Wednesday, August 11, 2004

IN SEARCH OF AN IRAN POLICY - Amir Taheri - Benador Associates

IN SEARCH OF AN IRAN POLICY - Amir Taheri - Benador Associates: "This is in sync with Sen. John Kerry's long-held views. In a conversation on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, almost two years ago, Kerry spoke of his desire to 'engage Iran in a constructive dialogue.' Last December, in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, Kerry promised to adopt 'a realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran,' ultimately leading to normalization 'just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam, a decade ago.' "

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "U.S. Will Obtain No Result In Iraq: Rafsanjani

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Chairman of the Expediency Council (EC) Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Tuesday that the United States will obtain no result from the violation of the sanctity of the holy sites and massacre of people in Iraq.
Addressing a gathering of participants at the 7th conference of heads of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) offices abroad, Rafsanjani condemned crimes committed by occupiers in Iraq, particularly in the holy city of Najaf.
The United States does not enjoy the support of public as the axis of its move towards stability and peace, he said.
He called the press war the vanguard of economic, cultural, and social wars and said world powers are imposing pressure to prevent the dissemination of true information by the media.
The EC chairman stressed the importance of publishing true news for those who intend to be informed of Iran's development."

Iran Protests Iraq's Arrest of Four Iranian News Agency Workers Top Worldwide: "Iran Protests Iraq's Arrest of Four Iranian News Agency Workers
Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Iran protested Iraq's arrest of four people working for the Iranian news agency in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and demanded their immediate release, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.
Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency cited Hassan Kazemi Qomi, Iran's envoy in Baghdad, as saying the head of the agency's bureau in Baghdad and three local workers were arrested on Monday by Iraqi police. They are being held at the Iraqi Interior Ministry and no reason for their detention has been given, Qomi said.
The arrests are an ``illegal and unacceptable move,'' IRNA cited the Foreign Ministry as saying yesterday in Tehran. Iran also asked Iraq for clarifications about an Iranian diplomat missing since last week, the ministry said.
Relations between the neighboring countries were strained this week after Iraq's defense minister accused Iran of supplying arms to the militia of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which is fighting U.S.-led coalition forces in Najaf and the Baghdad district of Sadr City. Iran denied the charges. "

Daily Times - Site Edition

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iran arrests American on Pakistani border
TEHRAN: Iranian security forces have detained an American who illegally crossed the border from Pakistan, the student's news agency ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The news agency quoted an official in the southeastern province of Sistan as saying the Jewish American from California was detained on Tuesday afternoon.

It said initial questioning had established his identity and the case had been referred to the judiciary. "It makes no difference to us where he is from. The point is he has entered Iranian territory illegally," the news agency quoted the official as saying. afp"

:: Xinhuanet - English ::

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "3 Iran journalists arrested by Iraqi police: IRNA 2004-08-12 07:21:24

TEHRAN, Aug. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Three journalists of the Iranian state news agency IRNA were arrested by Iraqi police, the official IRNA agency reported Wednesday.

An earlier report by Iranian state television said they were kidnapped.

The agency said Iraqi police confiscated the equipment of the three, who are identified as IRNA's Baghdad bureau chief Mostafa Darban and two Iraqi staff.

IRNA quoted Iraqi police as saying that they were aware of the case, but did not reveal who arrested them.

The agency's office in Baghdad has been out of telephone contact with Tehran since Monday, and the Iranian embassy was following the case."


RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "U.S., Iran Spar Verbally Over Tehran's Nuclear Program

11 August 2004 --The United States is renewing accusations that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program, calling it a threat to stability when combined with Tehran's latest medium-range missiles.

U.S. Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli made the statement at a briefing today in Washington.

It followed Iran's test of an upgraded version of its Shahab-3 missile, which can fly 1,300 kilometers, putting Israel within its range.

Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami insisted that his country's nuclear program is intended to produce energy, not weapons.

After a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Khatami warned against interfering with Iran's right to pursue the program.

"We hope to resolve the issue through justifications, explanations, and calm. But if anyone wanted to deprive us of our right, we and our nation would be ready to pay the price and not to abandon our national right [to pursue a peaceful nuclear program]."

Khatami also said he believes concerns about Iran's nuclear program will be resolved in the next few months and blamed the United States for instigating unwarranted pressure.

"There is no reason to pressure Iran, except for political purposes, and I am sorry to say that it has all come down to the bad behavior of the United States that has been trying to influence others in this regard."

Earlier this month, Iran confirmed it has resumed building centrifuges to enrich uranium, which can be used in energy-producing reactors or nuclear weapons."

Iran-Pakistan Defense Cooperation Imperative: Pakistan Lawmaker

Description of Selected News: "

Iran-Pakistan Defense Cooperation Imperative: Pakistan Lawmaker

ISLAMABAD (IRNA) -- A member of the Pakistan Parliament on Wednesday said a viable cooperation in the defense sector between Iran and Pakistan is imperative.

In an interview with IRNA, Qari Fayyazur Rehman said that Tehran and Islamabad should forge as strong a defense cooperation as possible, exploiting their commonalties in various areas.

He hailed the recent visit of Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri to Iran, saying this was of special significance in the given regional and international situation.

The member of the lower house of parliament (National Assembly) maintained that the two brotherly countries also needed to further expand their bilateral cooperation in the trade and economic areas.

Deploring allegations against Islamic countries, Qari Alvi called upon Iran and Pakistan to lead the Muslim world in defending its religious identity in the wake of the anti-Islam onslaught.

"Tehran and Islamabad are capable of safeguarding the rights of Islamic countries," he asserted.

In the backdrop of threats to some Muslim countries, he strongly advocated for unity in the ranks of the Islamic ummah, saying these countries needed to forge a strategic defense cooperation."

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "Ground Prepared For Australian Investment In Iran: Rowhani

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hasan Rowhani stressed the importance of delegating power to Iraqi nation and withdrawing of foreign forces to establish stability and security in that country.

Rowhani, in a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in Canberra on Wednesday, pointed to critical situation in Iraq and said the U.S. has weakened long-term cooperation in the region through its policies in Iraq.

"Unilateralism in Iraq proved that such a policy is not capable in settling important regional and international issues. The U.S. attack on the holy cities will result in dire consequences for the United States and peace, stability and security in Iraq.

"The Americans do not know the Iraqi culture and thus committed mistakes such as attacking Najaf," he said.

The U.S. cannot find a place in the hearts of Iraqi nation through soldiers, weapons and military occupation, he added.

The SNSC secretary noted that delay in holding election of National Conference in Iraq would not be in the interest of the country and expressed his concern over postponement of the election in January.

He cited U.S. plan to establish long-term military stations in Iraq as among the American's strategic mistakes and underlined the importance of consultation and cooperation among regional and Iraq's neighboring states.

He warned against the efforts by the Zionist regime to disintegrate Iraq and termed such measures as "very dangerous". The secretary also stressed Tehran's policy of tightening border controls and security.

Pointing to good bilateral relations between Tehran and Canberra, Rowhani said ties between the two countries have great potentials for development and should be utilized to the benefit of both sides.

The sides can boost their relations in various political, economic, industrial, scientific, research and tourism fields, he noted, adding that suitable grounds are prepared for Australian companies to invest in Iran.

"Oil, gas and mines are among important fields for expansion of ties which can consolidate industrial and economic cooperation," he stated.

Downer, for his part, termed bilateral ties between Iran and Australia as good, saying despite some differences, mutual relations are constructive and positive.

The minister appreciated Iran's stance on support for UN resolutions and the Iraqi interim government and expressed regret over postponement of the election of National Conference in Iraq.

He confirmed Iran's policies on the need to safeguard Iraqi territorial integrity and restoration of stability and security in Iraq.

He voiced confidence over Iran's interest in keeping peace, stability and security in Iraq and called for further involvement of Tehran to this effect.

He stressed restoration of peace in Iraq to hold elections as scheduled and ask for UN role in this regard. -------Rowhani Stresses Role Of Parliaments In Expanding Iran-Australia Ties

Rowhani also stressed the eminent role of parliaments in democratic systems and emphasized the role of the two parliaments in expanding Tehran-Canberra ties.

Making the remarks in a meeting with Australian Parliament Speaker Neil Andrew in Canberra Wednesday, he referred to the good ties between the two countries in the past years and said Iran and Australia enjoy good potentials in economic, political, cultural and parliamentary areas to boost relations.

Referring to the new regulations in Iran regarding foreign investments, the SNSC secretary said that the new regulations have paved the way for foreign countries including Australia to make investment in Iran.

Touching upon the issue of terrorism, he believed campaigns against terrorism should be carried out in an in discriminatory manner and within the international scope.

He also said his country's high potentials in the agricultural field could make mutual cooperation in this area possible and expressed his opinion that fighting against terrorism was of particular importance."

The Daily Star - Editorial - The right moment to address crucial Iraq-Iran relations

The Daily Star - Editorial - The right moment to address crucial Iraq-Iran relations: "The right moment to address crucial Iraq-Iran relations

Thursday, August 12, 2004
In the midst of an escalating war of words, Iran has extended an invitation to interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to visit Tehran to defuse what has the potential to become a dangerous row. Accusations of Iranian involvement in the Iraqi insurgency are mounting, and the abduction of an Iranian diplomat by a group of Iraqi militants has served to increase tensions between the two countries and threatens to unravel an already delicate regional balance.

Iraq is increasingly faced with negotiating what seems to be an impossible high-wire act: balancing relations with its neighbors against the Mideast's tenuous political backdrop. Iraqis have recognized the value of maintaining and tending such alliances. Allawi recently completed an eight-nation regional tour in which he held talks with leaders of neighboring countries. But Iraq must go a step further to solidify good relations with Turkey and Iran. Just as a problem in the relationship with Turkey could shatter Iraq, a wrong turn in its relationship with Iran could cause Iraq to implode.

The delicate balance with Iran is frustrated by external factors. The Iranian political invasion of Iraq has coincided with the US-led invasion, resulting in friction, mishaps and sourness for both Iranians and Iraqis. But eventually the US occupation of Iraq will end, and Iraqis and Iranians will be left to negotiate among themselves.

So it is a sign of real political astuteness that Iranians have recognized the need to iron things out with Baghdad now. Allawi must also recognize that he cannot achieve stability in Iraq without cooperation with Iran. There are many possible grounds on which Iraq and Iran could forge better relations, ranging from a relationship based on a shared majority-Shiite culture to an alliance between two independent neighboring states. Between these two options lies the chasm where the Iraqi experiment can either come crashing down or the two states will find a political passage. What is certain is that Iran must take the government of President Ghazi al-Yawer and Allawi seriously, on the basis of their own merits. And Iraqis must recognize that their existence after the US leaves depends on good relations with their neighbors."

Iran Tests Missile Capable of Hitting Israel

International News Article | "Iran Tests Missile Capable of Hitting Israel
Wed Aug 11, 2004 05:00 PM ET

By Paul Hughes
TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iran said Wednesday it carried out a successful field test of the latest version of its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which defense experts say can reach Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf.

Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said last week Iran was working to improve the range and accuracy of the Shahab-3 in response to Israel's moves to boost its anti-missile capability.

The defense ministry, in a brief statement carried on the official news agency IRNA, said the test of the new Shahab-3 "was carried out successfully. ... The predetermined targets were hit in the testing," it said.

Iran says its missile program is purely for deterrent purposes. Tehran also denies U.S. and Israeli accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear warheads which could be delivered by the Shahab-3.

Based on the North Korean Nodong-1 and modified with Russian technology, the Shahab-3 is thought to have a range of 810 miles, which would allow it to strike anywhere in Israel.

Shahab means meteor in Persian.

Amid media speculation that Israel may try to halt Iran's nuclear program by carrying out air strikes on some atomic facilities in Iran, Iranian officials have said Tehran would retaliate promptly and strongly to any such attack.


"If Israel behaves like a lunatic and attacks the Iranian nation's interests, we will come down on their heads like a mallet and break their bones," the ISNA students news agency quoted Revolutionary Guards Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi as saying Wednesday.

Israel successfully tested its Arrow II anti-missile project in the United States last month. It was the seventh time the Arrow II had worked but the first time it had destroyed a Scud missile -- similar to the Shahab-3 -- in flight.

"The Israelis have recently tried to increase their missile capability and we will also try to upgrade our Shahab-3 missile in every respect," the ISNA students news agency quoted Shamkhani as saying last week.

He said the improvements to the Shahab-3 "will not be limited to the missile's range and will include all its specifications."

Iran deployed the Shahab-3 missiles to its Revolutionary Guards last July after preliminary field tests were successfully completed.

Six of the sand-colored missiles, bearing slogans which said "We will stamp on America" and "We will wipe Israel from the face of the earth," were displayed at an annual military parade last September.

Iran has not said how many of the missiles had been manufactured. Military analysts say questions remain about its reliability and accuracy.

A senior Israeli defense source said Israel believed Tehran was developing a Shahab-4 missile with a range of about 1,000 miles, capable of reaching Europe. Iran has denied this.

"This 'new and improved' Shahab-3 could well be Iran's way of producing the extended-range missile while avoiding the Mark-4 label which would draw international concern," he said. (Additional reporting by Amir Paivar in Tehran, Dan Williams in Jerusalem)"

Majlis speaker Haddad Adel: Government And Majlis Unanimous On Nuclear Program

Description of Selected News: "Government And Majlis Unanimous On Nuclear Program: Majlis Speaker

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -– Majlis speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said here Tuesday that the government and the Majlis share common views on the issue of nuclear energy.

Haddad Adel stressed that the Majlis defends national interests, adding that the country is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

“We do not have the right to turn our back on our nation’s interests and capitulate to threats,” he said. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established with the purpose of enabling nations worldwide to use nuclear energy, the speaker explained, adding however that “today world powers are pressuring Iran to prevent the country from acquiring peaceful nuclear technology.”

Referring to the recent remarks made by U.S. President George W. Bush, Haddad Adel said that the U.S. President and officials are always seeking an excuse against Iran, adding that the U.S. opposition with the Islamic Revolution of Iran is not a new issue.

Presently, the issue of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program is a new excuse the U.S. is using against the country, he said.

Haddad Adel stressed that the U.S. is well aware that Iran has abided by international regulations.

He further referred to the recent remarks made by White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on the possible issue of a tough-worded resolution against Iran by the United Nations Security Council in the next session of the IAEA Board of Governors.

These remarks indicate that world powers intend to politicize international communities through coercion, the speaker said.

He went on to say that all nations and governments should resist and oppose the world powers’ pressure on international communities."

Iraq's Zebari Says Iraq Never Welcomes Anti-Iran Remarks

Description of Selected News: "Zebari Says Iraq Never Welcomes Anti-Iran Remarks

TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Tuesday dismissed the recent anti-Iran remarks by certain Iraqi officials, stressing that the policy of the Iraqi government is the opposite of what such positions reflect.

Zebari told his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi over the phone that Iraq's interim government never welcomes such remarks and will never let these positions harm Baghdad's relations with Tehran.

He also said the Iraqi government is following the issue of the kidnapped Iranian diplomat in Iraq through various channels, stressing that Baghdad would inform Tehran about any new development in that connection as soon as possible.

Zebari further expressed hope that efforts to release the Iranian diplomat will bear fruit.

Kharrazi, for his part, said he was surprised over what he described as 'unwise remarks' by certain Iraqi officials and that baseless allegations are repeatedly made against Iran.

He said why Iraq's interim government, which needs the help of other countries including Iran, allows some of its officials to make such comments against the Islamic Republic.

This, Kharrazi stressed, is surprising and is never acceptable.

"Such remarks are meant to create an atmosphere of animosity between the Iraqi and Iranian nations and are against the interests of both countries," he said. "The Iraqi government must prudently stop this.""

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "Jordan Tries To Help Improve U.S.-Iran Ties: Jordanian FM

AMMAN (Xinhuanet) -- Jordan has tried to help improve relations between the United States and Iran in a bid to maintain regional stability, local newspaper Jordan Times reported here Tuesday.

Amman tried to bring point of views between Washington and Tehran closer, particularly on the Iraqi issue, Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher was quoted as saying.

"Jordan supports efforts to improve ties between the two countries, but it was not mediating," Moasher told the newspaper.

Jordan's government spokeswoman Asma Khader explained that Muasher's remarks were part of Jordan's efforts to defuse tension in the Middle East. “The country wants to maintain stability in the region and preserve Iraq's unity," the spokeswoman said, adding "bringing the U.S. and Iran closer is one way to help create a stable Middle East."

Washington and Tehran have severed relations since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution."

Jerusalem Post: IAEA partially vindicates Iran

Israel News : Jerusalem Post Internet Edition: "

Aug. 10, 2004 20:03
IAEA partially vindicates Iran

The UN nuclear watchdog agency has traced some particles of enriched uranium found in Iran to Pakistan but still cannot fully verify Teheran's claims that all such material came into the country on equipment bought on the black market, diplomats said Tuesday.

The reported finding boosts Iranian claims that it did not process uranium into its enriched form, which can be used both as fuel to generate power or as the core of nuclear warheads. It also weakens the case being built by the United States and its allies, which accuse the Islamic Republic of past covert enrichment as part of a clandestine weapons program.

Iranian claims that all traces of enriched uranium came into the country on "contaminated" equipment it bought on the nuclear black market have been the focus of months of investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency as it tries to determine whether the Islamic Republic has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Faced with evidence, Iran over the past year has acknowledged clandestinely assembling a centrifuge program to enrich uranium for what it says are plans to produce electricity but has denied actually embarking on the process.

The enrichment process spins uranium hexaflouride gas through thousands of centrifuges in series to gain increasingly higher levels of a uranium compound that can reach weapons grade above 90 percent.

The International Atomic Energy Agency refused to comment Tuesday. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said no new findings of the agency would be made public ahead of a report being prepared for a September 13 meeting of the IAEA board of governors.

The report, being written by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, will review the agency's progress in clearing up open questions about nearly two decades of secret nuclear activities by Iran that were first revealed in 2003.

Most of the still-unanswered questions focus on the sources of traces of highly enriched uranium found at several sites in Iran, and the extent and nature of work on the advanced P-2 centrifuge, used to enrich uranium.

The United States and its allies argue that Iran's clandestine activities included covert uranium enrichment – which, when undeclared, is a violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty.

The diplomats, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the agency had only been able to conclusively link one sample found at one Iranian site to Pakistan – particles enriched to 54% – although another sampling enriched to a lower degree might also have come on equipment bought from the network headed by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

They said while the findings strengthened Iran's hand ahead of the September meeting, the agency still was far from establishing the origin of all traces of enriched uranium found in Iran, adding it may never be able to do so.

The diplomats, who are familiar with Iran's nuclear dossier, said lack of clarity on that issue as well as Teheran's past cover-ups, its spotty record of cooperation with the IAEA investigation, and its insistence on the right to enrich uranium still keep it in the IAEA spotlight."