Sunday, September 19, 2004

RADIO FREE EUROPE/Analysis: Iranian Parties Hint At Presidential Candidates By Bill Samii

RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Analysis: Iranian Parties Hint At Presidential Candidates
By Bill Samii

Though Iran's next presidential election is still nine months away, there is a great deal of speculation about the likely candidates.

"I would rather someone else enter the presidential race, but if the society as well as prominent pundits conclude that I can fulfill this task better, I will announce my readiness," Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told reporters in Mashhad on 16 September, IRNA reported. Rafsanjani added that there is plenty of time for other candidates to come forward.

The reformist Islamic Labor Party's Abbas Ahmadi told Fars News Agency on 10 September that Hashemi-Rafsanjani has met with leaders of his organization and announced that he would run as a candidate under certain conditions. Rafsanjani said his decision would depend on the country's political climate, and he would do it for the sake of the revolution and the system."The presidential election will represent the religious democracy in Iran."

Former Prime Minister Mir Hussein Musavi is the reformists' favorite, but he is being coy about his intentions (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 6 September 2004). Given the difficulties President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami has had in accomplishing anything substantive since being elected in May 1997, Musavi's hesitation is understandable.

"Election of an informed, experienced, faithful, and capable manager will expedite [Iran's] development," Majid Ansari of the pro-reform Militant Clerics Association (Majma-yi Ruhaniyun-i Mubarez) said in the 23 August "Aftab-i Yazd." He added that a strong democracy with public support through elections will neutralize foreign threats. Musavi, therefore, is the only candidate for the 2nd of Khordad Front, Ansari said, adding, "We are still talking to Musavi."

Another prominent member of the Militant Clerics Association, Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pur, also weighed in on Musavi's behalf, "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 11 September. Mohtashami-Pur described Musavi's "main qualifications" as "his trustworthiness, truthfulness, and honesty." He added that Musavi managed the country during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq and said that the country's infrastructure is under attack. "We need individuals such as Engineer Musavi, whose main concern day and night is the people."

Ansari said on 12 September that efforts to persuade Musavi to run as a presidential candidate are continuing, IRNA reported. Addressing the annual meeting of the Office for Strengthening Unity student organization, Ansari added, "The president is representing the republican aspect of the system and the presidential election will represent the religious democracy in Iran."

An anonymous "informed source" said in the 8 September "Resalat" that Musavi definitely will not be a candidate. Quoting an anonymous "prominent theoretician of the 2nd of Khordad Front," the source said: "the 2nd of Khordad Front groups are now going to select another person as their candidate in the presidential elections. This is because Mir Hussein Musavi has announced explicitly and clearly that he is definitely not going to stand as a candidate." Musavi reportedly gave many reasons for not running, but the source refused to share them.

Hamid Reza Taraqi, a member of the conservative Islamic Coalition Party's central council, said its strategy is to encourage high public participation in the election by supporting the candidate most likely to unite the voters and gather the highest number of votes, ISNA reported on 7 September. Taraqi said Ali Akbar Velayati -- former foreign minister and current adviser to the supreme leader -- might be a candidate but the Islamic Coalition Party has not started considering candidates. Taraqi concluded that the party has not made a decision on Velayati or anybody else.

Another Islamic Coalition Party member, Hassan Ghafurifard, said in the 4 September "Sharq" that Velayati has decided to run for president. "As far as I know, he has decided to stand for the elections and he has even made the arrangements for his campaigning."

Urumiyeh parliamentary representative Abed Fatahi has mentioned Expediency Council secretary and former Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commander Mohsen Rezai as a possible candidate for president, the reformist "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 9 September. "Channels and sources close to Mohsen Rezai are propounding the likelihood of his presence in the presidential election, which in some respects is a source of delight." Among Rezai's advantages over other possible candidates, Fatahi mentioned "his youth and the fact that he was a fighter and an expert in economic, political, and military affairs.""

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Full text: IAEA Iran resolution

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Full text: IAEA Iran resolution: "Full text: IAEA Iran resolution

The following is the full text of the resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran on 18 September 2004.

(a) Recalling the resolutions adopted by the board on 18 June 2004, 13 March 2004, 26 November 2003, and on 12 September 2003 and the statement by the board of 19 June 2003,

(b) Noting with appreciation the director general's report of 1 September 2004, on the implementation of safeguards in Iran,

(c) Noting the director general's assessment that the agency is making steady progress towards understanding Iran's nuclear programmes, but that further work is still required on a number of questions and issues, notably contamination and the scope of the P2 centrifuge programme, and that there are other issues that will also require further follow-up, for example the timeframe of Iran's plutonium separation experiments,

Iran has not heeded repeated calls from the board to suspend, as a confidence building measure, all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities

(d) Noting with serious concern that, as detailed in the director general's report, Iran has not heeded repeated calls from the board to suspend, as a confidence building measure, all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities,

(e) Also concerned that, at its Uranium Conversion Facility [UCF], Iran is planning to introduce 37 tons of yellowcake, as this would run counter to the request made of Iran by the board in resolution GOV/2004/49,

(f) Recognising the right of states to the development and practical application of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, including the production of electric power, consistent with their Treaty obligations, with due consideration for the needs of the developing countries, and

(g) Stressing the need for effective safeguards to prevent nuclear material being used for prohibited purposes, in contravention of agreements, and underlining the vital importance of effective safeguards for facilitating co-operation in the field of nuclear energy,

DEMANDS

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1. Strongly urges that Iran respond positively to the director general's findings on the provision of access and information by taking such steps as are required by the agency and/or requested by the board in relation to the implementation of Iran's Safeguards Agreement, including the provision of prompt access to locations and personnel, and by providing further information and explanations when required by the agency and proactively, to assist the agency to understand the full extent and nature of Iran's enrichment programme and to take all steps within its power to clarify the outstanding issues before the board's 25 November meeting, specifically including the sources and reasons for enriched uranium contamination, and the import, manufacture, and use of centrifuges;

The Board of Governors considers it necessary, to promote confidence, that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities

2. Emphasises the continuing importance of Iran acting in accordance with all provisions of the Additional Protocol including by providing all access required in a timely manner; and urges Iran once again to ratify its Protocol without delay;

3. Deeply regrets that the implementation of Iranian voluntary decisions to suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, notified to the agency on 29 December 2003 and 24 February 2004, fell significantly short of the agency's understanding of the scope of those commitments and also that Iran has since reversed some of those decisions; stresses that such suspension would provide the board with additional confidence in Iran's future activities; and considers it necessary, to promote confidence, that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges, and the production of feed material, including through tests or production at the UCF, under agency verification so that this could be confirmed in the reports requested in paragraphs 7 and 8 below;

4. Calls again on Iran, as a further confidence-building measure, voluntarily to reconsider its decision to start construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water;

5. Underlines the need for the full and prompt co-operation with the agency of third countries in relation to the clarification of outstanding issues, and expresses appreciation for the co-operation received by the agency to date;

6. Appreciates the professional and impartial efforts of the director general and the Secretariat to implement Iran's NPT Safeguards Agreement, and, pending its entry into force, Iran's Additional Protocol, as well as to verify Iran's suspension of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and to investigate supply routes and sources;

7. Requests the director general to submit in advance of the November board:

a report on the implementation of this resolution;
a recapitulation of the agency's findings on the Iranian nuclear programme since September 2002, as well as a full account of past and present Iranian co-operation with the agency, including the timing of declarations, and a record of the development of all aspects of the programme, as well as a detailed analysis of the implications of those findings in relation to Iran's implementation of its Safeguards Agreement;
8. Also requests the director general to submit in advance of the November board a report on Iran's response to the requests made of it by the board in previous resolutions, especially requests relating to full suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities;

9. Decides that at its November session it will decide whether or not further steps are appropriate in relation to:

Iran's obligations under its NPT Safeguards Agreement;
the requests made of Iran, as confidence building measures, by the board in this and previous resolutions;
and to remain seized of the matter.

"

ZAMAN DAILY: Iran's Missile Test Annoys Israel

ZAMAN DAILY NEWSPAPER (2004091912372): "Iran's Missile Test Annoys Israel

On the same day that the International Atom Energy Agency (IAEA) Administrative Board granted Iran a respite until November 25 to stop its uranium enrichment program, the Tehran administration test fired short, medium and long range missiles during military maneuvers observed by religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

One of the missiles that Iran test fired yesterday was a medium range version of the Shahab-3 rocket. That particular missile can be outfitted with a one ton nuclear warhead.

Tehran defends that the Shahab-3, introduced with the slogan "Israel should be obliterated from the map", would be used for defensive purposes.

Yesterday's edition of Israel's Haaretz newspaper claims that the version of the Shahab-3 test fired yesterday has a 2,000km (1240 mile) range.

America and Israel are worried that Iran, which they accuse of secretly developing nuclear weapons, could use these missile to deliver nuclear payloads.

Chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, General Aharon Zeevi, alleges that Iran is only six months away form being able to produce a nuclear weapon without foreign aid.

As for the IAEA's decision yesterday, the recommendation presented by Germany, France, and the UK met the approval of the US and was unanimously recognized by the IAEA Administrative Board. The paper proposes that Iran should stop its uranium enrichment program immediately and obey the nuclear security agreements signed with the IAEA.

After inspectors conclude their tours of Iran's nuclear facilities, a follow-up report will be presented at the November 30th IAEA meeting.

09.19.2004
Foreign News Services"

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Iran should tread softly, or it will get hit by a big stick

The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Iran should tread softly, or it will get hit by a big stick: "Iran should tread softly, or it will get hit by a big stick

By Irfan Husain

Monday, September 20, 2004
Although its desire to spread hard-line Islam abroad has waned somewhat since the Khomeini revolution a quarter of a century ago, Iran remains an ideological state. But apart from Islam, it is Shiite doctrine that defines Iran's religious leadership and its worldview.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, and its immediate aftermath altered the regional balance of power irrevocably, Iran was well-placed to project its influence beyond its borders. In Afghanistan it was arming and funding the Shiite Hazaras and the Northern Alliance under Ahmed Shah Massoud in their resistance against the Sunni Taliban. Shiites in Central Asia were being given scholarships to study theology in Iran's seminaries, and Shiite armed groups in Pakistan were being helped by Tehran in their fight against Sunni terrorists.

In Iraq, the only other Muslim country with a Shiite majority, Iran's mullahs were content to play a waiting game, secure in the knowledge that Saddam Hussein, weakened after a decade of sanctions, no longer posed a threat. They had mended fences with the Gulf States and were gradually becoming more acceptable to the West. However, with Sept. 11 and the consequent American-led attacks against and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was suddenly encircled by the United States. Worse, its president had branded the country one of the "axis of evil" together with Iraq and North Korea.

But the invasion of Iraq brought opportunities as well as dangers for Iran. For the first time since Iraq's creation after World War I, the majority Shiite population was in a position to gain power. Tehran understood that if it played its cards right, it could wield enormous influence in Baghdad after the Americans left. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seems to have decided to proceed along two tracks. The first has the firebrand Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr leading his Mehdi Army in an armed insurrection against the American occupiers. The idea is to make Iraq virtually ungovernable, forcing the Americans into an early exit. The second track consists of encouraging Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the highly respected Iraqi cleric, to consolidate his power among the Shiite community.

This policy is based on the expectation of a Shiite majority in any reasonably fair Iraqi election. While the Americans are trying to finesse this possibility through safeguards for the Kurdish and Sunni minorities, it is a matter of time before Tehran's waiting game pays off.

Should a Shiite-dominated Iraq emerge from the embers of the war, it can be expected to cooperate closely with Iran. While the seniority of its hierarchy of ayatollahs would give it considerable independence, the two countries would consult closely on a wide range of matters from oil prices to diplomacy. Close ties between two of the world's leading Shiite-majority countries would make for a formidable alliance. Given their oil and gas reserves, as well as their land mass and literate populations, they would dominate the region and pose a major threat to American and Israeli interests.


The current expressions of alarm over Iran's nuclear program should be seen in the context of the West's growing concern with Tehran's ambitions in Iraq. Similarly, the continuing improvement of the range and accuracy of Iran's missiles is giving it the means to project its power far beyond its borders.

But this overt muscle-flexing is making Iran vulnerable to a joint pre-emptive strike by Israeli and American forces. Although its nuclear and missile-related assets are scattered and hidden, they are not completely immune. If the Americans can obtain a UN resolution based on the International Atomic Energy Agency findings that Iran is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, they can justify military action.

Thus, Iran may be in danger of overplaying its hand. If it waits patiently, the sheer demographic realities in Iraq virtually assure it of having a major say in that country, together with the strategic and economic implications that would flow from Shiite rule in Iraq. If, however, Iran continues to exert pressure on the Americans through Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army, while also defying world opinion by acquiring nuclear arms, it will be risking all its gains on a single roll of the dice.

All too often, revolutionaries miscalculate the reaction of pragmatic leaders to their actions. The ayatollahs in Tehran should try and put themselves in the shoes of George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon: the former will not accept Iran's dominance over the world's biggest oil-producing region, while the latter would never countenance its sworn enemy's possession of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

There are times when it pays to tread softly.


Irfan Husain is a Pakistani former civil servant and university president who now writes weekly columns for Dawn and The Daily Times in Pakistan, and The Khaleej Times in Dubai. This commentary originally appeared in bitter-lemons international, an online newsletter"

Gholam Shire'i: Iran Will Stop Enrichment If It Deems It Necessary

Gholam Shire'i: Iran Will Stop Enrichment If It Deems It Necessary Persian Journal Latest Iran News, news Tehran Iranian News persian news web site sport irani news iranians site farsi women sport woman, newspaper football: "Gholam Shire'i: Iran Will Stop Enrichment If It Deems It Necessary

Gholam Shire'i mullah-run majlis Speaker here yesterday said Iran will assess the necessity of uranium enrichment in its nuclear plans and will stop only if deemed necessary.

Talking to reporters about the recent resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors, Gholam Shire'i said an order to suspend uranium enrichment contradicts the agency's articles of association.

"What is important for Iran, is safeguarding the national interests. The IAEA cannot obligate a country to do something against its articles of association," he said. Referring to recent actions taken by France, Britain, and Germany in the Board of Governors, he said Iran is disappointed in the Europeans' behavior. Asked about a statement which MPs are to issue Sunday on the Board of Governors' resolution, the speaker noted that the statement represents the viewpoints of deputies and is not the official stance of the Majlis.

Gholam Shire'i also praised the Iranian delegation to the Board of Governors, saying the measures adopted by Iran's representatives lowered the pressures. Referring to a possible joint meeting between the Majlis and cabinet, Gholam Shire'i said, "It is not necessary for the Majlis to meet with the government. "People are quite informed and will not accept any order which threatens the country's sovereignty and the Islamic Revolution. "This resolution inflicts no damage on the people," he stressed. "

US spy agencies believe strikes on Iran wouldn't work: report

US spy agencies believe strikes on Iran wouldn't work: report: "US spy agencies believe strikes on Iran wouldn't work: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) Sep 19, 2004
US spy agencies have played out "war games" to consider possible pre-emptive strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities, and concluded that strikes would not resolve Washington's standoff with Tehran, Newsweek magazine reported Sunday.
"The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating," an unnamed Air Force source told the magazine in its latest issue.

The Central Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency played out the possible results US strikes, the magazine reported.

Hawks within President George W. Bush's administration haev advocated for regime change in Tehran -- through covert operations or force if needed, Newsweek said.

But with US-led forces facing almost daily attacks in Iraq, no one in Bush's cabinet has taken up the cause, the report said.

The United States believes Iran is using a civlian nuclear program to mask a weapons development effort.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is strictly aimed at generating electricity, despite suspicions it is seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons.

Uranium is enriched through centrifuges to make what can be fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive material for atomic bombs."