidation of political opponents.


It demanded that Iran stop executing people under 18, discriminating against ethnic and religious minorities, and intimidating defence lawyers, journalists and the opposition.

The resolution passed by a vote of 77 to 51, with 46 nations abstaining.

The television quoted Asefi as saying Iran would not give in to political pressure.

"The resolution was a part of an attempt to divert public opinion from the existing social and political realities in Iran," Asefi was reported as saying.

Russians taking advantage of Iran US sanctions

Iran Mania:

LONDON, November 20 (IranMania) - The US sanctions against Iran has given Russian dealers the opportunity to sell their worn-out airplanes to Iran, according to CHN.

"Iranian technology in making airplanes is much developed than that of the Russians. Even the Russians use western planes for their own airlines," says Hashem Afsarian, aviation expert and manager of Simay-e Parvaz Company, adding, "and meanwhile, Iran has adopted a wrong approach of buying Russian airplanes for renovation of the country's aviation fleet"

Afsarian believes that Russian dealers have taken the most advantage of Iran's problems due to US sanctions and through different methods persuade Iranian to buy Russian airplanes, CHN added.

Aviation experts and specialists believe that airplanes currently produced in Russia can not be a proper replacement for western airplanes, because the western airplanes enjoy several advantages, including that they are more economical, they enjoy better technical support and maintenance services, better designs, and use less energy.

According to Afsarian, new models of Russian airplanes will be built with westerners' cooperation and technology within one or two years. If Iran is going to provide its airplanes from Russia, it would be better to negotiate with them for buying the new models, CHN noted.

Afsarian believes that buying the average 12/13-year-old used airplanes from the west under the supervision of experts will be a good way for renovation of the aviation fleet of the country. Another way to overcome the sanctions could be to register aerial companies by private sector in foreign countries such as Dubai and using their airplanes for domestic flights..

"Experience shows that western countries prefer doing business with private companies for airplane deals rather than Iran Air, which is a representative of Iran's government," says Afsarian.

Therefore, Iran should pave the way for the activity of powerful private companies for buying airplanes.

The Islamic Republic praised communist atheist dictator Fidel Castro as an ally against the US - and Israel

La Nueva Cuba:

New Cuban Ambassador to Tehran Fernando N. Garcia conferred here Sunday with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and submitted a copy of his credentials to him.

According to the Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Bureau, at the meeting the two sides reviewed the latest developments in mutual ties and explored avenues for expansion of ties between Tehran and Havana.

Describing the Cuban president as among prominent international politicians, Mottaki said Fidel Castro taught a very good lesson to world countries particularly those in Latin America on how to stand firm in their positions.

Iran considers Fidel Castro as a valuable asset for the Latin American nations, Mottaki said, adding that the comments made by Cuban president about late Imam Khomeini showed his firm stance which is very valuable for Iran.

Calling the two sides' cooperation at mutual and international levels as very good, he underlined the two sides common stands on various issues and called for expansion of all-out relations in political, economic and commercial fields.

The new Cuban ambassador, for his part, called for consolidation of ties between the two countries, and for more concrete strides to be taken towards expansion of mutual relations.

Iran's deeply-rooted culture and civilizations have attracted the attention of numerous countries, he said adding that the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran was a turning point in the history of human kind.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bayaniyeh Reza Pahlavi shahriyare iran

Reza Pahlavi Official Site:

Bayaaniyeyeh Reza Pahlavi piraamoon-e naameyeh 70 daaneshjooyeh Irani va faraakhaan-e akheer-e 674 fa'aal-e siyaasi va farhangi: 27 Abaan maah: (November 18th, 2005)

بیانیه رضا پهلوی

پیرامون نامه ۷۰ دانشجوی ایرانی و

فراخوان اخیر ۶۷۴ فعّال سیاسی و فرهنگی

۲۷ آبان ماه ۱۳۸۴

هم میهنان عزیزم نامه بیش از ۷۰ دانشجوی آزادیخواه خطاب به احزاب و شخصیّت های اپوزیسیون ایران و نیز نامه اخیر ۶۷۴ نفر از فعّالان سیاسی، فرهنگی، اجتماعی و دانشجوئی، بار دیگر رهبران سیاسی و روشنفکران ایران (خصوصاً در خارج از کشور) را مورد خطاب (و گاه «عتاب») قرار داده است. این دو نامه، در شرایطی انتشار یافته اند که با سخنرانی های جنون آمیز رئیس جمهور و دیگر رهبران رژیم اسلامی، میهن ما اینک در پرتگاه هولناک ماجراجوئی ها و جنگ افروزی های جدید قرار گرفته است. این دو نامه – در عین حال – نشانة بیداری ملّی و تلاش ملّت ما در تحقّق خواست های آزادیخواهانه و مطالبات عادلانه ای است که بی اعتنائی رهبران جمهوری اسلامی به آنها، اینک محور مشترک مبارزات مردم ما را شکل می دهد: مبارزة مشترکی که اساس آن، آزادی ایران از چنگ رژیم حاکم و سپس تعیین نوع نظام سیاسی آینده برمبنای حقوق بشر و با آراء و ارادة آزادانة ملت ایران می باشد. این خواست معقول، مدنی، مسالمت آمیز و دموکراتیک، امروزه حتّی برای «ابجدخوانان کلاس سیاست» نیز قابل درک و قبول است، لذا اگر هنوز کسانی هستند که با الهام از «گورستان» ها یا بقول زندانی شجاع و سرفراز (اکبر گنجی): با ایجاد «سنگرهای مصنوعی» و طرح «شبه مسئله ها»، مردم را از «مسائل اساسی» باز می دارند ... در واقع به دوام و بقای رژیم حاکم کمک می کنند. در این شرایط حسّاس و سرنوشت ساز، همة احزاب، سازمان ها و شخصیّت های سیاسی باید «منافع ملّی ایران» را بر «مصالح سیاسی – ایدئولوژیکِ» خود ترجیح دهند تا با تفاهم، اتحاد و مبارزه مشترک برای پایان دادن به کُلیّت این رژیم جهل و جنون و جنایت، به مسئولیّت ملّی و وظیفة تاریخی خویش عمل کنند. در این اتحاد و مبارزة مشترک، من در کنار همة آزادیخواهان ایران بوده ام و خواهم بود. پاینده ایران رضا پهلوی

The first official car-bomb commercial I see!

Iraq the model:

Check out this clip from Iranian TV which came to show us an example of how far hatred can go in a media controlled by a regime led by someone like Ahmedinejad whose administration is clearly and openly encouraging murder, suicide and racism.

Now I don’t live in Jerusalem but I live in Baghdad and daily car-bombs had been causing endless death and suffering for us, so how are we supposed to feel about Iran when we watch such a call for mass murders?

Jerusalem, Baghdad, New York or Madrid or any other city in this world; aren’t these all cities that must submit to the rule of the Imam/Caliphate in the sick ideology of the Mullahs or al-Qaeda.

The world must wake up to this serious and imminent threat that seems so willing to destroy other nations. The UN’s reaction to Ahmedinejad’s threats to destroy whole nations in the region and burn anyone doesn’t agree with him was WEAK and didn’t meet the requirements of the escalating situation.

I don’t what are we waiting for here! There is a regime in Iran that is so keen on developing nuclear power while throwing threats here and there.Why should we wait till something really bad happens? I mean COME ON… it’s so obvious what the Mullahs and Nejad are planning to do.

U.N. expresses concern about human rights in Iran

USA Today:

Posted 11/18/2005 6:16 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. committee passed a resolution Friday expressing concern about human rights violations in Iran, deploring its use of torture, discrimination against women and intimidation of political opponents.

The resolution, proposed by Canada, demands Iran stop executing people under 18, discriminating against ethnic and religious minorities, and intimidating defense lawyers, journalists and the opposition.

It passed by a vote of 77 to 51, with 46 nations abstaining.

"The government of Iran should be singled out and a strong message should be sent that their human rights record and practices are unacceptable," Canada's U.N. Ambassador Alan Rock said after the vote.

The resolution passed after extensive debate in the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social and humanitarian issues. The committee rejected an Iranian attempt to block the vote through a procedural motion.

Among a list of violations, it deplored discrimination against women and "the continuing use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment such as flogging and amputations."

Several nations, mostly from the developing world, argued that singling out Iran would only harden Tehran's stance and set a double standard because rich nations are rarely treated the same way.

"Naming and shaming member states has not been productive in our efforts to promote human rights," Malaysia's representative to the committee said.

Other nations, including Cuba, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela, also opposed the resolution. It had 45 co-sponsors, including the United States and Australia.

Iran tried to block the resolution through a procedural motion that would have killed discussion of it during this session of the General Assembly, which lasts through next summer. But that motion was defeated 70 to 77, with 23 abstentions.

Friday, November 18, 2005

UN watchdog agency finalizing nuclear report on Iran

Yahoo News:

Fri Nov 18, 3:22 AM ET

VIENNA (AFP) - UN atomic inspectors were finalizing a key report on Iran's nuclear program, as the West meets with Russia and China over a deadlock on getting guarantees Tehran will not make atomic weapons, diplomats told AFP.

The report is expected to be released Friday and then presented to a meeting in Vienna next week of the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which will consider whether to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The board is stymied as Russia, Iran's ally and supplier of nuclear technology, opposes the push by the United States and the European Union to bring Tehran before the Security Council.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns would meet in London Friday with EU negotiators Britain, France and Germany as well as Russia and China to discuss what he called Iran's "unwelcome move" to resume uranium conversion.

The move is viewed "with concern," said spokesman Adam Ereli. Iran on Wednesday started a new round of converting uranium ore into into the gas that is the precursor for making enriched uranium.

Enriched uranium can be fuel for civilian power reactors or the raw material for nuclear bombs.

"It is the latest in a series of moves by Iran that, frankly, go against what they themselves have committed themselves to and what the international community has asked of them," Ereli said.

In South Korea, US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin were to meet Friday for talks Washington hopes to focus on nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

Iran has insisted it has a right to develop nuclear fuel for a civilian program designed to produce electricity but the United States and the EU fear Tehran is pursuing a clandestine atomic weapons program.

The London meeting comes after the trio of EU negotiators rejected a Russian proposal to host a meeting with Iran in Moscow early next week. Russian is trying to find a compromise between the EU and Iran.

Talks with the EU aimed at securing guarantees that Iran's program is peaceful collapsed last August when Iran broke a suspension of uranium conversion it had undertaken as a confidence-building measure.

In September, the IAEA board passed a resolution calling on Iran to cease all nuclear fuel work, to return to talks with the EU and to cooperate fully in the IAEA's investigation into its atomic program.

The report expected Friday from IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will be the latest in an investigation that began in February 2003.

Diplomats said IAEA inspectors have found two cases of equipment that raises suspicions of nuclear weapons work but it was not clear if this would be in the report. The first relates to an offer made by black marketeers to Iran in 1987 of equipment for uranium re-conversion and casting capabilities, a diplomat said.

Iran claims it did not take up this offer but IAEA inspectors have found a document that describes in detail uranium metal casting procedures, including how to make hemispheric shapes that would be essential in shaping a bomb.

The diplomat said IAEA inspectors want to know why Iran never told them this was part of the 1987 offer.

The second disturbing finding is a high-speed electronic streak camera IAEA inspectors saw at Iran's Parchin military facility and which could document the implosion explosion that sets off an atomic bomb.

Initial results from an IAEA inspection of Parchin earlier this month showed no sign of nuclear activity, diplomats said, in an apparent strengthening of Iran's case, although final results are not yet in.

Washington charges that Iran is doing nuclear weapons work at the explosives testing center, although this could be in non-nuclear "dry" tests of how such a weapon would function and that would leave no radioactive trace.

Bush seeks Putin's help on Iran, North Korea

Yahoo News:

Fri Nov 18, 2:55 AM ET

BUSAN, South Korea (AFP) - US President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, showing no signs of strains in their relationship, have met for talks focused on nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

"We've got a very important relationship. We value your advice and we value the strategic relationship we've built," Bush said as they sat down on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum summit here.

The US president hoped to win support from Putin to ensure Iran does not get nuclear arms, and erase differences on six-country talks aimed at convincing North Korea to dismantle its atomic weapons programs, US officials said.

But Bush also planned to express concerns about Putin's moves to centralize political power in the Kremlin and Moscow's push to close down foreign-funded non-governmental organizations, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

"It's very agreeable that we have virtually permanent contacts on both bilateral relations and the international agenda," said Putin, who came to APEC hoping to convert Russia's wealth in natural resources into regional influence.

A senior Kremlin official confirmed the talks between Bush and Putin centered on the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea and also touched on developments in Iraq and "the situation around Syria".

The official, Putin's foreign policy advisor Sergei Prikhodko, said the two men also discussed their efforts to fight terrorism, with the Russian leader stressing the importance of Moscow and Washington taking "joint steps" in this area.

On global trade relations, Prikhodko said Putin thanked Bush for US support of Russia's campaign to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) but noted Washington has not yet endorsed Russia's immediate entry into the body.

"A few practical problems remain" on that issue, he said, without elaborating.

Russia and Vietnam are the only two economies in the 21-member APEC forum that have yet to join the WTO.

Despite lingering differences between Moscow and Washington on key issues, Prikhodko said the meeting between Bush and Putin, which lasted for more than an hour and was also attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, took place in a "very warm and good-natured atmosphere".

"I always enjoy a chance to have a good discussion with you," Bush told Putin, setting the casual tone immediately upon entering the room with a "hey, Vladimir, how are you?"

While Moscow has dutifully fallen in line with APEC calls for Europe to trim farm subsidies to free up world trade, real Kremlin passions center on using the forum to cement long-term trade links between Russia's resource-rich Siberian and Far East regions and Pacific Rim countries.

Another key Russian official travelling with Putin, Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko, told reporters that Russia and South Korea were studying future energy and investment projects as part of Kremlin efforts to speed economic development in east Russia.

"We are working on an inter-governmental agreement" that would set out plans for developing infrastructure for natural gas deliveries from the island of Sakhalin and other parts of Russia's Far East to South Korea, Khristenko said.

The US president meanwhile has made clear he aims to rally his partners in the six-party talks in a show of unity aimed at wearing down Pyongyang's resistance to dismantling its atomic weapons and programs.

Earlier, Bush also met with leaders of countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to seek more pressure on Myanmar over human rights and democratic reforms.

"The president is interested in having a frank discussion with leaders who have influence on that regime, on how we can collectively try to improve the situation for the people there," said Mike Green, senior Asia director on Bush's national security council.

Iran Is Reported to Continue Nuclear Activity

The New York Times:

Published: November 18, 2005


BERLIN, Nov. 17 - Iran has resumed converting uranium despite European requests that it abstain from such work pending a new round of negotiations on its nuclear activities, a diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna said Thursday.

The reported resumption of activity, at a nuclear plant in Isfahan, comes days after Iran appeared to rebuff a European proposal that would allow Iran do some converting of uranium into a natural gas at the plant provided the product made there would be sent outside the country, presumably to Russia, for the final processing that would allow it to be used to generate power.

On Saturday, Iran's nuclear chief, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said in Tehran that "Iran's nuclear fuel must be produced inside the country," according to news agency reports.

The Europeans, who have been trying to ensure that Iran does not produce nuclear weapons, had asked the Iranians to cease conversion work until negotiations about the offer had taken place.

"It's not forbidden," the diplomat close to the atomic energy agency said, meaning that the Iranian converting of uranium does not violate theNuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the pending negotiations. "It's significant from the point of view of posturing just at the point of getting back to negotiations, and that has antagonized the Europeans."

Iran maintains that it has the right to enrich the uranium it mines for energy-producing purposes. The conversion work at Isfahan produces a precursor of the uranium-fluoride gas that is a central part of the process of creating nuclear fuel, which could be used either for building bombs or generating electricity.

Iran says that its nuclear activities are intended only for peaceful uses, but the United States and many European countries contend that its goal is to produce nuclear weapons.

Next week the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to meet and consider an American-supported proposal to refer Iran's nuclear activities to the United Nations Security Council for possible penalties.

From Tapes, a Chilling Voice of Islamic Radicalism in Europe

The New York Times:


November 18, 2005

MILAN - Playing an Internet video one evening last year, an Egyptian radical living in Milan reveled as the head of an American, Nicholas Berg, was sawed off by his Iraqi captors.

"Go to hell, enemy of God!" shouted the man, Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, as Mr. Berg's screams were broadcast. "Kill him! Kill him! Yes, like that! Cut his throat properly. Cut his head off! If I had been there, I would have burned him to make him already feel what hell was like. Cut off his head! God is great! God is great!" Yahia Ragheh, the Egyptian would-be suicide bomber sitting by Mr. Ahmed's side, clearly felt uncomfortable. "Isn't it a sin?" he asked.

"Who said that?" Mr. Ahmed shot back. "It is never a sin!" He added: "We hope that even their parents will come to the same end. Dogs, all of them, all of them. You simply need to be convinced when you make the decision."

Unconvinced, Mr. Ragheh replied: "I think that it is a sin. I simply think it is a sin." The blunt exchange is contained in an 182-page official Italian police report that has not been made public, but is widely available in court circles and frames the judicial case against the two men. "The Madrid attack was my project, and those who died as martyrs were my dearest friends," Mr. Ahmed boasted in one intercepted conversation.

He and Mr. Ragheh, his 22-year-old disciple, will be tried in Milan in January under a contentious law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States that makes association with an international terrorist network a crime.

The indictment calls Mr. Ahmed an "organizer of the terrorist group responsible for the Madrid attacks," a "recruiter of numerous people ready to commit suicide attacks," and a "coordinator of terrorist cells" abroad. The police report charges that he used cassette tapes, cellphones, CD's and computers as recruitment tools, highlighting how the Internet potentially can transform any living room into a radical madrasa.

The report says he downloaded hundreds of audio and video files of sermons, communiquιs, poetry, songs, martyrs' testimony, Koranic readings and scenes of battle and suicide bombings from Chechnya, Afghanistan, the Israeli-occupied territories, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kashmir and Iraq.

A onetime house painter who was able to take on new identities, hopscotch across Europe and dodge the police who had him on their watch lists, Mr. Ahmed is believed to have links to radicals in France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Saudi Arabia. The police report calls him a recruiter of suicide bombers for Iraq and at least one other terrorist operation, probably in Europe. For the Italians, Mr. Ahmed is emblematic of the new enemy in their midst.

A Spanish prosecutor is still investigating Mr. Ahmed's alleged role in the Madrid bombings. He cannot be prosecuted in Italy for a terrorist attack that took place in another country.

Portrait in Taps and Tapes

Substantial information about Mr. Ahmed surfaced after preliminary transcripts of some wiretaps and telephone conversations were disclosed last year, first in the Milan daily Corriere della Sera. But the police report offers a richer and more dramatic portrait of both Mr. Ahmed and the process of Islamic radicalization in the heart of Europe.

The detailed transcripts form the heart of the prosecutors' case; the prosecutors concede that there is minimal physical evidence.

Both defendants deny involvement in any terrorist plot. They are challenging the evidence, which is largely gathered from conversations translated from Arabic. All conversations monitored by the Italian police must be retranslated by special court interpreters, but they are more likely to speak classical Arabic rather than the Arabic of the streets.

"It's an important case but it's a difficult case," said Armando Spataro, a deputy chief prosecutor and head of the antiterrorism investigative unit in Milan. "There are no bombs. There was no attack in Italy. The case is based in large part on conversations, not on material proof."

At a preliminary court hearing last May, Mr. Ahmed himself accused the police who prepared the intercepts of twisting his words. He denied ever saying he had a role in the Madrid bombings, explaining that the authorities "interpret this in their own way, at their convenience." His voice, he added, "could have been copied, through the computer." Mr. Ragheh's lawyer, Roberta Ligotti, said some of the tapes were unintelligible.

Mr. Ahmed's defense is complicated by the fact that he fired his court-appointed lawyer in October, and her replacement is still familiarizing himself with the case. Both men have also been questioned by the F.B.I. and the United States Attorney's Office in New York for potential terrorist links in the United States. Mr. Ahmed spoke in the intercepted conversations of plans for a chemical attack against American interests, and was questioned by American officials in Milan last summer. On Nov. 9, three American officials questioned Mr. Ragheh.

"It was all very speculative questioning," Ms. Ligotti said. "I don't know what they're investigating him for in the United States, if he's been charged with something or just a witness."

Egyptian-born and educated, Mr. Ahmed was attached to an explosives brigade during his military service in Egypt, was linked to radical groups and spent time in a maximum security prison there for people involved in extremist activities, Egyptian officials told Italian investigators.

Hooked on the Internet

At the height of the nearly three-month investigation, the Italian police said they had a six-way monitoring system for Mr. Ahmed.

They installed devices on both his telephone and home computer, planted an in-house wiretap and video cameras in both his apartment and outside the building and trailed him round the clock. The cameras even recorded him praying. When Mr. Ahmed suddenly changed apartments, the police had to start over. At one point, 40 police officers a day were assigned to the case.

One of the most chilling aspects of the police report is that Mr. Ahmed apparently found the Internet more exhilarating than any drug.

He used a fictitious e-mail address in which he listed the month and the day of the Madrid attacks as his birthday and his place of birth as Centerville, Va.

The files he is charged with downloading range from the "complete story" compiled by a Saudi opposition group of the 1996 terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that left 19 Americans in the armed services dead to plaintive recitations by children to their fathers imprisoned in places like Guantαnamo, Cuba, and Pakistan.

With his vast online library, Mr. Ahmed fought a virtual war for hours on end, sometimes throughout the night, educating himself and others.

"He used the Internet at all hours like a drug," Mr. Spataro said. "It's a much-needed link to the outside world for people like him."

Among the dozen files Mr. Ahmed apparently monitored in one predawn session in March 2004, for example, were video of battles in Chechnya and speeches by Osama bin Laden. One audio file attacked Jews and Christians and all who collaborate with them, another invited followers to wage holy war against infidels who follow the "laws of the devil."

A young girl on a third audio file asked if she could have a kamikaze belt so that she could "blow up" her body; a man on a fourth declared, "One day's resistance for the holy war is worth 1,000 years of life." Among the "poems for jihadists" was one that repeated over and over, "I am a terrorist; I am a terrorist."

The attraction to death was a constant feature. One evening, Mr. Ahmed opened a file named, "Allah has said that each person has tasted death," with links to subjects like "death is easy" and "the tomb."

A song Mr. Ahmed listened to one weekend went: "We are terrorists, we want to make it known to the world, from West to East that we are terrorists, because terrorism, as a verse of the Koran says, is a thing approved by God."

The sites are filled not only with calls for the destruction of Israel but also raw anti-Semitism. In one question-and-answer session with a Saudi sheik who is asked what suicide operations against Jews are allowed under Islamic law, the sheik responds that Jews are "vile and despicable beings, full of defects and wickedness." God, he added, "has ordered us to wage war against them."

Mr. Ahmed installed and demonstrated a computer program that allowed the simultaneous setting of alarms on multiple cellphones, the report said. The system masks the country of origin of the caller, underscoring the borderless nature of communications. "You must know," Mr. Ahmed said, "that in today's world everything is linked by a wire."

He erased potentially incriminating files, including 11 photographs and diagrams of explosive suitcases to be triggered by a cellphone and vests modified for suicide attacks. The Italian police recovered them.

There were cassette tapes and CD's to help rid Mr. Ragheh of fear as he trained for a suicide mission. "These are very special cassettes that show the path of the martyr and they will make everything easier when you feel them enter your body," Mr. Ahmed told Mr. Ragheh in one conversation. "But you must listen to them continuously."

One cassette in particular, he explained, "enters into your veins."

"In Spain they learned this by heart," he added. "And it gives you security and tranquillity. It takes the fear away."

Mr. Ragheh was entranced, saying, "Come on, come on, give one to me so that I may learn it."

Mr. Ahmed also said he would use his computer to create an appropriate martyr's portrait of Mr. Ragheh, "with the light behind you, with your angelic face." "And you have the green background behind you and the moon above you." He promised to send the image by computer to Mr. Ragheh's family and to other young martyrs. There would also be a martyrs' video that would be taped the night before an attack.

'We Are Entering Rome'

The Italians began monitoring Mr. Ahmed shortly after the Madrid attacks, after the Spanish police found his cellphone number in the address book of two of the men suspected of involvement in the plot. A witness identified him as having visited the safe house near Madrid where the bombs were made just days before the attacks. The police report contains dozens of pages of conversations that the police recorded and translated.

In one, Mr. Ahmed appeared to be recruiting people to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq and preparing a second attack, perhaps in Europe.

In another conversation, he branded President Bush as "the dog who is the son of all dogs." He said that the party of Spain's prime minister at the time, Josι Marνa Aznar, deserved to fail in the election just days after the Madrid bombings and called the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy "dictatorial," expressing hope that "God will bring disaster upon it."

The Italian authorities had hoped to watch Mr. Ahmed much longer but felt compelled to arrest him after hearing particularly troubling phone conversations. On May 24, 2004, Mr. Ahmed discussed an "operation" that had started four days before with a would-be suicide bomber living in Belgium named Mourad Chabarou. Mr. Chabarou said he would be "completely ready" in 25 days, and the two men planned to meet in Paris.

Then came a conversation that struck closer to home. "Rome, we are entering Rome, Rome, if God wishes we are entering, even entering Rome," Mr. Ahmed told Mr. Ragheh, the other potential suicide bomber, as if in a trance. "Rome, Rome, we are opening Rome with those from Holland. Rome, Rome, if God wishes, Rome is opening. It will be. It will be."

Italy, like Spain, had troops as part of the American-led coalition in Iraq, and after the Madrid bombings, the Italian authorities thought their country might be the next target. They also believed that Mr. Ahmed was about to flee, probably for Paris.

On June 7, 2004, Mr. Ahmed and Mr. Ragheh were arrested.

Mr. Ahmed knows that the contents of his conversations as well as of his computer will be used against him in the trial. Even as Mr. Ahmed sat in custody, the police were listening to him.

In a holding cell shortly after his arrest, he worried aloud to Mr. Ragheh that the police "will find the pages I downloaded."

He displayed none of the serenity he tried to impose on his disciples. He cursed whoever betrayed him to the police and predicted he would spend at least 30 years in prison.

"Things here are strange, they are strange, strange," he confided to a friend. "I do not understand a thing."

The friend tried to comfort him, saying: "Why do you torture yourself in this way? Leave everything in the hands of God."

But Mr. Ahmed seemed inconsolable, adding later in the conversation, "Believe me, I swear to you, I've had this feeling before and I haven't heard the voice of God." In mid-October the two suspects, bearded and in jeans, were taken handcuffed under heavy guard to a Milan courtroom for what was supposed to have been the start of their trial. They chatted and joked with their lawyers from inside a large metal cage.

The trial was delayed for three months to give the judge, Luigi Domenico Cerqua, who has been ill, time to recover. The judge ruled in a case last May that Italy's terrorism law was written so narrowly that conviction was extremely difficult, adding to the prosecution's anxiety about the chances for a conviction, which could bring a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

In various interrogations, Mr. Ahmed has even denied knowing anything about computers and the Internet.

"I am weak in the language of the computer, even just to switch on the computer," he said. At another point he said that because he was from Egypt, "How can I learn the computer or the Internet?" He added, "It is not a sin not to know computers." Brian Wingfield contributed reported from Milan for this article, and Elisabetta Povoledo from Rome.

9:00AM Sat. Let's challenge Amirahmadi on Paltalk re. Nuclear Technology

SOS Iran:

A L E R T Here is an opportunity for those of you that would like to challenge H. Amir Ahmadi.

I would suggest to be prepared to challenge

1. Is it a national issue or IRI issue?

2. Other technology advancements that may be reached such as medicine, agricultural, testing, and others

3. The reason we need or Not need nuclear energy

4. Actual and accurate cost per power plan. a. Be prepare to hear bogus numbers on Power plan pricing

5. Price of Maintaining a power plan

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Zahra Kazemi case- justice must be served

Amnesty International:

Amnesty International is renewing its call for the establishment of an open and independent investigation into the death in custody of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, following the announcement yesterday that the Appeals Court has upheld the acquittal of an Iranian Ministry of Intelligence official initially accused of the crime.

On 16 November, the Appeals Court verdict was announced, upholding the acquittal of Mohammad Reza Aghdam. His lawyer told reporters that the Judiciary had concluded that there had been shortcomings into the investigation into the July 2003 death in custody, and had ordered that the case be sent back to the General and Revolutionary Court for a new investigation.

The organization welcomes the announcement of a new investigation, and urges that it be thorough and independent, in order to establish the circumstances of Zahra Kazemi's violent death on 12 July 2003, and to ensure justice. Those carrying out the investigation should be empowered to

- summon witnesses, including members of the Office of the Tehran Chief Prosecutor, - compel the disclosure of documents, - ensure the protection of witnesses from harassment or intimidation, - develop mechanisms to prevent the recurrence of similar human rights violations in the future.


On 23 June 2003, 53-year old Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested for taking photographs outside Evin prison. According to a governmental enquiry, Zahra Kazemi died as a result of a blow to her skull, while she was under guard at the Baghiyetollah (or Baghiyeta’zam) hospital in Tehran. The report recommended that the case be examined by a "special independent investigator" from the judiciary and that public information should be "swift".

On 29 July 2003 judicial officials announced that five officials, including three members of Tehran's judiciary, and two Intelligence Ministry officials had been arrested in connection with her death, and the following day, a government spokesperson stated that Zahra Kazemi had been murdered. However, four of the five arrested officials were subsequently released and only Mohammad Reza Aghdam, an official of the Ministry of Intelligence, was charged in connection with Zahra Kazemi's death. He went on trial on 2 October 2003 but was acquitted on 24 July 2004. During his trial, lawyers representing the Kazemi family asserted that a judiciary official who had not been charged, not the defendant, was responsible for the death.

Following the acquittal, the lawyers of the Kazemi family appealed to the Supreme Court, citing “incomplete preliminary proceedings” of the lower court, and the need to reclassify her death as murder. The lawyers asked the Court to re-open inquiries into her death, and said that Ali Yunesi, the Minister of Intelligence at the time, and Tehran Public Prosecutor Said Mortazavi should both be summoned to appear before the court.

The first appeal hearing before the Tehran Appeal Court took place on 16 May 2005 and lasted only an hour, during which the lawyers for the family were unable to speak, and journalists were expelled from the courtroom. The second hearing of the appeal took place on 27 July 2005.

Just days after the close of the hearing, a member of the legal team representing Zahra Kazemi’s family, leading human rights defender and lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, was arrested. He has since been detained without access to lawyers and with very limited access to his family. The newspaper Kayhan, which has close links to the Judiciary, reported that on the last day of the appeal proceedings brought by Zahra Kazemi’s family, Abdolfattah Soltani had openly suggested that the state could be responsible for her death, and that for these comments, “quick retribution” against him was inevitable. Judicial officials stated he had been detained in connection with the release of classified information relating to the trial of some clients of his accused of spying on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Amnesty International believes that the continued detention, apparently without charge, of Abdolfattah Soltani is politically motivated, designed to bar him from the legal profession, and expressly intended to discourage other human rights defenders from pursuing cases of impunity or defending political cases. If so, Abdolfattah Soltani should be released immediately and unconditionally, but at the very least he should be granted immediate and regular access to his family and his lawyers and given the earliest opportunity to defend himself against any charges the Iranian authorities may wish to bring against him.

For more information concerning the death in custody of Zahra Kazemi, please see: An independent inquiry must be opened into the death of Zahra Kazemi, AI Index MDE 13/022/2003, 15 July 2003. It can be viewed at:

And: Only an independent investigative body can serve justice and human rights, AI Index MDE 13/026/2003, 1 August 2003, which can be viewed at: