Thursday, December 02, 2004

Interfax ::Armenia introduces second power line to Iran

Interfax :: Armenia: "Armenia introduces second power line to Iran

Yerevan. (Interfax) - Armenia introduced a second power transmission line to double electricity supplies to and from Iran, the Armenian government's press office told Interfax.

The 82-kilometer, 200-megawatt 220-kilovolt line was built with an Iranian credit of $8.4 million in accordance with a memorandum signed by the two countries in July 2002.

Armenia will pay the credit off with electricity supplies.

Armenia and Iran plan to sign a memorandum on a third line in Yerevan on December 1.

Armenia supplies electricity to Iran for five months during the summer and receives electricity from Iran in the winter.
" / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Editorials / Iran inanity / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Editorials / Iran inanity: "Iran inanity
December 2, 2004

ORWELLIAN bureaucratic rules meant to impose sanctions on undemocratic or unfriendly regimes should not be used to silence democrats who oppose those regimes. Yet that is what the Bush administration has been doing in the case of Shirin Ebadi, the courageous Iranian lawyer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her willingness to defend women, children, and human rights advocates who run afoul of Iran's clerical dictatorship.

Ebadi stands for everything President Bush professes to support. She has risked her freedom and her life to defend democracy, free speech, and the rule of law. She leads a legal team representing the family of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist born in Iran who was beaten to death after being arrested in Tehran. She had been taking pictures of political prisoners' relatives outside the infamous Evin prison, where their loved ones were being held and, all too often, tortured.

Nevertheless, because of regulations set by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, Ebadi is being prevented from publishing her memoirs in the United States. The rules circumvent US federal laws prohibiting restrictions on the free flow of information. Under the Treasury Department regulations, Ebadi, as an Iranian author living in Iran, cannot publish a book in the United States that benefits from the help of American translators, editors, or publicists.

These restrictions are meant to specify how US trade sanctions against Iran -- and Cuba -- are to be applied. The rationale is to prevent trading with designated enemies.

But the Treasury Department rules forbidding substantive editing and artistic enhancement of Ebadi's Farsi manuscript do something quite different. By interfering with freedom of expression, they thwart a badly needed dialogue between Americans and their natural friends and allies in Iran.

Ebadi is not alone among Iranian writers and intellectuals who wish to explain their predicament as devotees of democracy to an American audience. Indeed, as a Nobel laureate she could apply for a special license that would exempt her from Treasury's Draconian regulations. But as a lawyer who defends free speech, Ebadi cannot accept an exemption from what she regards as prior restraint for others. So she and her literary agent are suing the Treasury Department.

As things stand, Treasury's perverse regulations align the United States with Ebadi's tormentors, mistaking friends for enemies. Bush should tell Treasury to change its rules and stop doing the mullahs' work for them.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company."