Saturday, December 18, 2004

Khaleej Times: Iran has frozen bank accounts of renegade Afghan warlord

Khaleej Times Online "Iran has frozen bank accounts of renegade Afghan warlord
(AP)

18 December 2004
UNITED NATIONS - Iran has frozen four bank accounts belonging to renegade Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is believed to have teamed up with Taleban holdouts and Al Qaeda militants, the chairman of a UN sanctions committee said.

UN anti-terrorism sanctions require all 191 UN member states to impose a travel ban and arms embargo against a list of those linked to the Taleban or Al Qaeda and to freeze their financial assets. Hekmatyar is one of 318 individuals and 115 groups on the list.

Chile’s UN Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, who chairs the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against the Taleban and Al Qaeda, told an open council meeting on Friday about his recent trip to Iran and other countries where he met high-ranking government officials.

“Iran has frozen considerable assets in four separate accounts of an individual on our list, Mr. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and has apprehended a number of Al Qaeda operatives,” Munoz said. He did not disclose the names of those arrested or the amount of money in the accounts of Hekmatyar, who is believed to be working with the Taleban and Al Qaeda to target US-led coalition forces and the Afghan government.

Munoz said Iran had also warned that trade operations were being used to finance terrorism.

“We were told that an Iraqi had operated a company in Iran which sold spoiled vegetables to clients in another country in the area who, in return, paid unusually high prices to the suppliers,” he said, indicating that these funds were used to finance terrorist activities.

Munoz said the committee’s monitoring team is currently analyzing information in reports from countries on what they are doing to implement sanctions, and has been encouraging countries that haven’t reported to do so.

US deputy ambassador Stuart Holliday told the council the monitoring team “has noted that the quality of reports is wide-ranging, and in the most extreme cases, unhelpful.”

“In cases where states are capable but appear to be unwilling to press the fight and cause discomfort to Al Qaeda, further committee investigation, and quite possibly, council action, is warranted,” he said.

Without naming any countries, Holliday said he was referring to states that aren’t complying sufficiently with the sanction requirements and are also listed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s financial action task force “as being non-cooperative.”

Munoz said the committee’s priorities remain encouraging countries to add names to the list and identifying ways to strengthen sanctions.

Holliday said the current sanctions “must be strengthened, tightened and further refined.”

“Identifying, tracing and freezing Al Qaeda assets is not going to get easier,” he warned, stressing that all nations must redouble their efforts to identify people associated with Al Qaeda and submit the names to the committee.

Germany’s UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said names alone are not enough and must be accompanied by additional information to identify those subject to sanctions.

Without such identification, people who see their names on the list “may then hide their assets from freezing or procure false passports for traveling,” he said. “The lack of proper identifiers also increases the risk of innocent persons being wrongly targeted.”

Pleuger noted that the European Court of Justice is expected to rule on several UN sanctions related cases early next year and stressed the importance of “due process” for those on the sanctions list.

“The way entities or individuals are added to the terrorist list maintained by the council and the absence of review or appeal for those listed raise serious accountability issues and possibly violate fundamental human rights norms and conventions,” he said."

Khaleej Times Online

Khaleej Times Online "Iran has frozen bank accounts of renegade Afghan warlord
(AP)

18 December 2004
UNITED NATIONS - Iran has frozen four bank accounts belonging to renegade Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who is believed to have teamed up with Taleban holdouts and Al Qaeda militants, the chairman of a UN sanctions committee said.

UN anti-terrorism sanctions require all 191 UN member states to impose a travel ban and arms embargo against a list of those linked to the Taleban or Al Qaeda and to freeze their financial assets. Hekmatyar is one of 318 individuals and 115 groups on the list.

Chile’s UN Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, who chairs the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against the Taleban and Al Qaeda, told an open council meeting on Friday about his recent trip to Iran and other countries where he met high-ranking government officials.

“Iran has frozen considerable assets in four separate accounts of an individual on our list, Mr. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and has apprehended a number of Al Qaeda operatives,” Munoz said. He did not disclose the names of those arrested or the amount of money in the accounts of Hekmatyar, who is believed to be working with the Taleban and Al Qaeda to target US-led coalition forces and the Afghan government.

Munoz said Iran had also warned that trade operations were being used to finance terrorism.

“We were told that an Iraqi had operated a company in Iran which sold spoiled vegetables to clients in another country in the area who, in return, paid unusually high prices to the suppliers,” he said, indicating that these funds were used to finance terrorist activities.

Munoz said the committee’s monitoring team is currently analyzing information in reports from countries on what they are doing to implement sanctions, and has been encouraging countries that haven’t reported to do so.

US deputy ambassador Stuart Holliday told the council the monitoring team “has noted that the quality of reports is wide-ranging, and in the most extreme cases, unhelpful.”

“In cases where states are capable but appear to be unwilling to press the fight and cause discomfort to Al Qaeda, further committee investigation, and quite possibly, council action, is warranted,” he said.

Without naming any countries, Holliday said he was referring to states that aren’t complying sufficiently with the sanction requirements and are also listed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s financial action task force “as being non-cooperative.”

Munoz said the committee’s priorities remain encouraging countries to add names to the list and identifying ways to strengthen sanctions.

Holliday said the current sanctions “must be strengthened, tightened and further refined.”

“Identifying, tracing and freezing Al Qaeda assets is not going to get easier,” he warned, stressing that all nations must redouble their efforts to identify people associated with Al Qaeda and submit the names to the committee.

Germany’s UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said names alone are not enough and must be accompanied by additional information to identify those subject to sanctions.

Without such identification, people who see their names on the list “may then hide their assets from freezing or procure false passports for traveling,” he said. “The lack of proper identifiers also increases the risk of innocent persons being wrongly targeted.”

Pleuger noted that the European Court of Justice is expected to rule on several UN sanctions related cases early next year and stressed the importance of “due process” for those on the sanctions list.

“The way entities or individuals are added to the terrorist list maintained by the council and the absence of review or appeal for those listed raise serious accountability issues and possibly violate fundamental human rights norms and conventions,” he said."

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: A snapshot of Iran, before the difficult decisions

Williamsport Sun-Gazette: "A snapshot of Iran, before the difficult decisions
Sun-Gazette Editor
At some point in time the United States may have to confront Iran, because of that hardline regime’s apparently implacable hatred of America. When and if that happens — and we pray that it does not — claims no doubt will be made that Iran posed no threat to the United States.
But Iran’s radical Islamist rulers have made it clear that they support terrorism. More evidence was provided recently, when about 200 masked young people, both men and women, gathered at a Tehran cemetery to whip each other into suicidal frenzies. Those present pledged to be willing at any time to carry out suicide bomb attacks against Americans in Iraq and against Israelis.
Iranian officials claimed that they have no link with the terrorist organization that sponsored the gathering to form the “first suicide commando unit.” But official denials ring very hollow in Iran, where no such organization could exist for long without official sanction or at least tolerance. The fact that, on the same day, a 6-foot stone column honoring terrorists who killed 241 U.S. Marines in a 1983 bombing attack in Lebanon was unveiled also confirms the Iranian government’s support of terrorism.
Clearly Iran, which at this moment is working to develop nuclear weapons, is a threat to peace in the Middle East. Events in Tehran prove that there is a very definite link between Iran and terrorism.

Section: Editorial Date Posted: 12/18/2004
As appearing in Saturday - December 18, 2004 edition of The Sun-Gazette"

Khaleej Times Online

Khaleej Times Online: "Mubarak warns Washington against intervening in Iran
(DPA)

18 December 2004
HAMBURG - In an unusually strongly-worded warning, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says the United States must avoid any military intervention in Iran, according to a published report Saturday.


Sending forces into that country in a bid to thwart Iran’s production of nuclear materials would be “a mistake of catastrophic dimensions”, he told Der Spiegel news magazine.

“The result would be a tidal wave of terrorism and unrest throughout the Middle East and, very quickly thereafter, throughout the rest of the world that would overshadow everything that has gone before,” he said in an interview due to hit newsstands across Germany on Monday.

The Egyptian leader called for US forces to be withdrawn from cities and towns in Iraq, saying they must be replaced without delay by Iraqi military and police forces.

“The Americans simply are not in a position to ensure security,” he explained.

Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Mubarak expressed optimism that the peace process can be revived.

“Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is apparently prepared to take the courageous step toward peace,” said Mubarak.

“I am confident that an independent state of Palestine will be called into being by the end of President George W. Bush’s second term in office, possibly sometime in 2008,” he predicted."