Saturday, October 02, 2004

SCC yet to decide on next presidential election (Rafsanjani)

Description of Selected News: "SCC yet to decide on next presidential election

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) –- A member of Steering Council of the Society of Combatant Clerics (SCC), Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam said here Saturday that the SCC has not yet decided on the next presidential election.

Talking to Mehr News Agency, the senior SCC official said that the political atmosphere is currently normal and no crisis is at sight for the nation. However he refused to give any comment on the candidacy of Hashemi Rafsanjani for the next presidential election.

Hashemi Rafsanjani in an earlier meeting with some SCC members had announced he would not run for the next presidential election and believed that now is the turn of others, the SCC member said.

Mesbahi-Moghaddam added that the SCC would soon announce its position regarding the election and Hashemi Rafsanjani after reaching a consensus."

IranMania News: Peres plays down theory of Israeli strike on Iran

IranMania News: "Peres plays down theory of Israeli strike on Iran

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - Israeli opposition leader Shimon Peres on Friday played down suggestions that his country might use a military strike against nuclear facilities in its arch-foe Iran, Agence France Press (AFP) reported.

"I don't think Israel will lead the policies vis-a-vis Iran," Peres told reporters after meeting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. "The problem is a world problem concerning the Americans, the Russians (and) the Europeans."

He added: "There are three options, not just the military one. There is also the political and economic one."

Israel used airstrikes to wipe out a nuclear reactor in neighbouring Iraq in 1981, and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday said Iran must be stopped before it achieves nuclear capability.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes and has regularly complained that Israel, which has never admitted to having nuclear capability, is the true threat to stability in the region.

But world pressure has been mounting over Tehran's nuclear ambitions and the UN's nuclear watchdog has called on the Islamic regime to halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, which could lead to a nuclear weapon.

"Iran is not only producing a nuclear option, but they are the centre of terror in our time," Peres said.

He said there were now two leading Muslim countries in the world, Turkey and Iran. Turkey signed a military cooperation agreement with Israel since

"Turkeky thinks that you can be modern and Muslim, and Iran thinks you should be only Muslim," he said, adding that he hoped the Turkish vision of a free economy and secular state would prevail "for the sake of the Muslims."

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi last week told the United Nations that Tehran would "leave no stone unturned" in trying to convince the rest of the world that its nuclear programme was only for civilian energy purposes.

Under a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has until November 25 to clear up suspicions or risk seeing the issue referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions -- a move backed by the United States."

'Turtles Can Fly' to represent Iran at Academy

IranMania News: "'Turtles Can Fly' to represent Iran at Academy

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004
LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - Iranian director Bahman Qobadi’s latest film "Turtles Can Fly" was chosen by the Selection Board of Iran’s Farabi Cinematic Foundation to represent the Iranian motion picture industry in the category of Best Foreign Language Films at the 77th Annual Academy Awards, Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported.

The film tells the story of people from a village in Iraqi Kurdistan near the borders with Iran and Turkey who are desperately searching for a satellite dish in order to keep updated on the imminent U.S. attack on Iraq. Then, a wounded boy, his sister, and her child arrive from another village, indicating that the war is getting closer and closer.

A joint production by Iran and Iraq, the film won the Golden Shell for Best Picture at the 52nd Donostia San Sebastian International Film Festival, which was held last September in Spain.

Qobadi also won the Best Director Award for "Turtles Can Fly" at the 8th Celebration of Iranian Cinema, which was held on September 12 in Tehran.

He had previously won the Cannes Camera d’Or in 2000 for his "A Time for Drunken Horses", while in 2002 his "Songs of My Motherland" was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival and received the Francois-Chalais Prize.

The other Iranian movies that were previously selected to compete at the prestigious cinematic event are Majid Majidi's films "Children of Heaven" in 1998 and "Baran" in 2001, Rasul Sadr-Ameli’s "I, Taraneh, Am 15" in 2003, and Parviz Shahbazi's "Deep Breath" in 2004.

The 77th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles on February 27, 2005."

Bush tempers argument for pre-emptive strikes / Experts say Iraq war precludes similar future engagements

Bush tempers argument for pre-emptive strikes / Experts say Iraq war precludes similar future engagements: "

Bush tempers argument for pre-emptive strikes
Experts say Iraq war precludes similar future engagements

James Sterngold, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, October 2, 2004
George Bush has insisted repeatedly on the campaign trail that his presidency has been characterized by unwavering policies based on core convictions. But a key component of his security and military strategy -- a willingness to wage war "pre-emptively" against perceived enemies -- lies largely in tatters, say experts and policy-makers.

These experts, from both sides of the political spectrum, say the brutal experience in Iraq has eroded many elements of what has come to be called the "Bush doctrine," leaving the United States with less flexibility in the war on terror.

President Bush himself appeared to dial back on the doctrine during Thursday night's debate when asked whether he would launch future pre-emptive strikes in the wake of the Iraq war. Bush replied, somewhat unenthusiastically, that "a president must always be willing to use troops," but only "as a last resort."

That is a far cry from the bold policy the president articulated in 2002, which rejected the traditional focus on containing threats or responding only after an enemy had staged a clear act of aggression.

In fact, say policy experts, the violent insurgency in Iraq, which has tied down 140,000 U.S. troops, has all but removed Americans' stomach for a similar pre-emptive engagement against an enemy who has not actually launched or prepared an imminent attack on the United States.

Iraq "will leave a long and damaging legacy," said Fred Ikle, a senior government arms control expert for decades who has argued that the United States must be more willing to use military might to achieve its goals. "It will inhibit us more than is good for our future. We fumbled."

Ikle was one of the founders of the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative group that has long pressed for a more muscular American military posture, and includes Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz -- key architects of the Iraq war -- among its members.

Ikle's views are echoed by other prominent neoconservative thinkers.

"The appetite for this kind of action in the country is pretty low at the moment," said Max Boot, a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Boot, an early supporter of the Iraq war, said that the United States is likely to launch small-scale pre-emptive strikes as needed in the future, much as Israel does against its enemies, but not the kind of large-scale attacks that were at the center of the Bush doctrine's aim of pressuring enemies to change or risk being destroyed.

"If, by some miracle, Iraq looks better in a few years, maybe there will be greater interest in the idea," said Boot.

The Bush administration continues to insist that the doctrine remains U.S. policy. It has a number of elements, including an insistence that any state that supports terrorists will be considered an enemy, that the United States has the right to attack such countries pre-emptively -- even, as in the case of Iraq, before an enemy has mounted a challenge or the president feels there is an imminent threat of an attack.

Under the doctrine, the United States would also act to prevent any country from even attempting to match American military might.

Most of these elements were outlined in speeches in 2002 and then codified in September 2002, in a 33-page document called "The National Security Strategy of the United States." It stated that terrorism presented a new kind of danger and needed a new kind of response.

"As a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed," the document said.

Bush went further and targeted three countries in his famous "axis of evil" State of the Union speech in 2002, hinting that Iran and North Korea, as well as Iraq, might be attacked pre-emptively if they were perceived as threatening the United States.

But many experts say that the first broad pre-emptive invasion might be the last, at least for now, because of the expense of Iraq, the apparently poor planning for the occupation, the violent backlash and the lack of resources or troops for another such venture.

Rather than be cowed by President Bush's earlier hints, or by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, both Iran and North Korea have defied international demands, and both appear to be developing nuclear weapons, without any indication that the president might seek to resort to a pre-emptive attack. In the presidential debate Thursday night, President Bush emphasized multilateral talks, involving China, to resolve the North Korea crisis, and Bush has looked primarily to European negotiators to deal with Iran.

"Pre-emption is valid only if you have a situation where you are about to be attacked," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a critic of Bush's policies. "In my view, it is not useful in the war on terror."

The administration said that its aim in invading Iraq was, in part, to send a message to other hostile governments, as well as removing Saddam Hussein from power. Officials suggested that it was intended to let countries like Syria, Iran and even North Korea know that the United States had the capability and the will to launch rapid pre-emptive attacks to eliminate any challenges. It was also said to be an effort to spread democratic reforms throughout the Middle East, creating a kind of bandwagon effect, beginning with the democratization of Iraq.

John Mearsheimer, a political science professor at the University of Chicago and the author of "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics," said the persuasive power behind Bush's policy depended on great U.S. military flexibility, which has since been lost.

"The problem is that if you get bogged down in Iraq, you can't reload the shotgun quickly and put Iran or Syria in the crosshairs," said Mearsheimer. "So you can't influence their behavior the way you wanted to. The policy failed."

He added that the administration has undermined its credibility with Americans by arguing that Iraq was an imminent threat and that it was armed with weapons of mass destruction. That has not been borne out, eliminating at least some of the potential for popular support of future pre-emptive strikes.

"It's a failed doctrine now because it has failed militarily on the ground and because it caused the administration to be deceitful to the American people," said Mearsheimer.

Historians point out that pre-emptive attacks have been tools of American policy from the nation's earliest years, and many presidents have launched or contemplated such strikes, from the early 19th century to the present.

For instance, President John F. Kennedy threatened a pre-emptive attack during the Cuban missile crisis, and President Bill Clinton launched pre- emptive bombing strikes against suspected al Qaeda targets in Sudan.

What is new is that, in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration articulated a strategy in which the United States, anticipating possible future terrorist attacks, would strike long before they could be mounted. The era of containment and quiet diplomacy was over, the new strategy suggested.

Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the first to call this the "Bush doctrine" and to repeat his support for its many elements in a number of speeches.

Many experts say that they still support the idea of some kinds of pre- emptive strikes, but only if the threat is unequivocally clear and imminent.

"The president always has the right and always has had the right for pre- emptive strike," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in the televised debate with President Bush on Thursday night.

"It remains an important option," added Ashton Carter, a Defense Department official in the Clinton administration and now a senior Kerry campaign adviser. "It has to be an option."

Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and national security adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said pre-emption should be seen as one possible tool, not part of an overarching "doctrine."

"When an administration reacts to something, it's always case-specific, not based on a doctrine," said Cordesman, now a national security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Cordesman blamed the problems in Iraq on poor planning, not the basic concept of a pre-emptive strike. "What was wrong was all of our assumptions used to go in," he said."

Description of Selected News

Description of Selected News: "

EU urges Bush to adopt Kerry line on Iran

WASHINGTON (Financial times)-- European governments are lobbying the Bush administration to change course over Iran before next month's presidential election, urging Washington to adopt an incentive-driven policy that Senator John Kerry has already pledged, according to diplomats and U.S. politicians.

According to unnamed diplomats and a Kerry adviser, senior officials from Germany and the Netherlands - which currently holds the European Union presidency - had high-level meetings on Iran with both the White House and the Kerry camp in recent days. "The European message was that we cannot let weeks pass before the next deadline without doing something," one diplomat said. "We need a last-ditch approach, not more pressure, but a mix with a package and incentives."

Several sources said the White House officials responded with considerable scepticism to the European initiative, but did not reject it outright. The White House on Friday declined to comment.

The deadline in question is the next board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in late November. The U.S. says it will press again for a resolution to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council as a first step toward condemnation and sanctions.

The European proposal would offer Iran guaranteed and closely monitored supplies of nuclear fuel for its civilian reactors in exchange for an end to Iran's development of the full fuel cycle - specifically the enrichment of uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons. But senior Iranian officials have told the Financial Times that this is not acceptable. Diplomats believe the issue is still negotiable with more flexibility from the U.S.

Kerry and the Europeans also agree on the need for the U.S. to engage Iran directly."

IAEO director to brief MPs on Iran’s nuclear plans, IAEA meeting

Description of Selected News: "IAEO director to brief MPs on Iran’s nuclear plans, IAEA meeting

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Iran's top nuclear official is scheduled to discuss the country's nuclear program with members of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on Tuesday.

Gholamreza Aqazadeh, the director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), will be briefing members of the committee on the recent meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna.

Iran's nuclear dossier as well as the country's plan for gaining access to civilian nuclear expertise will also be reviewed during the session.

The meeting was originally scheduled for last Sunday with representatives of the Supreme National Security Council, the IAEO, and the Foreign Ministry expected to participate, but it was scrapped after Aqazadeh did not attend.

The IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution last month demanding that Iran suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment.

Britain, France, and Germany drafted the resolution, which set a November 25 deadline for a full review of Iran's nuclear program and called on Tehran to immediately suspend all uranium enrichment activities.

Iran has dismissed the resolution, saying it does no accept any obligations in this regard.

Meanwhile, several Iranian MPs have begun calling for the country to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to disregard other commitments.

As a gesture of goodwill, Tehran has voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment and the manufacture of centrifuge components.

The Islamic Republic has also signed the additional protocol to the NPT, which allows snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.

However, last month MPs announced that they would not ratify the additional protocol in response to the IAEA resolution.

"The continued violation of regulations by the IAEA Board of Governors leaves no room for us to ratify the additional protocol, and will lead us to question what is the point for the nation to leave its doors open for IAEA inspectors," a statement read out in parliament said.

MPs also called on the government to press on with nuclear fuel cycle work, which is permitted under the NPT, and to resume uranium enrichment.

However, the Foreign Ministry is staying the course for the time being.

Iran is still committed to its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment and has not yet started injection of (hexafluoride) gas (into centrifuges), Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said last week.

Asefi also played down MPs' calls for withdrawing from the NPT, saying the issue is not “seriously on our agenda yet”."

I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran: ElBaradei

Description of Selected News: "

I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran: ElBaradei

TEHRAN (MNA) -- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has said that Iran has no nuclear weapons program and that the issue of Iran’s nuclear dossier should be resolved diplomatically in order to avoid the bitter experience of Iraq, the Arabic language daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Saturday.

“Iran has no nuclear weapons program, but I personally don’t rush to conclusions before all the realities are clarified. So far I see nothing which could be called an imminent danger. I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran. What I have seen is that Iran is trying to gain access to nuclear enrichment technology, and so far there is no danger from Iran. Therefore, we should make use of political and diplomatic means before thinking of resorting to other alternatives,” ElBaradei said. Asked about the IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program to be issued in November, he told the daily, “We have actually started compiling the report and it will be ready at the specified time before the Board of Governors meeting. So far, nothing new has surfaced, and we still call on Iran to help resolve the outstanding issues. In order to resolve the problem we have asked them to suspend the enrichment of uranium as a confidence-building measure, and we are still negotiating.”

ElBaradei asserted that it is too soon to talk about referring Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council.

Referring Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council for violating the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would be the worst-case scenario, he added.

“We hope we will not have to adopt obligatory measures (about Iran) and also prefer not to make judgments about Iran withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he told the paper.

“Our findings in Iraq proved that the agency was right because we didn’t find anything which indicated the presence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. “If we want to take a lesson from Iraq, we should not rush before all realities are clarified, and this is what we want to do about Iran.”

ElBaradei also said he would like to keep his job until he sees Iran’s nuclear dossier removed from the agenda of the IAEA Board.

In a serious violation of the NPT, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution on September 18 asking Iran to suspend all enrichment-related activities. The board will meet again on November 25."

Iran extracts 63,000 tons of phosphate

IranMania News: "Iran extracts 63,000 tons of phosphate

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - In excess of 63,000 tons of phosphate was extracted from Iranian mines during the past four months of the year, Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported.

The volume showed 24.8% decrease in comparison with the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile, some 12,500 tons of phosphate concentrate has been collected in the mines to set 10.6% increase. Last year, the only two active phosphate mines brought about 194,000 tons of the substance. Phosphate reserve in these mines, one of them under private ownership, is estimated to be at about 19 mln tons. Totally, 257 jobs are created in the two mines.

According to the Ministry of Industries and Mines, the exploration of only one phosphate mine was approved last year, with 56 million tons of phosphate reserve. Iran’s largest phosphate reserves include Lar phosphate mine with 30 mln tons of p205 phosphate (with 16% purity), Dalir mine, which has gotten 40 mln tons of the substance, Chirot and Gazestan.

The ownership of Gazestan Phosphate, which reserves 20 mln tons of p205 phosphate (with 10% purity), will be handed over to the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO) for more extractions and also for technical studies. So far, extractions in this mine have cost $305,000. The mine is proven to have no chloride disruption for petrochemical units."

Majlis, ICCIM to set economic priorities

IranMania News: "Majlis, ICCIM to set economic priorities

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - Setting economic priorities of Iran and making policies for prosperity of the private sector will be discussed during joint sessions between specialized commissions of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) and members of Majlis Economic Commission, Petroenergy Information Network (PIN) reported.

Public Relations Department of ICCIM announced that the two sides will also discuss executive ways of cooperation between ICCIM and research instate of the parliament.

Introducing duties and activities of ICCIM to deputies, the issue of liquidity problems in many production units and the necessity of banks’ supervision are major topics of the meetings.

The two sides will also review Iran’s per capita income and compared it with other Asian countries in addition to evaluating the Fourth Economic Development Plan, conducting research, economic and trade projects."

ICCIM to become independent confederation

IranMania News: "ICCIM to become independent confederation

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004

Related Pictures

LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - The government’s new bill to revise the regulations of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) intends to turn the chamber into an independent confederation in the near future, Mehr News Agency (MNA) reported.

The Iranian Minister of Commerce, Mohammad Shariatmadari said the bill of reforms would aim at giving a sort of autonomy to the provincial chambers all across the country, while still limiting their international interactions.

But the Parliament has its own view. "Parliament draft says the government should have no more seats in the chambers," the Minister stated. Generally, he said, this recommendation may lead to some limited changes in ICCIM’s statute.

"We need cooperation of the Majlis in order to make a basic shake-up in the current order of ICCIM and provincial chambers." The parliament’s foreign trade policy-making committee, which is trying to set its own reforms for the chambers of commerce, has already held talks with heads of provincial chambers.

Iran’s economy is a combination of state, private and cooperative sectors, Shariatmadari uttered, saying, “It should therefore include managers of each part in order to be secured.”

Meanwhile, he stressed that the private sector’s part in the country’s economy must grow.

“However, we recommend that the government will be allowed to keep its men in the chambers,” the minister concluded."

IranMania News: Iran, Italy sign MoU for anti-drug campaign

IranMania News: " Iran, Italy sign MoU for anti-drug campaign

Saturday, October 02, 2004 - ©2004

LONDON, Oct 2 (IranMania) - Iran and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the battle against drugs and international drug-trafficking groups on Friday night, Iran's State News Agency (IRNA) reported.

The agreement was signed in behalf of their respective governments by Iran`s Drug Control Headquarters (IDCH) Secretary- General Ali Hashemi and his Italian counterpart, Francesca Petraca. The MoU stressed implementation of the agreement sign by the governments in 2003.

The agreement provides for the transfer of Italian expertise in the area of drugs to Iran, mutual access to data banks pertinent to the campaign against drugs as well as cooperation between Iranian and Italian police. In accordance with the agreement, Italy is to provide Iran with technical and logistical help.

The officials also reached an agreement to hold periodical meetings of their anti-drug personnel. The Iranian delegation, during its four-day visit to Rome, toured various Italian centers equipped with the latest paraphernalia in the anti-drug campaign.

Iran-Italy cooperation and exchange of information in the global campaign against drugs has been one of the pivotal items on their agenda of bilateral talks over the past three years.

The extensive and smart operations of the Mafia in Italy as well as other Italy-based international drug smuggling groups has given the country a wealth of experience in the campaign to rein in such groups. Over 83 tons of the illicit drugs hashish, cocaine and heroin were seized in Italy from January, 2003 to June, 2004.

The Iranian delegation, headed by Secretary-General Hashemi, arrived in Rome on Monday."

Iran: Expediency Council announces end to state monopoly of economy

Iran: Expediency Council announces end to state monopoly of economy: "Iran: Expediency Council announces end to state monopoly of economy
Tehran, Oct 2, IRNA -- The Expediency Council, the top policy making body, on Saturday passed another part of a general plan to rescind articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution which advocate state monopoly of the economy.
As per the decision made today, all major industries, manufacturing and service sectors will be ceded to the private sector in a bid to 'prevent the governing system from being a big employer'.

"In order to bring about economic development and prevent further losses to the national economy, the government is authorized to cede large industries and those mentioned in articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution to the cooperatives and private sectors except for downstream oil and gas industries," the Expediency Council said.

Foreign trade, banking, insurance, power generation for domestic consumption and export, telecom and postal service, railway, airlines, and shipping have been singled out by the Expediency Council as the areas that the body prefers not to remain under state monopoly.

The Expediency Council also called on Majlis Speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel to forward the fourth five-year economic development plan (2005-2010) to the government for executive planning.

The latest decision would be considered as a breakthrough for carrying out the fourth five-year development plan and a guideline from the Expediency Council urging the parliament not to resist the privatization drive envisaged in the five-year plan.

The Guardian Council also will no longer voice objection to the fourth five-year development plan's privatization drive finding it in contradiction with the Articles 43 and 44.

The sixth parliament passed the fourth five-year development plan in the run-up to the end of its term and did not make changes the Guardian Council had called for.

The Expediency Council ratified the five-year plan after the sixth Majlis forwarded it for arbitration in the dispute with the Guardian Council."