Thursday, July 15, 2004

Iran reappoints Jannati to head Guardian Council

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iran reappoints Jannati to head Guardian Council

TEHRAN: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has reappointed a senior hardline cleric to head a powerful constitutional watchdog seen by moderates as one of the key obstacles to reform in the Islamic state.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who has been a member of the 12-strong Guardian Council since its creation in 1979, was granted another five-year-term after his current period expired, the council said on its Web site on Thursday. As secretary of the veto-wielding body, Jannati is one of the most powerful officials in Iran.
The watchdog, comprised of six clerics and six Islamic jurists, has the power to block legislation it deems un-Islamic or unconstitutional and can also bar candidates it considers unfit from standing in parliamentary or presidential elections.
Analysts said Jannati's reappointment was of little surprise since Khamenei has tended to keep faith with most of the key officials he has the power to appoint. But one conservative commentator said Khamenei was aware that public opinion of the council was low due to its role in blocking reformist legislation and candidates in recent years. "Perhaps Khamenei will try to modify the Guardian Council's behaviour," said Amir Mohebian, editor of the conservative Resalat newspaper."

Shiite leadership clash in Iran, Iraq (Why do they write Stories like this?)

Middle America: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Shiite leadership in a clash of theology in Iran, Iraq: "Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Shiite leadership in a clash of theology in Iran, Iraq
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Middle East: Shiite leadership clash in Iran, Iraq:

'Shiite leadership clash in Iran’ strikes me as a divisive way to approach this story. Iraq is primarily an Arab country while Iran is Persian. Keep in mind that Arabs are Semites, an Afro-Asiatic speaking people who are closer to the Jews ethnically then they are to the Persians. The people we call Persians are a mixture of Indo-European and Altaic people who have come together over thousands of years and formed a strong and unified people. So there are differences in the Shiite of Iran and Iraq and some want to exploit those differences. Now this huge block of Shiites is scaring the world and some wish to divide them. Between the Shiite in Arabia, Iran and Iraq they live over much of the world’s oil and the West fears that a united Iran and Iraq may free their oppressed brothers in places like Saudi Arabia and then change the face of world politics changes. So when you see these stories that try to split Shiite Moslems ask yourself why ? "Why split the Shiite?" and "Who stands to gain from any discension?" JBOC


'Shiite leadership clash in Iran, Iraq
By HAMZA HENDAWI
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
An Iraqi man prays inside the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq, Wednesday, July 14, 2004. With Shiites empowered in postwar Iraq, the leadership of the world's estimated 170 million followers is at stake between the Shiite ayatollahs of Iraq and Iran, and the outcome will have profound consequences not only for the two nations but the entire Islamic faith. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- For centuries, enmity between Arabs and Persians has shaped much of the Middle East - from the Arab conquests of the 7th century to the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s.

Now, with Shiites empowered in postwar Iraq, the gloves are off again. But this time, the antagonists are the Shiite ayatollahs of Iraq, a mainly Arab country, and Iran, formerly Persia.

At stake is the leadership of the world's estimated 170 million Shiites - and the outcome will have profound consequences not only for the two nations but the entire Islamic faith.

At the heart of the conflict is a rivalry between the holy cities of Najaf in Iraq and Qom in neighboring Iran."

Middle America: Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea

Middle America: Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea: "Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea
Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea: 'Bush's pre-emption policy is softened for Iran and North Korea
David E. Sanger NYT
Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Even as President George W. Bush turns his doctrine of pre-emptive action against powers threatening the United States into a campaign theme, Washington is using a far more subdued, take-it-slowly approach to the dangers of unconventional weapons in Iran and North Korea. There are many reasons for the yawning gap between Bush's campaign language and the reality. One of the most important is woven throughout the searing 511-page critique of the intelligence that led America to war last year, released Friday by the Senate Intelligence Committee."

Middle America: Iran will fight terrorism in its own way: Rafsanjani

Middle America: Iran will fight terrorism in its own way: Rafsanjani: "Iran will fight terrorism in its own way: Rafsanjani: 'Iran will fight terrorism in its own way: Rafsanjani
Tehran, July 13, IRNA -- Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Tuesday that Iran will fight terrorism independently and cautiously.
In a meeting with the visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Rafsanjani further said that the Islamic Revolution and the system have suffered tremendously from terrorism.

'The double-faced and biased approach of the United States towards this ominious phenomenon is not only defeating efforts to fight it but also escalating the problem,' he said. "

Chennai Online News Service - 'Indo-US relationship is warm'

Chennai Online News Service - View News: "

'Indo-US relationship is warm'
Search for More News
Washington, July 15: US today said the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage's meetings in New Delhi with top Indian leaders reflected the "warm and collaborative nature" of Indo-US relationship.

"The United States and India remain close friends and partners. All of (Richard) Armitage's meetings reflected the warm and collaborative nature of our relationship with India and they are indicative of the direction we want the relationship to proceed," State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher said here yesterday.

He said Armitage was the highest-ranking US government official to visit India after the new Congress-led UPA government came to power. Asked whether Armitage found any disposition "in that region" for contribution of troops to Iraq, Boucher said "there is not anything to report at this point. Obviously, other governments will have to give their positions on this. This was not a major topic in India. I think the Indian Government has already been quite clear on what its position is."

During his brief visit, Armitage had meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs minister K Natwar Singh, Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee, National Security Adviser J N Dixit besides holding extensive parleys with foreign secretary Shashank.

He briefed the leaders on the Iraq situation, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir besides other regional issues. The US has not made any request for contribution of troops to Iraq, he said, adding, India had, however, indicated ways in which it may be helpful in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the war-ravaged country."

Gulf Daily News

Gulf Daily News: "Iran's mobile sector strong


TEHRAN: Government officials and independent analysts this week forecast a bright future for Iran's mobile telephone sector, which they say has probably the highest growth potential of any market in the Middle East.
But analysts cautioned that strong investor interest in the country of 67 million people could be undermined by perceived risks in Iran's regulatory structure.
'With investment from foreign operators almost guaranteed in Iran due to its high potential for growth, how quickly this investment moves into the telecoms sector will depend on Iran's regulatory development,' said Lucy Norton, telecoms analyst with UK-based World Markets Research Centre.
Speaking at a regional telecommunications conference in Tehran, Norton said clear rules on issues such as the granting of new licences and interconnection between different operators were 'essential to maintaining the high level of foreign operator interest in Iran'.
Other analysts noted the Communications and Information Technology Ministry's decision to retain supervisory and regulatory authorities instead of setting up an independent regulator created concerns that it could be biased in favour of the state-run operator in the market."