Friday, August 27, 2004

FBI Suspects Israel Has Mole in Pentagon -- CBS

Yahoo! News - FBI Suspects Israel Has Mole in Pentagon -- CBS: "FBI Suspects Israel Has Mole in Pentagon -- CBS


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI (news - web sites) believes Israel has a spy at the very highest level of the Pentagon (news - web sites) who may have sought to influence U.S. policy on Iran and Iraq (news - web sites), CBS News reported on Friday.
The Israeli embassy immediately denied the report.

"The FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to ... roll up someone agents believe has been spying, not for an enemy, but for Israel, from within the office of the secretary of defense (Donald Rumsfeld)," the network reported.

CBS News said the FBI believed it had solid evidence the suspected mole supplied Israel with classified material that included secret White House deliberations on Iran. The network described the spy as "a trusted analyst" assigned to a unit within the defense department tasked with helping develop the Pentagon's Iraq policy. It said the analyst had ties to top Pentagon officials Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, both regarded as leading architects of the war on Iraq.

Asked about the CBS report, a spokesman for the Israeli embassy told reporters: "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous."

CBS said the spy was believed to have been passing secrets to Israel through intermediaries at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby.

"Our sources tell us that last year the suspected spy ... turned over a presidential directive on U.S. policy toward Iran while it was 'in the draft phase'," the network said. "This put the Israelis -- according to one of our sources -- 'inside the decision-making loop' so they could 'try to influence the outcome'," CBS reported."

IRAN BACKS RP TROOP PULLOUT FROM IRAQ

IRAN BACKS RP TROOP PULLOUT FROM IRAQ

MANILA, August 27 , 2004 (STAR) Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi supported yesterday President Arroyo’s decision last month to pull Filipino troops out of Iraq for the freedom of truck driver Angelo de la Cruz who was being held by Iraqi rebels.

"It was the right decision in the interest of the nation," Kharazi told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo.

In a joint statement, the two ministers said they discussed the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, where more than one million Filipinos live and work, and pledged to help in efforts to rebuild Iraq.

"We noted the importance of establishing a permanent and lasting peace in the southern Philippines as the foundation for investments," the joint statement said.

Kharazi said Iran is supplying the Philippines with 67,000 barrels of crude oil to ease the country’s requirements of 300,000 barrels of oil a day.

"So if agreements will be signed between Iran and the Philippines, that can guarantee supply of oil to the Philippines," he said.

"Of course, there was a proposal here that (your) refineries have extra capacity. And we suggested if Iran can bring crude oil here to purify in the refinery for that product, that also has to be looked into, and I’m going to (advise) our oil minister to study if it is feasible or not."

However, he said Iran cannot offer cheaper crude oil to the Philippines, which would be contrary to the price set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). "This is something businesslike," he said. "You know oil prices are decided by the international market, I’m not an expert on this. But what our oil ministry can do as a favor to friendly countries, they usually do it based on international market."

"This has to be negotiated between your oil ministry and our oil ministry if anything can be given to Filipino oil ministry in this aspect," he added.

The statement also said the two countries plan agreements to develop their petrochemical industries, establish a joint business council, and boost bilateral investment.

Iran would be a source of oil for the Philippines, the statement added.

Iran also promised to support the Philippine bid for observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the country’s efforts to craft a peace accord with Muslim separatists in Mindanao.

Iran is a member of the OIC, which the Philippines wants to join as an observer.

The Philippines in turn pledged to back Iran’s admission into the Asian Development Bank and the World Trade Organization.

The two parties also considered measures to expedite documents for the proposed agreements on Mutual Protection of Investments, Philippines and Iran airline agreement, avoidance of double taxation, and customs cooperation.

The Philippines was earlier criticized by both the US and fellow anti-terror ally Australia for pulling out its 51-man contingent.

They said the move was tantamount to giving in to terrorists and encouraged more kidnappings. The US strongly suspects Iran — which has signed the global non-proliferation accord — is secretly building nuclear weapons.

Since the withdrawal was demanded by Iraqi rebels for the release of De la Cruz, the international community claimed that it emboldened them to carry out more kidnappings and attacks against coalition members.

The US also removed the Philippines from the Coalition of the Willing because of the early withdrawal of the humanitarian contingent. — Marvin Sy, Marichu Villanueva, AFP

Iran Prepares For Important Presidential Vote

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: " Iran Prepares For Important Presidential Vote


(Washington, DC--August 27, 2004) As the results of Iran's May 2005 presidential election may well "affect Iran's foreign policy," RFE/RL Iran analyst A. William Samii suggested that now is the time to begin monitoring the election process during a recent presentation at RFE/RL's Washington office.

Samii, RFE/RL's Regional Analysis Coordinator for Southwest Asia and the Middle East and editor of "RFE/RL Iran Report," indicated that Iran's governing clerics place great emphasis on voter turnout at elections -- a factor that has been in steady decline since the first election of current president Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami in 1997. The latest Iranian election, the parliamentary vote in February 2004, saw voter participation drop to 51 percent, according to Samii, with many voters turning in blank ballots to protest against the lack of reform.

Students, women, the clergy, and veterans of the Iran-Iraq war are all constituencies that candidates and political parties will seek to impress, Samii said. Although the number of students in Iran is large, Samii said that he does not believe they will have a significant impact on the election, because many have become apathetic due to a lack of credible student leadership. Women may play a more important role in the election, according to Samii, because of tightening enforcement of laws on women's attire and a crackdown on women's rights issues. Samii also indicated that nationalist-religious forces, such as the banned but still-active Liberation Movement of Iran, will also play a role in the election.

Samii listed ten possible candidates for the presidency, based on his review of the Iranian press and on interviews with leading Iran-watchers. Two of those names stood out as possible nominees, according to Samii -- Prime Minister Mir-Hussein Musavi and Tehran mayor Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad. Musavi is one of the leading candidates to represent the reformist movement that backs President Khatami, Samii said, while Ahmadi-Nejad has been mentioned as a possible choice of the conservative forces that took control of parliament in February's election. Others mentioned as potential candidates include Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hojatoleslam Hassan Rohani and former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani.

Issues important to Iranian voters, according to Samii, include economic concerns such as high unemployment (25%) and inflation (16-20%); the restriction of political and social freedoms; strictly enforced press laws; and worries about the impact of drugs and "moral decay" on the country's Islamic system. Foreign policy questions that will be debated during the election include Iran's relations with Iraq and Afghanistan; the country's controversial nuclear program; the division of Caspian Sea resources; and relations with Iran's Persian Gulf neighbors.

To hear archived audio for this and other RFE/RL briefings and events, please visit our website at www.regionalanalysis.org.
"

Trade between Iran and Russia stands at 3.8 billion dollars per year

Description of Selected News: "Iran-Russia trade exchanges stand at $3.8bn per annum: envoy


TEHRAN (MNA) � The volume of trade between Iran and Russia stands at 3.8 billion dollars per year, Iran�s envoy to Moscow said on Friday.
Iran imports about two million tons of steel per year from Russia, which is economical in terms of price and transportation, Gholamreza Shafei said.
The official trade exchange between the two states stands at 1.2 billion dollars in a year, Shafei noted.
Woods and paper are among other goods imported from Russia while Iran�s main exports to Russia are foodstuff, Shafei told the Mehr News Agency (MNA).
Noting that the unofficial trades between the two countries reach 1.6 billion dollars he said a portion of Russian goods are imported into the country through Europe and some Iranian goods are also exported into Russia through Caucuses or Central Asia.
The ambassador also said the annual value of oil swap between Moscow and Tehran is about one billion dollars and this would herald a promising future between Iran and Caspian Sea littoral states in this regard.
So far, Iran has imported about 500 million dollars oil from Russia in the Caspian Sea, he added.
In the swap deal, Iran imports oil from Russia for domestic consumption and exports the same amount of oil for this country in the Persian Gulf. MS/MA End MNA"

Friday Sermon - Rafsanjani - Iran celebrates US 'defeat' in Najaf

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iran celebrates US 'defeat' in Najaf: "Iran celebrates US 'defeat' in Najaf

By Sebastian Usher
BBC World media correspondent


The first Iranian reactions to the latest developments in Najaf have portrayed the peace deal brokered by Ayatollah Sistani as a major setback for the US.

The US siege of the holy city of Najaf inflamed Iranian opinion

State radio said the agreement had frustrated US plans to disable Iraq's Shia as a political force.

And in his Friday sermon, the still influential former Iranian President, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said events in Najaf - which he compared to Stalingrad - should alert the West to the power of the Islamic clergy.

The Iranians have played a waiting game over Najaf, with senior officials from the president downwards fiercely denouncing the use of military force there by the Americans while never officially committing themselves to full-blown support for Moqtada Sadr and his followers.

This strategy allowed Iran to show solidarity with the Shia uprising while avoiding a complete break with the other important Shia political forces in Iraq.

And throughout the crisis, Iran remained consistent in its backing for Ayatollah Sistani and his position.

Emotive comparisons

Now, the apparent success of his peace initiative in Najaf has given Tehran an opportunity to revel in what it sees as the frustration of America's strategy.

In his Friday sermon, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani - who remains one of the most powerful political figures in Iran - told his congregation that American power had been humbled.

"Today, Najaf is prouder than Stalingrad," he said.

"In contemporary history, Stalingrad is a symbol of resistance.

"But in the alleys and streets of Najaf, a small number of people fought this well-equipped army, which used cluster bombs and sometimes even dangerous material and dangerous gases in their attacks, but failed to open the gates of the city."


The Ayatollah's return: Iranians were reminded of events in 1979

Speaking in the same vein, Mr Rafsanjani made a further comparison - even more emotive for his audience - this time over what he described as Ayatollah Sistani's courage in returning to Iraq.

"Of course, with a slight difference, it resembled Imam Khomeini's return from Paris to Tehran."

"At the time, the Imam insisted on returning despite the fact that the Shah's army, police and secret agents were guarding the city streets."

"The Imam's manoeuvre on that day broke the back of the Shah's regime," he said.

Border protest

Mr Rafsanjani's sermon, accompanied by the sound of the congregation chanting "God is great" and "Death to America", was broadcast live on Iranian state radio.

The radio station earlier issued its own commentary on the Najaf deal, portraying it as a "major defeat for America".

It said the US had tried to divide the Shia in Iraq and drive them from the political stage - but had failed.

One sign of how much Iranian feeling has been stirred up over Najaf was a mass anti-American protest march to the Iraqi border that had been planned for this coming Monday.

That has now been called off - but the sense that Najaf marked a new stage in the simmering hostilities between America and Iran remains palpable."

IranMania News

IranMania News: "Tajiks-Afghans's access to warm waters by Iran

LONDON, August 25 (IranMania) - Deputy Minister of Roads and Transportation Ahmad Sadeq Banab Tuesday said that once the road project linking Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan is implemented, the Tajiks and Afghans will have access to warm waters.

He told Iran's State News Agency (IRNA) that 36 road projects are currently underway in Iran and six others in Afghanistan to complete this transit corridor.

"Once the projects are finalized, road and railway link among the three countries will be established and a major development will be achieved in regional transportation and economic sectors. "The transit route will also connect the northern and southern countries of the region via Tajikistan," he added.

Banab noted that Bafq-Mashhad railway project aimed at providing a new route between Bandar Abbas in southern Iran to northern Iran by cutting down the distance by 1,000 kms is expected to become operational before March 21, 2005.

Once this major project is implemented, countries to the north of Iran including Tajikistan will have access to a more economical route.

Meanwhile, transportation experts believe that the tripartite project aimed at reviving the 'Silk Road' will play a crucial role in promoting the regional economy. The relevant agreement was signed during a tripartite meeting in Tehran in mid-summer 2003. "

Iran accuses US of sowing hatred in Iraq

english.eastday.com: "Iran accuses US of sowing hatred in Iraq



Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said Tuesday the United States was sowing hatred in Iraqi Muslims by attacking the Shiite holy city of Najaf,the official IRNA news agency reported.
'The United States sows the seed of hatred by violating the sanctity of the first Shiite Imam Ali's mausoleum and they will certainly suffer the consequences,'Adel was quoted as saying.
'Despite the ongoing attacks and violation of the sanctity of the holy sites in Iraq,the wave of Muslims'awareness has expanded throughout the world and would continue in the future,'Adel said.
'The more the United States increases its violation,the more Islamic uprising and fighting would expand.Muslims would vigorously defend their lofty ideas,'Adel said,adding that 'we resolutely condemn any attack on the holy sites.'
Conflicts between the US-led occupying forces and radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr's militiamen have raged in Najaf for nearly three weeks,during which hundreds were killed and thousands wounded.
The interim Iraqi government issued on Tuesday an ultimatum for Sadr's army to lay down weapons,otherwise they would face a major military offensive."

Iran : 13th Tehran Carpet Grand Exhibition - Textile Fashion News Fibre2Fashion

Iran : 13th Tehran Carpet Grand Exhibition - Textile Fashion News Fibre2Fashion: "Iran : 13th Tehran Carpet Grand Exhibition
25th August 2004


This grand exhibition on carpets will focus on the export and foreign sales aspects of Iranian carpet. The experience gained from the past twelve exhibitions has helped Iranian rug producers and exporters. On view are some of the finest and most beautiful carpets from different regions of Iran.

Iran Carpet Co.and Persian Carpet exporters Association are organizer of this events. The event's brochure distributed in Domotex & Atlanta International Area Rug Market.

This unique event will provide a suitable opportunity for producers, exporters and buyers to exchange ideas.

The exhibition will bring those involved in the carpet field closer together. This will contribute to better understanding and supply of carpets that meet the consumers needs and preferences. The quality rather than the quantity of carpets displayed in this fair will be the main focus of attention.

The organisers invite all lovers of handmade carpets to visit 13th Persian Carpet Grand Exhibition (Tehran) and sense the grandeur of the Iranian carpets. "

Talk It Out on Iran Before It's Too Late

Talk It Out on Iran Before It's Too Late: "Talk It Out on Iran Before It's Too Late
Engagement now could defuse a nuclear crisis.

COMMENTARY
By Robert E. Hunter
The Bush administration is considering what to do about Iran's possible acquisition of nuclear weapons. One alternative includes military action, whether directed against Iranian nuclear facilities or more broadly. This may not come to pass. But because the possibility of military conflict with Iran is on the table, it is vital to have the kind of public debate — now — that we did not have before the Iraq war.

Iran must not be permitted to get nuclear weapons. Even if Tehran did not threaten to use them against its neighbors or give aid to terrorists, Iran's becoming a "nuclear power," however fledgling, would radically alter regional politics and relationships in the Middle East and significantly complicate the problems facing the U.S. and others.

But what are the costs and benefits of military action? Analysis should start with the back end: Although in a full-scale war Iranian forces might be defeated as easily as Iraq's were, that outcome is not certain. Iran has shown it would pay a heavy price to preserve its national integrity, as when it accepted 1 million casualties to stop Iraqi aggression in the 1980s. Iran is not an artificial creation like Iraq, but a millenniums-old civilization. Trying to pacify a militarily defeated Iran would be far more daunting than what the U.S. and its coalition partners are facing in Iraq.

Even a "surgical strike," perhaps directed against Iranian nuclear facilities, would not be cost-free. For instance, the U.S. and Iran have shared some strategic objectives, as in the 1991 and current Iraq wars; and Iran backed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to depose the Taliban. That strategic parallelism would end.

But any military attack on Iran — however justified — would also condemn the U.S. to police the region for decades. Any chance of one day being able to work with Iran as part of a regionwide strategy would become impossible. In addition, a young generation of Iranians is renewing traditional pro-U.S. attitudes. That would be squelched in an instant.

These "cost-benefit" arguments largely explain why the European allies have been working to find alternatives to military force. Such alternatives need to be part of the U.S. strategic calculus to a greater degree than has been apparent.

But how else can Iran be stopped? This question points to an inadequacy in analysis. The U.S. focuses almost exclusively on measures to prevent Iran's acquiring weapons of mass destruction and pays little attention to why Tehran would pursue that course. At least in part, it could lie in Tehran's sense of acute vulnerability. Thus, we need to focus on that as well as working to affect the Iranians' cost-benefit analysis. This means convincing them that they have something vital to gain from foreswearing the nuclear option — a "something" that goes far beyond the economics of civilian nuclear power.

Most important, Iran needs to understand that it would not be attacked if it gave up the bomb, that regime change is not a U.S. precondition for a changed relationship and that Iran's rejoining the international community — economically and politically — is possible if it takes a series of clear, precise and reasonable steps, especially an end to support for terrorism.

From Iran's point of view, it has no assurance on any of these points. Even North Korea has been given a U.S. guarantee of "non-attack" — even though (or perhaps because) it has indicated it already has the bomb.

The U.S. has Iran surrounded, politically and to a major degree militarily. Its chances of seriously disrupting its neighbors are highly constrained as the appeal of the Iranian Revolution has long since dissipated. And for more than a decade, Iran has found that every time it has cooperated with the United States the "bar" has been raised higher. Even now, the carrot offered to Iran regarding its nuclear programs, through European intermediation, is not a non-attack commitment or economic reintegration in the outside world. Instead, it is limited to help with its civilian nuclear programs and some relief from economic sanctions.

What happened with the Libyan nuclear weapons program is instructive. It had no strategic or political value; indeed, for Libya to have gotten nuclear weapons would only have made it even more of a pariah nation. Thus Moammar Kadafi made the very best use of Libya's potential nuclear capability, by trading it away at just the right moment. In exchange for renouncing a weapons program of dubious value, he was welcomed back into the community of nations.

Of course, there is no assurance that such a trade would work with Iran. There may be no option but the use of force. But before we find ourselves irrevocably on such a track, there is a strong case for trying the engagement alternative first, and in a serious way.

At the least, Americans must have the debate about Iran that we did not have about Iraq. It needs to center on choices about long-term strategy toward the Middle East. If we do not have this discussion, then we can expect to have yet another mournful postmortem later on.

*


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Robert E. Hunter, a senior advisor at the Rand Corp., was U.S. ambassador to NATO from 1993 to 1998."

Two Iranians ranked among most powerful women in world

Two Iranians ranked among most powerful women in world: "Two Iranians ranked among most powerful women in world
London, Aug 21, IRNA - Faezah Rafsanjani, the daughter of Iran's former president, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, are ranked among the 100 most powerful women in the world by American business magazine Forbes.
Rafsanjani, chair of the Islamic Countries Women's Sports Federation, was placed 47th, the second highest in the Middle East after the British wife of Jordanian monarch, Rania al-Abullah, who is listed 13th.
Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, was ranked 99th, the fifth highest in the Middle East, behind Afghanistan's deputy premier Sima Samar, who is listed 74th and Palestinian Legislative Council member Hanan Ashrawi at 96.
The ranking, the first of its kind, classed the top three most powerful women as US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, China's health minister and a vice-premier Wu Yi, and the president of India's Congress Party Sonia Gandhi.
Forbes said that for its list, which was dominated by 31 Americans, t used a numerical weight defined by title and resume; the size of the economic sphere in which she wields power; and the number of global media mentions.
The results were then subjected to such subjective adjustments like giving more weight to a current head of state than a former one and advice given by selected researchers and academics.
The top Briton in the ranking was Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cheri, who was placed 12th, ahead of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the British monarch, who were listed at 21st and 22nd respectively. "

Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari - Persian Carpet Exports Hit $600m

Persian Carpet Exports Hit $600m Persian Journal Latest Iran News, news Tehran Iranian News persian news web site sport irani news iranians site farsi women sport woman, newspaper football: "Persian Carpet Exports Hit $600m


The value of Iran's hand-woven carpet exports reached 600 million dollars last year, Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari said. "Due to measures taken in the past year, the downward trend in Iranian carpet value has stopped and even increased 15 percent," the Petroenergy Information Network quoted him as saying.

Addressing the inaugural of the 13th International Carpet Exhibition here, he noted that Persian hand-woven carpet was a creation of the Iranian talent and creativity and in addition to playing a part in the country's scientific economy, plays a pivotal role in fetching hard currency and creating productive jobs too.

"Any stagnation in carpet industry will directly lead to unemployment and reduced revenues for people working in the industry," he said. The minister noted that due to high added value, carpet exports played a great part in promoting economic development plans and were always given priority. Emphasizing continuation of the specialized carpet exhibition, Shariatmadari noted that despite structural developments taken place during the first through third economic development plans, the carpet industry is still not comparable to other industries from material and spiritual viewpoints.

He noted that holding a carpet exhibition was good to introduce the country's export objectives in this section of industry, adding, "Despite the fact that some countries have imitated Iranian carpets and produced carpets quite similar to the Iranian counterpart and have conquered part of global markets, no rival country could produce artifacts that would exactly match Iranian ones," he noted. The minister expressed hope that boosting quality of the Iranian carpet, using high-quality material, conducting research and marketing will promote Iranian carpet's status in international markets."