[FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great
Views expressed here are not necessarily the views & opinions of ActivistChat.com. Comments are unmoderated. Abusive remarks may be deleted. ActivistChat.com retains the rights to all content/IP info in in this forum and may re-post content elsewhere.
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

International Religious Freedom Report 2005
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Post new topic   Reply to topic    [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index -> Noteworthy Discussion Threads
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:45 am    Post subject: International Religious Freedom Report 2005 Reply with quote

Remarks on the Department of State's Annual Report on International Religious

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
November 8, 2005

(2:23 p.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. Hi there, how are you? Today, I have
transmitted to Congress the 7th Annual Report on International Religious
Freedom. Religious freedom is a constitutional right for Americans. It is also
a universal human right, enshrined time and again in international law and

Our goal is to promote the fundamental right of religious freedom as a part of
what President Bush calls "our agenda for a freer world, where people can live
and worship and raise their children as they choose."

Preparation of this report, which will be available on the State Department's
website, is an intensive, year-long effort led by Ambassador John Hanford and
involving a wide cross-section of our Department, including our Office of
International Religious Freedom, our regional bureaus and our many embassies

Production of the report is greatly assisted by the dedication and close
collaboration of nongovernmental organizations and individuals around the world
who are committed to documenting the status of religious freedom, often at risk
to their own lives and their liberty.

The 2005 report covers 197 countries and territories. In some countries, we
find that governments have modified laws and policies, improved enforcement or
taken other concrete steps to increase and demonstrate respect for religious
freedom. In far too many countries, however, governments still fail to
safeguard religious freedom. Across the globe, people are still persecuted or
killed for practicing their religion or even for just being believers.

This year, we have re-designated eight "Countries of Particular Concern" --
Burma, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan and Vietnam. These are countries where governments have engaged
in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom over the
past year. We are committed to seeking improvements in each of these countries,
improvements like those we have actually seen in Vietnam, which have been
further advanced by agreement on religious freedom that our governments signed
just this last May.

If Vietnam's record of improvement continues, it would enable us to eventually
remove Vietnam from our list of "Countries of Particular Concern." Through this
report, through our bilateral relationships and through our ongoing discussions
with communities of faith around the world, America will defend the rights of
people everywhere to believe and worship according to their own conscience. As
President Bush has said, "Freedom of religion is the first freedom of the human
soul. We must stand for that freedom in our country. We must speak for that
freedom in the world."

It is now my pleasure to introduce Ambassador Hanford, who stands at the
forefront of the Department's work to promote our religious freedom agenda. He
has worked tirelessly on this report and works tirelessly throughout the year
in bilateral and other discussions with countries to raise awareness of this
issue and to help us make progress. And he's going to provide additional
details about the report and he will take your questions.

---------------end excerpt--------

Preface: (which includes how the report is prepared)


This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. The law provides that the Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, shall transmit to Congress "an Annual Report on International Religious Freedom supplementing the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom."

-------end excerpt from preface---



A voice on behalf of religious freedom is necessary today because many governments only pay lip service to their responsibilities under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other agreements. Repressive governments are not the only threat to religious liberty in our world, however. So, too, are violent extremists, one of our generation’s principal adversaries in the continuing struggle for freedom. Even as we stand together with those who rightly demand religious freedom, we must stand firmly against those whose ideologies of hate act as impediments to human liberty and democracy.

--------end excerpt from Introduction-----------

Executive Summary:


State Hostility Toward Minority or Nonapproved Religions

Some governments, while not implementing full control over minority religions, nevertheless are hostile and repressive towards certain groups or identify them as "security threats." These governments implement policies designed to demand adherents to recant their faith, cause religious group members to flee the country, or intimidate and harass certain religious groups, or have as their principal effect the intimidation and harassment of certain religious groups.

Iran. The Government engaged in particularly severe violations of religious freedom. Members of religious minorities--including Sunni Muslims, Baha'is, Jews, and Christians--reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. All religious minorities continued to suffer varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing. The Government continued to imprison and detain Baha'is based on their religious beliefs, and state‑controlled media conducted a campaign of defamation against the group. Baha'is could not teach or freely practice their faith, nor could they maintain links with co-religionists abroad. The Government vigilantly enforced its prohibition on proselytizing activities by evangelical Christians by closing evangelical churches and arresting converts. In September 2004, security officials arrested 85 leaders of the Assemblies of God Church. The Government's anti-Israel policies, along with a perception among radical Muslims that all Jewish citizens support Zionism and the state of Israel, continued to create a hostile atmosphere for the Jewish community. Sunni Muslims encountered religious discrimination at the local, provincial, and national levels, and there were reports of discrimination against practitioners of the Sufi tradition.

-------end Exec. Summary (Iran)-------

Last edited by Oppenheimer on Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


International Religious Freedom Report 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

The Constitution declares the "official religion of Iran is Islam, and the doctrine followed is that of Ja'fari (Twelver) Shi'ism." The Government restricts freedom of religion.

There was no substantive change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the reporting period. Members of the country's religious minorities--including Sunni and Sufi Muslims, Baha'is, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians--reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Government actions created a threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities, especially Baha'is, Jews, and evangelical Christians.

The U.S. Government makes clear its objections to the Government's treatment of religious minorities through public statements, support for relevant U.N. and nongovernmental organization (NGO) efforts, as well as diplomatic initiatives among all states concerned about religious freedom in the country. Since 1999, the Secretary of State has designated Iran as a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for its particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

In December 2003, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 58/195 on the human rights situation in the country that expressed serious concern about the continued discrimination against religious minorities by the Government. In the fall of 2004, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of approximately631,660 square miles, and its population is an estimated 69 million. The population is approximately 97 percent Muslim, of which an estimated 89 percent are Shi'a and 8 percent are Sunni, mostly Turkmen, Arabs, Baluchs, and Kurds living in the southwest, southeast, and northwest. Sufi Brotherhoods are popular, but there are no reliable figures available regarding the size of the Sufi population.

According to the country's most recent official national census, taken in 1996, there were an estimated 59.8 million Muslims, 30,000 Zoroastrians, 79,000 Christians, and 13,000 Jews, with 28,000 "others" and 47,000 "not stated."

Baha'is, Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, and Zoroastrians constitute less than 1 percent of the population combined. The largest non-Muslim minority is the Baha'i community, which has an estimated 300,000 to 350,000 adherents throughout the country. Credible estimates on the size of the Jewish community vary from 20,000 to 30,000. This figure represents a substantial reduction from the estimated 75,000 to 80,000 Jews who resided in the country prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution. According to U.N. figures, there are approximately 300,000 Christians, the majority of whom are ethnic Armenians. Unofficial estimates indicate an Assyrian Christian population of approximately 10,000. There also are Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches. The U.N. Special Representative reported that Christians are emigrating at an estimated rate of 15,000 to 20,000 per year. The Mandaeans, a community whose religion draws on pre-Christian gnostic beliefs, number approximately 5,000 to 10,000 persons, with members residing primarily in Khuzestan in the southwest.

The Government estimates the Zoroastrian community at approximately 30,000 to 35,000 adherents; however, Zoroastrian groups cite an estimated 60,000 adherents. Zoroastrians mainly are ethnic Persians concentrated in the cities of Tehran, Kerman, and Yazd. Zoroastrianism was the official religion of the pre-Islamic Sassanid Empire and thus played a central role in the country's history.

Section II. Status of Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

The Government restricts freedom of religion. The Constitution declares the "official religion of Iran is Islam and the doctrine followed is that of Ja'fari (Twelver) Shi'ism." All laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of the Shari'a (Islamic law). The Constitution states that "within the limits of the law," Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities who are guaranteed freedom to practice their religion; however, members of these recognized minority religious groups have reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Adherents of religions not recognized by the Constitution do not enjoy freedom to practice their beliefs. This restriction seriously affects adherents of the Baha'i Faith, which the Government regards as a heretical Islamic group with a political orientation that is antagonistic to the country's Islamic revolution. However, Baha'is view themselves not as Muslims, but as an independent religion with origins in the Shi'a Islamic tradition. Government officials have stated that, as individuals, all Baha'is are entitled to their beliefs and are protected under the articles of the Constitution as citizens; however, the Government has continued to prohibit Baha'is from teaching and practicing their faith.

The tricameral government structure is ruled over by a supreme religious jurisconsult, or "Supreme Leader." This Supreme Leader, chosen by a group of 83 Islamic scholars, oversees the State's decision-making process. All acts of the Majlis (legislative body or parliament) must be reviewed for conformity with Islamic law and the Constitution by the Council of Guardians, which is composed of six clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader, as well as six Muslim jurists (legal scholars) nominated by the Head of the Judiciary and approved by the Majlis.

The Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance (Ershad) and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) monitor religious activity closely. Adherents of recognized religious minorities are not required to register individually with the Government; however, their communal, religious, and cultural events and organizations, including schools, are monitored closely. Registration of Baha'is is a police function. The Government has pressured evangelical Christian groups to compile and submit membership lists for their congregations, but evangelicals have resisted this demand. Non-Muslim owners of grocery shops are required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

By law and practice, religious minorities are not allowed to be elected to a representative body or to hold senior government or military positions; however, 5 of a total 270 seats in the Majlis are reserved for religious minorities. Three of these seats are reserved for members of the Christian faith, two seats for the country's Armenian Christians, and one for Assyrians and Chaldeans. There is also one seat for a member of the Jewish faith, and one for a member of the Zoroastrian faith. While members of the Sunni Muslim minority do not have reserved seats in the Majlis, they are allowed to serve in the body. Members of religious minorities, including Sunni Muslims, are allowed to vote. All of Iran's minority religions, including Sunni Muslims, are barred from being elected President.

All religious minorities suffer varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing. The Government does not protect the right of citizens to change or renounce their religious faith. Apostasy, specifically conversion from Islam, may be punishable by death; however, there were no reported cases of the death penalty being applied for apostasy during the reporting period.
Members of religious minorities, excluding Sunni Muslims, are prevented from serving in the judiciary and security services and from becoming public school principals. Applicants for public sector employment are screened for their adherence to and knowledge of Islam. Government workers who do not observe Islam's principles and rules are subject to penalties. The Constitution states that the country's army must be Islamic and must recruit individuals who are committed to the objectives of the Islamic revolution; however, in practice no religious minorities are exempt from military service.

University applicants are required to pass an examination in Islamic theology, which limits the access of most religious minorities to higher education, although all public school students, including non-Muslims, must study Islam. The Government generally allows recognized religious minorities to conduct religious education for their adherents. This includes separate and privately funded Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian schools; however, Baha'i schools are not allowed. The Ministry of Education, which imposes certain curriculum requirements, supervises these schools. With few exceptions, the directors of such private schools must be Muslim. Attendance at the schools is not mandatory for recognized religious minorities. The Ministry of Education must approve all textbooks used in coursework, including religious texts. Recognized religious minorities may provide religious instruction in non-Persian languages, but such texts require approval by the authorities. This approval requirement sometimes imposes significant translation expenses on minority communities.

The legal system discriminates against religious minorities, who receive lower awards than Muslims in injury and death lawsuits and incur heavier punishments. In January 2005, the Expediency Council approved appending a Note to Article 297 of the 1991 Islamic Punishments Act, authorizing collection of equal "blood money" (diyeh) for the death of Muslims and non-Muslims. All women and Baha'i men were excluded from the equalization provisions of the bill. According to law, Baha'i blood is considered "Mobah," meaning it can be spilled with impunity.

Sunni Muslims are the largest religious minority in the country, claiming a membership of approximately five and a half million (8 percent of the population), consisting mostly of Turkmen, Arabs, Baluchs, and Kurds living in the southwest, southeast, and northwest. The Constitution provides Sunni Muslims a large degree of religious freedom, although it forbids a Sunni Muslim from becoming President. Sunnis claim that the Government discriminates against them; however, it is difficult to distinguish whether the cause for discrimination is religious or ethnic since most Sunnis are also members of ethnic minorities. Sunnis cite the lack of a Sunni mosque in Tehran, despite the presence of over 1 million adherents there, as a prominent example of this discrimination. Sunnis also have cited the lack of Sunni representation in appointed offices in provinces where they form a majority, such as Kurdistan province, as well as their reported inability to obtain senior governmental positions. In addition, Sunnis have charged that the state broadcasting company, Voice and Vision, airs programming insulting to them.

In April 2004, Sunni Majlis representatives sent a letter to Supreme Leader Khamene'i decrying the lack of Sunni presence in the executive and judiciary branches of government, especially in higher-ranking positions in embassies, universities, and other institutions. They called on Khamene'i to issue a decree halting anti-Sunni propaganda in the mass media, books, and publications; the measure would include the state-run media. The Sunni representatives also requested adherence to the constitutional articles ensuring equal treatment of all ethnic groups.

The Baha'i Faith originated in the country during the 1840s as a reformist movement within Shi'a Islam. The Government considers Baha'is to be apostates because of their claim to a valid religious revelation subsequent to that of Muhammed, despite the fact that Baha'is do not consider themselves to be Muslim. Additionally, the Baha'i Faith is defined by the Government as a political "sect," linked to the Pahlavi regime and hence counterrevolutionary. A 2001 Ministry of Justice report stated in part that Baha'is would be permitted to enroll in schools only if they did not identify themselves as Baha'is, and that Baha'is preferably should be enrolled in schools with a strong and imposing religious ideology. The report also stated that Baha'is must be excluded or expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once their identity becomes known.

Baha'is may not teach or practice their faith or maintain links with coreligionists abroad. The fact that the Baha'i world headquarters (established by the founder of the Baha'i Faith in the 19th century, in what was then Ottoman‑controlled Palestine) is situated in what is now the state of Israel exposes Baha'is to government charges of "espionage on behalf of Zionism." These charges were more acute when Baha'is were caught communicating with or sending monetary contributions to the Baha'i headquarters.

Baha'is were banned from government employment. In addition, Baha'is were regularly denied compensation for injury or criminal victimization.

The Government allows recognized religious minorities to establish community centers and certain self-financed cultural, social, athletic, or charitable associations. However, the Government prohibits the Baha'i community from official assembly and from maintaining administrative institutions by actively closing such Baha'i institutions. Since the Baha'i Faith has no clergy, the denial of the right to form such institutions and elect officers threatens its existence in the country.

Broad restrictions on Baha'is undermine their ability to function as a community. Baha'is repeatedly have been offered relief from mistreatment in exchange for recanting their faith.

Baha'i cemeteries, holy places, historical sites, administrative centers, and other assets were seized shortly after the 1979 Revolution. No properties have been returned, and many have been destroyed. Baha'is were not allowed to bury and honor their dead in keeping with their religious tradition. Baha’i graveyards in Yazd and other cities have been desecrated, and the Government did not seek to identify or punish the perpetrators. Public and private universities continue to deny admittance to Baha'i students. In July 2004, for the first time, Baha'i applicants were permitted to take part in the nationwide exam for entrance into state-run universities. However, for those students who passed the exam, "Islam" was pre-printed as a prospective student's religious affiliation on the form authorizing their matriculation. This action precluded Baha'i enrollment in the country's state-run universities since a tenet of Baha'ism is to not deny one's faith.

In principle, but with some exceptions, there is little restriction of or interference with Jewish religious practice; however, education of Jewish children has become more difficult in recent years. The Government reportedly allows Hebrew instruction, recognizing that it is necessary for Jewish religious practice. However, it strongly discourages the distribution of Hebrew texts, in practice making it difficult to teach the language. Moreover, the Government has required that in conformity with the schedule of other schools, several Jewish schools must remain open on Saturdays, which violates Jewish law.

Jewish citizens are permitted to obtain passports and to travel outside the country, but they often are denied the multiple-exit permits normally issued to other citizens. With the exception of certain business travelers, the authorities require Jews to obtain clearance and pay additional fees before each trip abroad. The Government appears concerned about the emigration of Jewish citizens and permission generally is not granted for all members of a Jewish family to travel outside the country at the same time.
According to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees' (UNHCR) background paper on the country, the Mandaeans are regarded as Christians and are included among the country's three recognized religious minorities. However, Mandaeans regard themselves not as Christians but as adherents of a religion that predates Christianity in both belief and practice. Mandaeans enjoyed official support as a distinct religion prior to the Revolution, but their legal status as a religion since then has been the subject of debate in the Majlis and has not been clarified. The small community faces discrimination similar to that faced by the country's other religious minorities. There were reports that members of the Mandaean community experienced societal discrimination and pressure to convert to Islam, and they often are denied access to higher education. Mandaean refugees have reported specific religious freedom violations and concerns, such as being forced to observe Islamic fasting rituals and to pray in Islamic fashion, both in direct violation of Mandaean teaching.

Sufi organizations outside the country remain concerned about government repression of Sufi religious practices, including the constant harassment and intimidation of prominent Sufi leaders by the intelligence and security services.

The Government propagates an interpretation of Islam that effectively deprives women of some rights granted to men. Gender segregation is enforced generally throughout the country without regard to religious affiliation and can be burdensome for those who do not follow strict Islamic religious codes; however, as a practical matter these prohibitions have loosened in recent years. Women must ride in a reserved section on public buses and enter public buildings, universities, and airports through separate entrances. Violators of these restrictions face punishments such as flogging or monetary fines. Women are prohibited from attending male sporting events, although this restriction does not appear to be enforced universally. Women are not free to choose what they wear in public, although enforcement of rules for conservative Islamic dress has eased in recent years. Women are subject to harassment by the authorities if their dress or behavior is considered inappropriate and are sentenced to flogging or imprisonment for such violations. Showing pictures of women in the media, including foreign women, who are not dressed in accordance with conservative Islamic dress norms, is prohibited by law. There are penalties, including flogging and monetary fines, for failure to observe norms of Islamic dress at work

Legally, the testimony of a woman is worth only half that of a man in court. A married woman must obtain the written consent of her husband before she may travel outside the country. The law provides for stoning for adultery; however, in 2002 the Government suspended this practice.

Although a male can marry at age 15 and above without parental consent, the 1991 Civil Law states that a virgin female, even over 18 years of age, needs the consent of her father or grandfather to wed, unless she is willing to go to court to get a ruling allowing her to marry without this consent.

Women have the right to divorce, and regulations promulgated in 1984 substantially broadened the grounds on which a woman may seek a divorce. However, a husband is not required to cite a reason for divorcing his wife. In 1986 the Government issued a 12‑point "contract" to serve as a model for marriage and divorce, which limits the privileges accorded to men by custom and traditional interpretations of Islamic law. The model contract also recognized a divorced woman's right to a share in the property that couples acquire during their marriage and to increased alimony rights. Women who remarry are forced to give up custody of children from earlier marriages to the child's father. The law allows for the granting of custody of minor children to the mother in certain divorce cases in which the father is proven unfit to care for the child.

Many female Muslims are seeking to eliminate laws and practices that discriminate against women, arguing that relegating women to a lesser status due to, interalia, their being considered "deficient in reason" is not a precept of Islam, but rather a non-Islamic accretion to Islamic practices.

Last edited by Oppenheimer on Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:59 am; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abuses of Religious Freedom

The property rights of Baha'is are generally disregarded, and they suffer frequent government harassment and persecution. Since 1979 the Government has confiscated large numbers of private and business properties belonging to Baha'is.
Numerous Baha'i homes reportedly have been seized and handed over to an agency of Supreme Leader Khamene'i. Sources indicate that property was confiscated in Rafsanjan, Kerman, Marv-Dasht, and Yazd. Several Baha'i farmers in the southern part of the country were arrested, and one who was jailed for several days was only freed after paying a fine. Authorities reportedly also confiscated Baha'i properties in Kata, forced several families to leave their homes and farmlands, imprisoned some farmers, and did not permit others to harvest their crops. In one instance, a Baha'i woman from Isfahan, who legally traveled abroad, returned to find that her home had been confiscated. The Government also has seized private homes in which Baha'i youth classes were held despite the owners having proper ownership documents. The Baha'i community claims the Government's seizure of Baha'i personal property and its denial of Baha'i access to education and employment are eroding the economic base of the community.

The Government harassed the Baha'i community by arbitrarily arresting Baha'is, charging them with violating Islamic penal code Articles 500 and 698, relating to activities against the State and spreading falsehood, respectively. Often, the charges were not dropped upon release and those with charges still pending against them reportedly feared rearrest at any time.

In February 2004, authorities initiated the destruction of the tomb of Quddus, a Baha'i holy site. Local Baha'is attempted to prevent the destruction through legal channels, but the tomb was destroyed in the interim. The Baha'is were not allowed permission to enter the site and retrieve the remains of this revered Baha'i figure. In June 2004, the house of Mizra Buzarg-e-Nuri, father of the faith's founder, was destroyed without notice. The house was confiscated before by the Government and was of great religious significance because the founder of the Baha'i Faith, Baha'u'llah, had lived there.

According to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, since 1979 more than 200 Baha'is have been killed, 15 have disappeared and are presumed dead, and more than 10,000 Baha'is have been dismissed from government and university jobs. The Government continued to imprison and detain Baha'is based on their religious beliefs.

In July 2004, a Baha'i optician in Hamadan was reportedly kidnapped and brutally attacked by five individuals, who threatened him with death if he did not recant his faith and convert to Islam. Local authorities were unwilling to pursue the case and a local judicial official told him "it would cost him dearly" if he chose to pursue his complaint against the assailants.

In November 2004, for the first time, the Baha'i community wrote an open letter to the government of the Islamic Republic, addressed to President Khatami, seeking an end to Baha'i-focused human rights and religious freedom abuses. Numerous anecdotal reports indicated a marked increase in government persecution of Baha'is after this letter. Much of this anti-Baha'i activity focused on Yazd, presumably due to Yazdi Baha'is having presented Yazd intelligence-security officials with a copy of the letter.

In December 2004 and January 2005, nine Baha'is in Yazd were arrested and briefly detained, with their homes searched and some possessions confiscated. On January 14, authorities summoned, questioned, and released another Yazd Baha'i, and four days later on January 18, four individuals came to his home and beat him with batons, inflicting severe injuries to his face, back, and arms. The same individuals, equipped with batons and communication devices, also attacked the home of another Baha'i later that day. On that same day, these same persons went to the home of a third Baha'i and attacked him with batons, causing serious head wounds. This third Baha'i was attacked again on January 25; on January 27 his shop was set on fire.

On February 2 and 3, the Baha'i cemetery in Yazd was destroyed, with cars driven over the graves, tombstones smashed, and the remains of the interred left exposed. Two days later, a gravestone was removed and left in front of a Baha'i's home, along with a threatening letter. The Baha'i community filed a complaint with authorities at the national level, but no action was taken. These events coincided with the launch of a campaign of defamation against the Baha'i Faith in government-controlled media.

In February, two Baha'is were released from prison after serving almost 15 years on charges related to their religious beliefs.

In March, a series of Baha'i arrests and imprisonments began throughout the country. In Tehran on March 6, intelligence officials arrested and took into custody three prominent Baha'is, and another was arrested and imprisoned on March 16. Agents conducted prolonged searches of their homes and confiscated documents, books, and other belongings. They were all detained without charge, and released after having posted bail.

On March 8, one of the Baha'is previously arrested and briefly detained (for having distributed the open letter from the Baha'i community to President Khatami), received a three-year sentence and was incarcerated in Evin prison. Another Baha'i previously arrested and detained, was tried in absentia and given a one-year sentence for the same alleged offence. Neither of these men had access to lawyers nor to any form of legal counsel.

On April 25, five more Baha'is were arrested and imprisoned, all members of farming families whose properties had been confiscated in the village of Kata, when they obeyed a summons and came to the court for hearings concerning their grievances. On May 3, four more Baha'is from Kata answered a similar summons and appeared before a court in the same province. The judge asked them if they would relinquish their property, and the four Baha'is responded that they would not do so because the homes and land had belonged to their forefathers. The judge ordered their arrest and detention. Legal action was taken on their behalf, and on May 30, all nine farmers were released from prison after a business license had been used as collateral.

On May 16, eight Baha'is were summoned to appear before the office of the Public Prosecutor in the city of Semnan, and the next day another Baha'i in that city received a similar summons. They were charged with "creating anxiety in the minds of the public and those of the Iranian officials" and distributing "propaganda against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran" for having distributed copies of the November 2004 open letter to various Iranian officials. When they arrived at the Prosecutor’s office on May 18, they were asked to post bail for their release. Concerned that this could lead to further arrests and bail demands affecting other Baha'is, they declined to do so. They were detained and subsequently freed on May 20 2005, with the understanding that they would appear for a hearing at a later date.

In total, between March and Juneapproximately 35 Baha'is were arrested, charged, and released pending trial, with the charges typically being "causing anxiety in the minds of the public and of officials," and "spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran." By the end of the reporting period, Mehran Kawsari and Zabihullah Mahrami, the latter of whom was arrested in 1995 and convicted of apostasy in 1996 because of his adherence to the Baha'i Faith, were the only two Baha'is remaining in jail due to charges relating to their beliefs. Mahrami continued to serve his life sentence, which was commuted from a death sentence by President Khatami in 1999. There were also 36 Baha'is released on bail and awaiting trial.

The Government vigilantly enforces its prohibition on proselytizing activities by evangelical Christians by closing their churches and arresting Christian converts. Members of evangelical congregations have been required to carry membership cards, photocopies of which must be provided to the authorities. Worshippers are subject to identity checks by authorities posted outside congregation centers. The Government has restricted meetings for evangelical services to Sundays, and church officials have been ordered to inform the Ministry of Information and Islamic Guidance before admitting new members to their congregations.

Conversion of a Muslim to a non-Muslim religion is considered apostasy under the law and is punishable by the death penalty, although it is unclear whether this punishment has been enforced in recent years. Similarly, non-Muslims may not proselytize Muslims without putting their own lives at risk. Evangelical church leaders are subject to pressure from authorities to sign pledges that they will not evangelize Muslims or allow Muslims to attend church services.

In previous years, the Government harassed churchgoers in Tehran, in particular worshippers of the capital's Assembly of God congregation. This harassment has included conspicuous monitoring outside Christian premises by Revolutionary Guards to discourage Muslims or converts from entering church premises, as well as demands for the presentation of the identity papers of worshippers inside. In May 2004, there were reports of the arrest of several dozen evangelical Christians in the north, including a Christian pastor, his wife, and their two teenage children in Chalous, in Mazandaran Province. Many of those arrested were released later in May, and the pastor and his family were released in July, after six weeks in detention. One press source reported that authorities ordered those jailed to stop meeting for worship and to "stop talking about Jesus."

On September 9 2004, security officials raided the annual general conference of the country's Assemblies of God Church, arresting approximately 85 religious leaders gathered at the church’s denominational center in Karaj. After fingerprinting and questioning, authorities released all but 10 pastors later that day. Of these, nine were released on September 12. Assemblies of God Pastor Hamid Pourmand, a former Muslim of Assyrian Christian background who converted to Christianity nearly 25 years ago and who led a congregation in Bushehr, was the only detainee not released. In November 2004, Pourmand, who was also a non-commissioned officer in the Army, was moved to a military prison. In late January 2005 he was tried in a military court on charges of espionage. On February 16 he was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 3 years, and was transferred to Evin Prison to serve his sentence. A military appeals court subsequently affirmed the verdict and the sentence. As a consequence, Pourmand faced automatic discharge from the army and forfeit of his entire income, pension, and housing for his family. In mid-April, Iranian authorities abandoned preliminary hearings against Pourmand before a Tehran General and Revolutionary Court on two separate charges of apostasy and proselytizing, both capital crimes, reportedly after news of his trial leaked out to the international press. In early May, he was transferred from Tehran to his home city of Bushehr to stand trial in a General and Revolutionary Court on these charges. On May 28, that court acquitted Pourmand on apostasy and proselytizing charges, and he was sent back to Tehran's Evin Prison to serve out the remainder ofhis 3-year prison sentence.

In 2000, 10 of 13 Jews arrested in 1999 were convicted on charges of illegal contact with Israel, conspiracy to form an illegal organization, and recruiting agents. Along with 2 Muslim defendants, the 10 Jews received prison sentences ranging from 4 to 13 years. An appeals court subsequently overturned the convictions for forming an illegal organization and recruiting agents, but it upheld the convictions for illegal contacts with Israel with reduced sentences. One of the 10 was released in February 2001 and another in January 2002, both upon completion of their prison terms. Three additional prisoners were released before the end of their sentences in October 2002. In April 2003, it was announced that the last five were to be released. It is not clear if the eight who were released before the completion of their sentences were fully pardoned or were released provisionally. During and shortly after the trial, Jewish-owned businesses in Tehran and Shiraz were targets of vandalism and boycotts, and Jews reportedly suffered personal harassment and intimidation. There were no reports of vandalism or similar harassment during the reporting period.

Numerous Sunni clerics have been killed in recent years, some allegedly by government agents. While the exact reason for their murders is unknown, most Sunni Muslims in the country belong to ethnic minorities who historically have suffered abuse by the central government.

There were no reports of government harassment of the Zoroastrian community during the reporting period; however, the community remains unable to convene a Spiritual Assembly to manage its religious affairs for fear of official retaliation, and there were reports of discrimination in employment and education. In June 2004, Zoroastrians were able to make, apparently without government interference, their annual pilgrimage to one of the holiest sites of their faith, the temple of Chak-Chak (near the city of Yazd).

The Government carefully monitors the statements and views of the country's senior Shi'a religious leaders. Several Shi'a religious leaders have been under house arrest for years, including Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who was released after 5 years of house arrest in January 2003.

The Special Clerical Court (SCC) system, established in 1987 to investigate offenses and crimes committed by clerics and which the Supreme Leader oversees directly, is not provided for in the Constitution and operates outside the domain of the judiciary. In particular, critics alleged that the clerical courts were used to prosecute certain clerics for expressing controversial ideas and for participating in activities outside the area of religion, including journalism.

On February 6, the special clerical court agreed to the conditional release (parole) of prominent dissident cleric Hojatoleslam Hassan Yussefi Eshkevari; he had served two thirds of his 7-year sentence and was therefore eligible for parole under the law. The cleric had been arrested in 2000, charged with the capital crimes of apostasy and "corruption on earth," in conjunction with speeches he had made in a 2000 conference on reform in Berlin.

Laws based on religion have been used to stifle freedom of expression. Independent newspapers and magazines have been closed, and leading publishers and journalists were imprisoned on vague charges of "insulting Islam" or "calling into question the Islamic foundation of the Republic." In 2002, academic Hashem Aghajari was sentenced to death for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammed, based on a speech in which he challenged Muslims not to blindly follow the clergy, provoking an international and domestic outcry. In February 2003, his death sentence was revoked by the Supreme Court, but the case was sent back to the lower court for retrial. He was retried in July 2003 on charges that did not include apostasy and was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment, 2 of which were suspended, and 5 years of additional "deprivation of social right" (meaning that he could not teach or write books or articles). His time served was counted towards his 3-year sentence; the court converted the remainder of the time to a fine.

Forced Religious Conversions

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

However, a child born to a Muslim father automatically is considered a Muslim. Also, Baha'is were repeatedly offered relief from mistreatment in exchange for recanting their faith.

Abuses by Terrorist Organizations

There were no reported abuses targeted at specific religions by terrorist organizations during the reporting period.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Section III. Societal Attitudes

The continuous presence of the country's pre‑Islamic, non‑Muslim communities, such as Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, has accustomed the population to the participation of non-Muslims in society; however, government actions continued to create a threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities.

While Jews are a recognized religious minority, allegations of official discrimination are frequent. The Government's anti‑Israel policies, along with a perception among radical Muslims that all Jewish citizens support Zionism and the state of Israel, create a hostile atmosphere for the small community. For example, during the reporting period, many newspapers celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the anti-Semitic publication "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Jewish leaders reportedly are reluctant to draw attention to official mistreatment of their community due to fear of government reprisal.

The Jewish community has been reduced to less than one-half of its prerevolutionary size. Some of this emigration is connected with the larger, general waves of departures following the establishment of the Islamic Republic, but some also stems from continued anti-Semitism on the part of the Government and within society.

In December 2004, the country's Sahar 1 TV station began airing a weekly series titled "For You, Palestine," or "Zahra's Blue Eyes," set in Israel and the West Bank. Produced in Farsi and subsequently translated into Arabic, this series depicted Israeli government, military, and civilian personnel harvesting organs from Palestinian children for the benefit of Israeli officials. Other anti-Semitic series shown on state-run Iranian television during this period included "The People of the Cave," a supposedly historical drama series, and "Al-Shatat." "Al-Shatat," originally broadcasted by Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV channel, portrayed the Jewish people as being responsible for most the world’s problems, via their conspiring to achieve political and economic domination over the world.

In April, Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani, one of the country's leading religious authorities, told a group of clerics that "one should fight the Jews and vanquish them," to prepare the ground and to hasten the advent of the Hidden Imam.

On April 13, Representative Maurice Motamed, who represents Jews in the Majlis, complained that Iran's state television was broadcasting anti-Semitic programs. According to the press, Motamed claimed that "insulting Jews and attributing false things to them in television serials over the past 12 years has not only hurt the feelings of the Jewish community but has also led to the emigration of a considerable percentage of the Jewish community." Motamed also claimed that repeated complaints about this problem have not had the desired effect.

The Government's anti-Israel policies and the trial of 13 Jews in 2000, along with the perception among some of the country's radicalized elements that Jews support Zionism and the state of Israel, created a threatening atmosphere for the Jewish community (see Section II). Many Jews have sought to limit their contact with or support for the state of Israel out of fear of reprisal. Recent anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations have included the denunciation of Jews themselves as opposed to the past practice of denouncing only "Israel" and "Zionism," adding to the threatening atmosphere for the community.

Sunni Muslims encounter religious discrimination at the local, provincial, and national levels, and there were reports of discrimination against practitioners of the Sufi tradition during the reporting period. Sufis were also targeted by the country's intelligence and security services.

In June 2003, an interfaith delegation of American Christians, Jews, and Muslims traveled to meet with religious, political, and cultural leaders. In April 2005, an interfaith delegation of Muslims, Christians, and Jews paid a return visit to the United States, attending an interfaith conference in Washington, D.C.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The United States has no diplomatic relations with the country, and thus it cannot raise directly the restrictions that the Government places on religious freedom and other abuses the Government commits against adherents of minority religions. The U.S. Government makes its position clear in public statements and reports, support for relevant U.N. and NGO efforts, and diplomatic initiatives to press for an end to government abuses.

From 1982 to 2001, the U.S. Government co-sponsored a resolution each year regarding the human rights situation in the country offered by the European Union at the annual meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). It passed every year until 2002, when the United States did not have a seat on the Commission, and the resolution failed passage by one vote. The U.S. supported a similar resolution offered each year during the U.N. General Assembly until the fall of 2002, when no resolution was tabled. The U.S. Government strongly supported the work of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran and called on the Government to grant him admission and allow him to conduct his research during the period of his mandate, which expired with the defeat of the resolution at the UNCHR in 2002. There also was no resolution on the country at the UNCHR in the spring of 2003. In 2003 the Canadian Government introduced a resolution censuring the country's human rights policies, which was passed by the U.N. General Assembly. The U.S. remains supportive of efforts to raise the human rights situation whenever appropriate within international organizations.

On numerous occasions, the U.S. State Department spokesman has addressed the situation of the Baha'i and Jewish communities in the country. The U.S. Government has encouraged other governments to make similar statements and has urged them to raise the issue of religious freedom in discussions with the Government.

Since 1999, the Secretary of State has designated Iran as a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

Released on November 8, 2005

International Religious Freedom Report Home Page

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Special Briefing
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 8, 2005

Ambassador John Hanford On the Department of State's Annual Report On International Religious Freedom


(2:30 p.m. EST)

AMBASSADOR HANFORD: Well, thank you, Secretary Rice, for your remarks and for your strong commitment to international religious freedom. It is truly an honor to serve a Secretary and a President who have put freedom for all people at the forefront of our foreign policy and who have such a heart for religious freedom in particular.

The Annual Report on International Religious Freedom is first and foremost a reflection of the core conviction of millions of Americans that all people have the right to believe and worship as they choose without fear of persecution or government reprisal. It is a mandate of Congress under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. It reflects the leadership of the President and the Secretary on this issue and it is the result of the dedicated work by hundreds of Civil Service and Foreign Service employees, serving here in Washington and around the world.

This conviction, this passionate commitment, to the fundamental right of freedom of belief, is a principle which we know we share with people all over the world. It is enshrined powerfully in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the freedom to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

As President Bush put it earlier this year, "As the United States advances the cause of liberty, we remember that freedom is not America's gift to the world, but God's gift to each man and woman in this world. This truth drives our efforts to help people everywhere achieve freedom of religion."

The annual report plays a critical role in our effort to promote the universal right to religious freedom. First, the report helps us shine a light on injustice. This year, as in past years, our report documents the continuing and widespread abuse of religious freedom in many countries around the globe. Barriers to religious freedom vary widely. In some countries, they are the result of concerted action by oppressive regimes and their quest for control. In others, governments discriminate against or oppress minority or unapproved religions. And in many countries, governments fail in their obligation to protect people of minority faiths from a society that is discriminatory or hostile.

Even some of the most open societies in the world have limited freedom of religion in ways that are difficult to justify. It is the purpose of this report to encourage abroad, just as we do here in the United States, a careful and continual examination by every government and society as to whether each person's right to believe as he or she chooses is fully protected or unnecessarily limited.

The second role of this report is to help us monitor progress, which we found this year even in some of the most restricted places in the world. In many nations, this has been a good year for religious freedom. In Turkmenistan, where serious violations of religious freedom persist, we saw hopeful signs with the streamlining of registration procedures and the registration of a number of new religious groups. Last year, the government substantially revamped laws regulating religious activities. They decriminalized violations of religious policies. They released all religious prisoners. And just recently, the government conducted a first-ever roundtable with representatives of religious minorities to begin addressing their concerns.

In Qatar, the new constitution that just came into effect explicitly provides for freedom of worship and guarantees the right of association and assembly in accordance with the law.

In the United Arab Emirates, government officials took the lead in encouraging moderation, showing respect for minority religions and fostering understanding among faiths.

In India, the new government has taken important steps to improve the religious freedom situation and the state of Tamil Nadu took a very positive step by repealing its anti-conversion law.

In Pakistan, while serious religious freedom problems remain, the government has maintained its public calls for religious tolerance and has taken some important and positive steps on this issue. These include revising the implementation of blasphemy laws and Hudood Ordinances to curb abuses, attempting to curb sectarian violence and encouraging reform of the public education curriculum designed to end the teaching of religious intolerance.

In a number of countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China, we've seen important releases of religious prisoners.

In Kuwait, the Government has allowed Shia Muslims from India to worship freely.

Finally, on Vietnam, we remain concerned about a number of problems, including prisoners and continuing implementation problems at the local level and the lack of normalized relations with several religious groups. However, this year, Vietnam has made some very significant efforts to improve religious freedom. We have been particularly encouraged by the promulgation of new laws governing religious activities and efforts to ensure their implementation. The government released 14 prominent prisoners and has facilitated registration and reopening of some of the churches, which had previously been closed in the Central Highlands. We are also very pleased that our work together has resulted in an agreement to expand religious freedom in Vietnam, the first such agreement signed under the International Religious Freedom Act.

Despite this progress in these and other countries, the fact remains that this year's report continues to document tragic and widespread abuses of religious freedom by governments around the world. It is on the basis of this report that we speak out on behalf of those suffering for their beliefs. And it is in this report -- it is this report that helps us focus on countries where government repression is at its worst.

Today, we are announcing the re-designation of eight "Countries of Particular Concern." Some of these countries have not been willing to engage in any meaningful way on religious matters. Burma, Iran and North Korea fall into this category, as does Eritrea. In September, the Secretary approved a sanction against Eritrea because the government has refused to reverse its abuses of religious freedom or to respond in any significant way to our efforts at engagement.

Other "Countries of Particular Concern" had been more open. I've already mentioned Vietnam's efforts. China and Saudi Arabia have also demonstrated a willingness to engage with us to improve religious freedom. And with the signing of the Peace Accord, there is now hope -- there's reason to hope -- that we might see progress in Sudan.

Although we are not designating any new "Countries of Particular Concern" at this time, the International Religious Freedom Act provides for making such designations at any time during the year. Presently, we are in the late stages of our discussions with one or two potential "Countries of Particular Concern" and we may have an announcement to make in the near future.

In addition to serving as a basis for designating "Countries of Particular Concern," our annual report, combined with our continual monitoring throughout the year, helps highlight other countries where there are troubling violations of religious freedom. Uzbekistan is one such country. Uzbekistan's law on religion is in violation of international norms and conventions and is used against both Muslims and Christians. While the Government of Uzbekistan took important steps in 2004 to address torture and to establish police accountability, many of the most serious abuses occurred in pretrial detention, where physical mistreatment is widespread.

In thousands of cases, authorities have asserted membership in banned political organizations that encourage terrorism, based solely on outward expression by Muslims of their devout beliefs. The government has also made false assertions of membership in extremist organizations as a pretext for oppressing the innocent expression of religious belief. Many more thousands of Muslim believers live in fear that their religious activities alone may provoke suspicion or even arrest by government authorities. U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed the Government of Uzbekistan to allow more freedom of religious expression and to revise its laws on religion.

Let me offer several more examples of countries where we are focusing our efforts.

In India, the United States revoked the visa of a senior state level official on religious freedom grounds. And U.S. officials sought reversal of discriminatory laws while encouraging better understanding among Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist communities.

In Egypt, senior U.S. Government officials have raised our concerns about discrimination against Christians and other groups, and U.S. programs and activities support a wide range of initiatives related to religious freedom.

And in Iraq, U.S. officials at all levels, including the Secretary of State and members of Congress, the Ambassador and Embassy officers, have regularly engaged the governmental problems related to freedom of religion and the Embassy has undertaken a number of activities to promote religious understanding and tolerance.

Now, these are just a small sampling of our efforts over the past year on behalf of religious freedom. The report documents the full range of our efforts in each of the countries covered.

Our ongoing commitment to religious freedom leads us continually to expand these efforts. Ensuring greater religious freedom means demanding changes in laws that are oppressive or discriminatory, it means insisting on better enforcement of laws by governmental officials, it means devoting energy and resources to promoting greater understanding of the importance of this universal value, and it means pressing for the release of religious prisoners and coming to the aid of victims of abuse.

As a central part of the President's freedom agenda, all of these efforts are about one thing: making life secure and free from fear and harassment for individual people of faith around the world. Eleanor Roosevelt, a great champion of human rights, never lost sight of this focus on the individual. When asked where human rights begin, she answered: "In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world, yet they are the world of the individual person."

There is no right more central to the world of the individual person than religious freedom. For all our many differences around the world, each of us holds certain beliefs dear and we all understand intuitively that we have the right to express them, especially through the practice of our faith. Societies that achieve respect for the freedom of religion have laid one of the cornerstones of democracy: the rule of law and respect for the individual. That is why we work so hard on this report and why I'm pleased to present it to you today.

Before I take questions, let me say a quick word of thanks to all those who have worked so diligently to make this report happen: first, to the staff of the Office of International Religious Freedom, which took over full responsibility for editing and producing this report for the first time this year; also, to our colleagues in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who provided so much support; and finally, to our colleagues and regional bureaus and embassies around the world who worked so diligently to collect, report and verify the information contained in this report all throughout the year.

And now, I'd be happy to take your questions.

MR. ERELI: If I could ask that you identify yourself and your news organization when you ask your questions.

Note: (Excerpts from questions)

QUESTION: Libby Leist from NBC News. In the case of Iran and North Korea, how can the U.S. effectively apply pressure to those countries to change their ways when, you know, we don't have diplomatic ties with those nations?

AMBASSADOR HANFORD: Right. Well, we continue to find ways to interact on these issues. As you know, there's a Special Envoy that's been appointed to work on human rights issues concerning North Korea, and religious freedom will be very, very prominent in that country. North Korea, as I mentioned, is a very different situation from Saudi Arabia, where you may have two Protestant churches that have been opened in the last 20 years but they're largely show churches and citizens are largely prohibited from attending.

It's a tough uphill climb, certainly one of the greatest challenges that I feel in my work. We try our best to get accurate information and that can often be very challenging. I personally have seen work in Iran sometimes succeed where people who are respectful of minority religions are willing to intervene and protect the right of minority faiths to not be imprisoned or executed, but there's always that risk.

There are, in many of these countries, people coming from different perspectives, some that are more aggressive and some that are more tolerant.

QUESTION: I'm from Radio Farda. Don't you believe that there is a conflict between religious freedom and misuing of this freedom by some governments such as Iran and what do you think about that?

AMBASSADOR HANFORD: Well, certainly, the way Iran uses religion, we would not view as religious freedom because of the level of intolerance. Religious freedom should look like what we see described in the UN Declaration of Human Rights or the ICCPR. And so there should be complete tolerance, as we have in the United States, for people to worship according to the dictates of their own heart.

One of the things that I take great joy in is running into so many Muslim Americans who say that they have more freedom to practice their faith in America than they ever had in their Muslim country. And so we encourage this sort of a model of respecting people as long as their intentions are peaceful to be able to meet, constitute places of worship, elect their own leadership and not be under severe surveillance and worship according to their own hearts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Appendix A: Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Appendix B: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 4993

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:01 pm    Post subject: Asking For International FREE Societies Report Reply with quote

Asking For International FREE Societies Report
Dear Oppenheimer,
Thank you for this informative post.
Not having any religion and Agnostic rights must also be protected.
What is an Agnostic? By Khayyam and Bertrand Russell
Due to the fact that religious freedom is one element of FREE Societies therefore if US government support free society concept and policy for everywhere then we cover all basis. Do you agree?
I am asking for International FREE Societies Report

If Dr. Rice push for the following test and her statement become US policy then the religious freedom becomes subset of Free Society.

Condoleezza Rice's Opening Statement

January 18, 2005
The Associated Press
Houston Chronicle

To be sure, in our world there remain outposts of tyranny and America stands with oppressed people on every continent ... in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe. The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls the ``town square test'': if a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a ``fear society'' has finally won their freedom.

We should not forget that all religions must also respect the rules of Free Society otherwise it will become illegal to practice that religion which does not respect other people rights, e.g. a Mullah or Cleric can not issue Fatwa to kill their opponents or force others to do things …...

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Cyrus,

Way back when US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the "four freedoms" (the freedom from fear, the freedom from want, the freedom of worship, and the freedom of speech), these precepts were incorperated into the UN charter at its founding, and the universal declaration of human rights subsequently thereafter.

I can think of a number of times where statements by both Mr. Bush and Secretary Rice have included your following statement

"Not having any religion and Agnostic rights must also be protected."

So, given the long history of the US government's support for freedom, democracy and human rights as essential elements in a functioning, prosperous society that lives in peace, I would say there is no need to use the word "if" in your following statements.

-"Due to the fact that religious freedom is one element of FREE Societies therefore if US government support free society concept and policy for everywhere then we cover all basis."

-"If Dr. Rice push for the following test and her statement become US policy then the religious freedom becomes subset of Free Society."

You asked:
"Do you agree?"

Well Cyrus, I understand it as a "given" in respect to US policy, and I think when you read the following you will understand why. As well as the distinct probablility you'll not ever use the "if" word again....(chuckle)...when you contemplate US policy for free societies.



Remarks at American Bar Association's Rule of Law Symposium

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Capital Hilton
Washington, DC
November 9, 2005


Ladies and Gentlemen: The advance of freedom and the success of democracy and
the flourishing of human potential all depend on governments that honor and
enforce the rule of law. Today, America's belief in the universal nature of
human liberty, a belief we expressed in our Declaration and enshrined in our
Constitution, now leads us into a world to help others win their freedom and
secure it in law.

Today, the greatest challenges that we face emerge more from within states than
between them -- from states that are either unable or unwilling to apply the
rule of law within their borders. In a world where threats pass even through
the most fortified boundaries, weak and poorly governed states enable disease
to spread undetected and corruption to multiply unchecked and hateful
ideologies to grow more violent and more vengeful.

As the fate of nations grows ever more connected, our challenges are
unprecedented, but our purposes are clear: Where weaker governments possess the
will but the lack of means to enforce the rule of law, we must empower them
with the strength of our partnership. And where autocrats still rule by
coercion of the state rather than by the consent of the governed, we must
support the rights of their oppressed citizens, wherever they raise their voice
for equal justice and lawful government.

Where the rule of law is undermined by government corruption, we are offering
incentives for honest and transparent behavior. Anti-corruption is one of the
key standards of our Millennium Challenge Account initiative, an initiative
that rewards good governance and the fight against corruption. And in just the
past year, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has signed new development
compacts with five countries that are worth hundreds of billions of dollars to
those countries, each of which involves significant political and legal

Where the rule of law is flouted by immoral rulers and war criminals, we are
helping citizens to operate international tribunals and special courts of
justice. The United States helped to launch such efforts in Rwanda and Sierra
Leone and the former Yugoslavia. And we continue to support all people who seek
justice for their nations by lawfully trying the criminals who ravaged them.

Finally, where the rule of law is emerging from decades of tyranny, the United
States is helping newly democratic peoples to liberate themselves.

In Afghanistan, we have dedicated more than $62 million since the fall of the
Taliban to build new courthouses, to train new judges and to reform the
nation's regulatory system. To help the Afghan people enforce the rule of law
themselves, we have also trained 32,000 new police officers who are now
patrolling the streets of that country as well as its highways and its borders.

And in Iraq, we have committed approximately $1 billion to train and equip the
men and women of Iraq's new national police force to better protect and serve
their fellow citizens. We have spent nearly $400 million to strengthen the rule
of law across all of Iraq, helping the Iraqi people to reform their system of
legal education, to secure their country's many courtrooms and to frame their
new democratic constitution. These judicial reforms are enabling the Iraqi High
Tribunal to begin holding fair trials for the leaders of the Baathist regime,
including Saddam Hussein himself.

Well, as we empower our partners in weak and poorly governed states to uphold
the rule of law, we also expect them to meet their international obligations.
For the United States, an essential element of the rule of law has always been,
and still remains, law among nations. We've always respected our international
legal obligations and we have led the world in developing new international
Indeed, this has made America somewhat unique in the world and in world history
because we try and use our great power not to win glory or imperial gain for
ourselves but to establish international rules and norms that we encourage
others to follow. After World War II, we negotiated new treaties and built new
international institutions for the peaceful resolution of disputes. And today,
one of my highest priorities is to transform our great institutions, like the
United Nations, to reflect the world as it is in 2005, not as it was in 1945.

Ladies and Gentlemen: We Americans have never viewed liberty and law as
detracting from one another. Indeed, our Founding Fathers believed, as John
Locke did, that the purpose of law is not "to abolish or restrain [freedom],
but to preserve and enlarge freedom." And from the earliest days of our
Republic, American has proclaimed the principle that without law, liberty
becomes licentiousness and without liberty, law becomes oppression.

America strives to realize our calling as a nation of laws, not of men, a
nation that holds all governments and citizens, especially our own, to
principles that transcend mere brute force or will to power. When Americans
violate the law, whether in our country or in foreign lands, we do and we
should hold them accountable for their crimes as we saw in the aftermath
after the horrific events that sickened us all at Abu Ghraib.

The virtue of the rule of law is not that it erases all human imperfection but
that it upholds a standard of justice that enables democratic societies to
improve themselves over time.

America is a country of laws. We will always be a country of laws. And we will
remain an international leader because we will be committed, not simply to our
strength but to our love of liberty, our support for democracy and most of all,
our devotion to the rule of law. Here in this setting, for those of you who
hold deep a commitment to the rule of law, I want to thank you for that
commitment. I want to thank you for helping to be the conscience of America in
that commitment. And for all that you do every day to educate, to train and to
spread that commitment to the rule of law.

Remarks at the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign's 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, DC
November 8, 2005


In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush declared that "the policy of
the United States is to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and
institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending
tyranny in our world."

Now, to fulfill this grand goal, I have called upon the men and women of the
State Department to practice transformational diplomacy -- to deal with the
world as it is, but never, never to accept that we are powerless to change the
world for the better.
Finally, there is nothing more transformational than to help others to find and
secure their liberty and their freedom. There have been times when people have
said that there are people who aren't quite ready for democracy. It was said
once about Russians. It was said about Asians, that Asian values were somehow
incompatible with democracy. It was said about Africans that tribalism would
always trump democracy.

In fact, in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, it was said about people like
me, that African Americans were too childlike or needed protection. And they
didn't really need the vote; they wouldn't know what to do with it.

And it's been said, and in some quarters is still being said, about people of
the Middle East, people of Afghanistan, people of the newly emerging
democracies. But as you look across the globe, you cannot help but be inspired
by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the
Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. And who will ever forget that twice now in
Afghanistan, a country that is still very underdeveloped, old men and young
girls stood along dusty roads just to be able to cast the right to vote? And
who will forget that in Iraq, twice now, despite the fact that there were
posters that said "Vote and you will die," first 8.5 million and 10 million
Iraqis went out and exercised their right to vote? Who dares say that there are
any people on earth who do not deserve the simple human dignity that comes with
being able to choose those who will govern you, to say what you think, to
worship as you please, to educate your children, both boys and girls? Who would
dare say? (Applause.)

Now, the resources that you are helping to provide through your advocacy and
through your commitment to foreign assistance is helping us to help people
secure their freedom. America cannot deliver freedom and liberty. We can only
help to create the conditions in which people can seize it for themselves. But
whenever you hear people say that we are imposing democracy, remind them that
you impose tyranny. Democracy and freedom come naturally to human beings.

But what is needed is to help people build the institutions of democracy, to
build civil society, to run elections freely and fairly, to build competent
police forces, to build competent judiciary forces that are not corrupt, to do
all of the things that we now take for granted. But just so we remember that as
hard as it is, this can be done.

I would just call your attention to the wonderful slogans behind me: Protecting
National Security, Strengthening Humanitarian Values, and Building Economic

And I would suggest to you that these three are inextricably linked. That in
fact, if you think back on times when it seemed impossible that democracy would
take hold, that prosperity would spread and that humanitarian and democratic
values could actually take root. If you think back on those times, it was the
commitment of American will, the commitment of American skill and the
commitment of American resources that made it possible where it had seemed

Sometimes I know that when we watch the daily violence in Iraq or the violence
in Afghanistan and you see evil men blowing up innocent children standing at a
bus stop or taking candy from our soldiers, it's hard to believe that these
countries are ever going to be stable, that people are ever going to have the
blessings of democracy without the sacrifice of blood. It's hard to believe
unless you think back. And if you go back to the end of World War II in 1945
and you ask, how did those people in the State Department and in the
government: Marshall and Kennan and Nitze and Acheson and in the White House,
Truman, how did they come to believe that democracy was going to take hold,
because after all, in 1946 the Communist won 48 percent of the vote in Italy
and 46 percent of the vote in France. And in 1947, the reconstruction in
Germany was still failing, Germans were starving and we launched the Marshall

And in 1947 there was a civil war in Greece and civil strife in Turkey. And in
1948, the Berlin airlift had to break the blockade of Berlin but seemed to doom
Germany to permanent division. And in 1948, Czechoslovakia fell to a communist
coup and in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of
schedule and the Chinese Communists won. Those weren't just tactical set backs
for democracy. Those were strategic disasters, but somehow, some way these
people kept their faith in democracy. They kept their faith in our principles
and they kept their desire to put the resources forward so that prosperity
could be built, humanitarian values could spread and, indeed, national security
could be secured.

Now, we cannot even imagine a Europe in which there's war between Germany and
France, but in 1947 it seemed that it would be inevitable that it happened
again. Now, we cannot imagine a Europe in which major war is ever a threat
again. Now, some 15 years later, it is hard to remember the days when Poland
was a captive nation. And yet now this Europe is a stable and secure Europe, an
increasingly prosperous Europe and a Europe that is a partner for us in
securing liberty for others.

I submit to you that one day we will say the same about Afghanistan and Iraq
and Pakistan and Lebanon and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace
with Israel. (Applause.) And some day another Secretary of State will stand
here and say to the Global Leadership Campaign, thank you for providing the
resources so that America's essential leadership can continue to spread freedom
and liberty and justice for all.

Thank you very much.


Released on November 9, 2005

See http://www.state.gov/secretary/ for all remarks by the Secretary of State.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 4993

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 1:00 pm    Post subject: Winning War On Terror Starts With Islamist Regime Change Reply with quote

Oppenheimer wrote:
Dear Cyrus,

Way back when US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the "four freedoms" (the freedom from fear, the freedom from want, the freedom of worship, and the freedom of speech), these precepts were incorperated into the UN charter at its founding, and the universal declaration of human rights subsequently thereafter.

I can think of a number of times where statements by both Mr. Bush and Secretary Rice have included your following statement

"Not having any religion and Agnostic rights must also be protected."

So, given the long history of the US government's support for freedom, democracy and human rights as essential elements in a functioning, prosperous society that lives in peace, I would say there is no need to use the word "if" in your following statements.

-"Due to the fact that religious freedom is one element of FREE Societies therefore if US government support free society concept and policy for everywhere then we cover all basis."

-"If Dr. Rice push for the following test and her statement become US policy then the religious freedom becomes subset of Free Society."

You asked:
"Do you agree?"

Well Cyrus, I understand it as a "given" in respect to US policy, and I think when you read the following you will understand why. As well as the distinct probablility you'll not ever use the "if" word again....(chuckle)...when you contemplate US policy for free societies.




Winning War On Terror Starts With Islamist Regime Change and Establishing FREE Society in Iran

Certainly president Bush and Dr. Rice words indicate that they have clear understanding of brilliant idea of FREE Society concept and policy. In past 5 years if President Bush Admin would have executed the Free Society policy regarding Iran seriously, then the Islamist regime would have been part of history, they know it themselves clearly and US would not have been in big mess in Iraq, I don’t want to enter the Iraq discussion now.
I am looking for list of real actions and results by President Bush Admin in past 5 years regarding execution of Free Society and Islamist regime change policy by US.
Due to the fact that Bush Admin did not have Iran’s Islamist regime change policy in past 5 years therefore US government was not faithful to FREE Society policy and War on Terror.
Time is running out I hope Bush Admin becomes very serious regarding the regime change in Iran, if we are waiting for EU 3 , UN and Russia to agree with us, I don’t think we can get anywhere soon. The G8 governments wasted 25 years of talking with Islamist regime without any progress, can they show us list of their progress. Is the world any safer today?

As I have been saying since 12 years ago and I repeat it again:
We should not judge politicians by their words but by their hard and difficult choices, actions, and great sacrifices. Greatness is not achieved by words but by hard work, difficult choices, actions and sacrifice. It takes more than intellect and general knowledge to make a leader ethical and moral. It takes courage and ethics. Certainly evolution's path towards greatness is not easy.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Cyrus,

If you're looking for tangible results, I'd say you can start with 55 million people living in free societies in two nations on Iran's borders that were subject to vile tyranies 4 years ago.

That's part of those "conditions" the US is creating as Condi Rice put it.

I know there are a lot of impatient patriots in the Iranian community, and things don't seem to move as fast as you'd like, but all good things take time.

Today, there is more pressure than ever on the IRI, that's not even debatable....but if you want instant solutions, you'll be waiting forever....it's a step by step process, and if you are looking for instant regime change, I guarranteee you it won't be peacefull.

That time may come, sooner rather than later, but only when diplomacy has been exausted.

Thing about words Cyrus, and maybe you don't realize this....but they are indeed a reflection of the policy that is effect, generating results today.

When you consider the alternatives to the diplomatic efforts underway, I can say with certainty that the US alone could castrate the IRI in 90 minutes or less, but that produces a whole different set of problems for the Iranian people. The point is to try and remove this tyranical regime without a war, and that takes time and patience.

You have doubts? Only I think because you are failing to see the changing circumstances that US policy has initiated in the region.

You say Iraq is "a big mess" , well democracy building is a messy buisiness Cyrus, and it's hard work. Considering the difficulties faced, I give the Iraqi people a lot of credit for having come as far as they have in just a couple years. Afghans too.

"In past 5 years if President Bush Admin would have executed the Free Society policy regarding Iran seriously, then the Islamist regime would have been part of history,...."

There's that "if" word again....chuckle.......and I tell you this...changing the Mideast is a big job, the way to regime change in Iran, as policy, is through Afghanistan and Iraq....it takes time to do the prep work, and today you are starting to see the results of that comprehensive approach.

I've heard some folks ask me , "Why didn't the US attack Iran instead of Iraq?"

My answer was, "One axis of evil nation at a time." Stategicly, the IRI is surrounded, becoming futher isolated, fast losing any and all allies and support, and I believe you'll see in December some very concrete measures taken in the UN Security Council, as part of the diplomatic approach that is essential from a moral and legal perspective before any military intervention is deemed neccessary.

Briefing En Route Shannon, Ireland

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
En Route Shannon, Ireland
November 10, 2005

SECRETARY RICE: Let me just start with a few words about the bombings in
Jordan, which we continue to follow and to offer any assistance to the
Jordanian Government that is needed. This is obviously a terrible tragedy and
it again underscores that these terrorists will attack innocent people without
remorse. In fact, I understand that there have been demonstrations in Jordan
against terrorism. It shows, I think, that ordinary people are really tired of
these killers who are just determined to attack innocent people in the service
of this extremist ideology.

We are also noting that the Jordanians have been very stalwart fighters in the
war on terrorism and so anything that we can do, we can do to help, we will.
But it's a very sad thing when people attack a wedding party, for instance, and
it should have been a great moment of joy and unfortunately turned into a great
tragedy. So we stand with the Jordanians, with the Jordanian people. I am about
to be in contact with my Jordanian counterpart and with others to see what we
can do.

Well, very much looking forward to going to the Forum for the Future in
Bahrain. We are going to establish the first two institutions of the Broader
Middle East Initiative: the Fund for the Future, which will be a set of equity
investments in small businesses and medium size businesses to try and help
stimulate private economic development. It is a fund that is anticipated to be
at about $100 million. We will also establish the Foundation for the Future,
and that foundation will make grants -- it's anticipated to be about a little
over $50 million -- anticipated to make grants to democracy organizations, NGOs
in the region that want to promote equality for women, that want to promote the
development of political parties and free press, and so forth.

And the remarkable thing about this is that we're going to have Arab partners,
Middle Eastern partners, in both of these ventures. And so I'm very much
looking forward to that.

We will then, of course, go on to Saudi Arabia and in Saudi Arabia we will have
the Strategic Dialogue that I opened with my counterpart some months ago. There
have been working-level discussions about everything from promoting economic
development and activity of the kind that the WTO accession of Saudi Arabia
would promote to the discussions about a reform agenda in Saudi Arabia. And so
I look forward to doing that.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, just on another subject, there's a report that
there has been a solution that might be proposed to Iran involving the
treatment of their fuel outside, perhaps in Russia, and that you have set a
deadline of two weeks to give them to respond, according to the report. Can you
respond, please?

SECRETARY RICE: Let me make a few comments about the story that was there this
morning. The first thing is there is no U.S.-European proposal to the Iranians.
I want to say that categorically. There isn't and there won't be. We are doing
what we have been doing for some time, which is keeping our partners -- our
diplomatic partners are keeping us apprised of their thinking about the future
of their negotiations with the Iranians. It won't surprise you that we have
constant contact with the European 3 about the kinds of ideas that are being
explored. We also are discussing with the Russians ideas that they have had,
but I want to underscore there isn't and there won't be a U.S. proposal. We are
not parties to these negotiations and we don't intend to become parties to the

We are supportive of a diplomatic solution to this problem but it has to be a
diplomatic solution in which the Iranians do not acquire the technological
capacity to break out and make a nuclear weapon. Now, in that regard, everybody
is most concerned about enrichment and reprocessing, what the President has
called a loophole in the NPT. But we are also concerned about other parts of
the fuel cycle and I think it's fair to say that we would be very concerned if
the Iranians were left with stockpiles of UF-6 that could be used in nuclear
weapons. But I don't want to get any further into details about what may be
being contemplated by other parties to the negotiations -- by the parties to
the negotiations.

We do hope that if there is a way for the Iranians to accept a way forward that
would give confidence that they are not, in fact, trying to seek a nuclear
weapon under cover of a civilian nuclear program, that they would take that.
And we've said that.

Now, we believe that we have the votes in the IAEA for a referral. As I've said
before, we'll do it at a time of our choosing and it, of course, depends on
what the course of the diplomacy looks like. So we're following it very
closely. We're talking to people.

Finally, there was something about assured fuel supply. And we've been in
discussions with a number of parties about assured fuel supply as a way to
close the loophole in the NPT for some time. I think you'll remember that the
President talked about potential assured fuel supply all the way back in his
NDU speech. Mohamed ElBaradei has talked about that. We did indeed talk about
that when I saw him. It is a very good way for countries to fulfill their needs
for fuel for a civilian reactor without the kind of proliferation risk that's
attendant to enriching and reprocessing. And the Russians structured the
Bushehr nuclear deal in that way, and as we've said, we think there are
favorable characteristics to the way that deal was structured. So that's what's
going on.

QUESTION: Just one precision -- the two-week deadline that's mentioned that you
might have said, can you come back to that?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, while I am not going to talk about what I said in
meetings, I have said and I continue to say that this is -- that we'll do this
at a time of our choosing. And you know, probably when you read the story this
morning you thought, "But I thought she didn't talk about deadlines." I don't.
I don't talk about deadlines. I believe that that is not the way to conduct
diplomacy. But obviously there is a meeting coming up on November 24th and
we'll have to decide what to do. But this is going to be at a time of our

I do want to emphasize, though, we have -- we believe we've got the votes in
the IAEA should we decide to try and call for referral.

-------end excerpt---------
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

President Commemorates Veterans Day, Discusses War on Terror
Tobyhanna Army Depot
Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania

11:45 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Thank you all for coming, please be seated. Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm glad to be back in Pennsylvania and I'm proud to be the first sitting President to visit Monroe County. (Applause.) I'm especially pleased to see so many military veterans with us today. Those who have risked their lives for our freedom have the respect and gratitude of our nation on Veterans Day and on every day. (Applause.)

Tobyhanna is a fitting place to commemorate Veterans Day. In the better part of a century, this facility has provided critical services for our armed forces. Around the clock and around the world, personnel from here maintain technology that our troops use to take the fight to the enemy. From Afghanistan to Kuwait to Baghdad International Airport, technicians from Tobyhanna are carrying out dangerous missions with bravery and skill. I know you're proud of them, and so is the Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

Tobyhanna is also home to a thriving community of military families. Your support for those who wear the uniform and your support of each other through difficult times brings great pride to our country. The American people stand with our military families. (Applause.)

I want to thank Colonel Ellis for allowing me to come and give you this speech today. Thank you for your service to our country, Colonel Ellis. (Applause.) I want to thank Senator Specter and Congressman Kanjorski and Congressman Sherwood for joining us today. It was good to have them on Air Force One. (Applause.) I appreciate their service to our country. And I want to thank all the state and local officials, and I want to thank all the veterans. (Applause.)

Today, our nation pays tribute to those veterans, 25 million veterans who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. Each of these men and women took an oath to defend America -- and they upheld that oath with honor and decency. Through the generations, they have humbled dictators and liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world. This year, 3.5 million veterans celebrate the 60th anniversary of freedom's great victory in World War II. A handful of veterans who live among us in 2005 stood in uniform when World War I ended 87 years ago today. These men are more than a hundred years old, many of their lives have touched three different centuries, and they can all know that America will be proud of their service. (Applause.)

On Veterans Day, we also remember the troops who left America's shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans. On this Veterans Day, we honor the courage of those who were lost in the current struggle. We think of the families who lost a loved one; we pray for their comfort. And we remember the men and women in uniform whose fate is still undetermined -- our prisoners of war and those missing in action. America must never forget their courage. And we will not stop searching until we have accounted for every soldier and sailor and airman and Marines missing in the line of duty. (Applause.)

All of America's veterans have placed the nation's security before their own lives. Their sacrifice creates a debt that America can never fully repay. Yet, there are certain things that government can do; my administration remains firmly committed to serving America's veterans. (Applause.)

Since I took office, my administration has increased spending for veterans by $24 billion -- an increase of 53 percent. (Applause.) In the first four years as President, we increased spending for veterans more than twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years, and I want to thank the members of the Congress and the Senate for joining me in the effort to support our veterans. (Applause.)

We've increased the VA's medical care budget by 51 percent, increased total outpatient visits, increased the number of prescriptions filled, and reduced the backlog of disability claims. We've committed more than $1.5 billion to modernizing and expanding VA facilities so that more veterans can get better care closer to home. We've expanded grants to help homeless veterans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, because we strongly believe no veteran who served in the blazing heat or bitter cold of foreign lands should have to live without shelter in this country. (Applause.)

I've joined with the veterans groups to call on Congress to protect the flag of the United States in the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.) In June, the House of Representatives voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. I urge the United States Senate to pass this important amendment. (Applause.)

At this hour, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of the 21st century. The war came to our shores on September the 11th, 2001. That morning, we saw the destruction that terrorists intend for our nation. We know that they want to strike again. And our nation has made a clear choice: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity; we will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won. (Applause.)

In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places -- in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba and Netanya and Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh, another deadly strike in Bali, and this week, a series of bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed dozens of innocent Jordanians and their guests.

All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random, isolated acts of madness -- innocent men and women and children who have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology -- a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews -- and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.

Many militants are part of a global, borderless terrorist organization like al Qaeda -- which spreads propaganda, and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda -- paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Chechnya, Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells -- inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for the world.

We know the vision of the radicals because they have openly stated it -- in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and on websites.

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, their "resources, their sons and money to driving the infidels out of our lands." The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter of a century: They hit us, and expect us to run.

Last month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda's number two leader, a guy named Zawahiri. And he wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq -- the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model for al Qaeda. This is what he said: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy." The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country -- a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. And now they've set their sights on Iraq. In his recent letter, Zawahiri writes that al Qaeda views Iraq as, "the place for the greatest battle." The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. We must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war against the terrorists. (Applause.)

Third, these militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Zawahiri writes that the terrorists, "must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq." He goes on to say: "[T]he jihad ... requires several incremental goals. ... Expel the Americans from Iraq. ... Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraqo Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq."

With the greater economic, military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction; to destroy Israel; to intimidate Europe; to assault the American people; and to blackmail our government into isolation.

Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme -- but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, "We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life." (Applause.) And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously -- and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.

Defeating the militant network is difficult, because it thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustration of others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution. They exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, recruiting them through radical mosques as pawns of terror. And they exploit modern technology to multiply their destructive power. Instead of attending far-away training camps, recruits can now access online training libraries to learn how to build a roadside bomb or fire a rocket-propelled grenade -- and this further spreads the threat of violence, even within peaceful democratic societies.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They've been sheltered by authoritarian regimes -- allies of convenience like Iran and Syria -- that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews. This week the government of Syria took two disturbing steps. First, it arrested Dr. Kamal Labwani for serving as an advocate for democratic reform. Then President Assad delivered a strident speech that attacked both the Lebanese government and the integrity of the Mehlis investigation into the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

The government of Syria must do what the international community has demanded: cooperate fully with the Mehlis investigation and stop trying to intimidate and de-stabilize the Lebanese government. The government of Syria must stop exporting violence and start importing democracy. (Applause.)

The radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity. They are strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam into unstable parts of the world. The militants are aided as well by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories, and speak of a so-called American "war on Islam" -- with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Somalia and Kosovo and Kuwait and Iraq; or our generous assistance to Muslims recovering from natural disasters in places like Indonesia and Pakistan. (Applause.)

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions in Iraq -- claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. (Applause.) The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom -- and, yet, the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.

Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: the Israeli presence on the West Bank, the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of killers -- and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this road -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride. (Applause.)

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We have seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg and Margaret Hassan and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I don't feel your pain ... because I believe you're an infidel." And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

Recently, in the town of Huwaydar, Iraq, a terrorist detonated a pickup truck parked along a busy street lined with restaurants and shops, just as residents were gathering to break the day-long fast observed during Ramadan. The explosion killed at least 25 people and wounded 34. When unsuspecting Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast are targeted for death, or 25 Iraqi children are killed in a bombing, or Iraqi teachers are executed at their school, this is murder, pure and simple -- the total rejection of justice and honor and morality and religion. (Applause.)

These militants are not just the enemies of America or the enemies of Iraq, they are the enemies of Islam and they are the enemies of humanity. And we have seen this kind of shameless cruelty before -- in the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination -- and they wish to make everyone powerless, except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books, and desecrated historical monuments, and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, to rule the soul itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future of oppression and misery.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples -- claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, "the most cowardly of God's creatures." But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque.

It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom. (Applause.)

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom -- by distrusting human creativity and punishing change and limiting the contributions of half a population -- this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible, and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past -- a declaration of war on the idea of progress itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt. Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation and decline and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future. (Applause.)

We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence, and with a comprehensive strategy. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, constant pressure, and strong partners in Europe and in the Middle East and North Africa and Asia and beyond. Working with these partners, we're disrupting militant conspiracies, we're destroying their ability to make war, and we're working to give millions in a troubled region a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.

First, we're determined to prevent attacks of the terrorist networks before they occur. We are reorganizing our government to give this nation a broad and coordinated homeland defense. We're reforming our intelligence agencies for the incredibly difficult task of tracking enemy activity -- based on information that often comes in small fragments from widely scattered sources, both here and abroad. And we're acting, along with governments from other countries, to destroy the terrorist networks and incapacitate their leadership.

Together with our partners, we've disrupted a number of serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th -- including several plots to attack inside the United States. Our coalition against terror has killed or captured nearly all those directly responsible for the September the 11th attacks. We've captured or killed several of bin Laden's most serious deputies, al Qaeda managers and operatives in more than 24 countries; the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, who was chief of al Qaeda's operations in the Persian Gulf; the mastermind of the bombings in Jakarta and Bali; a senior Zarqawi terrorist planner, who was planning attacks in Turkey; and many of their senior leaders in Saudi Arabia.

Because of this steady progress, the enemy is wounded -- but the enemy is still capable of global operations. Our commitment is clear: We will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken, and their leaders are held to account for their murder. (Applause.)

Second, we're determined to deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes, and to their terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation. (Applause.) The United States, working with Great Britain and Pakistan and other nations, has exposed and disrupted a major black-market operation in nuclear technology led by A.Q. Khan. Libya has abandoned its chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its long-range ballistic missiles.

And in the past year, America and our partners in the Proliferation Security Initiative have stopped more than a dozen shipments of suspect weapons technology, including equipment for Iran's ballistic missile program. This progress has reduced the danger to free nations, but it has not removed it. Evil men who want to use horrendous weapons against us are working in deadly earnest to gain them. And we're working urgently to keep the weapons of mass murder out of the hands of the fanatics.

Third, we're determined to deny radical groups the support and sanctuary of outlaw regimes. State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists, and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror. The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally guilty of murder. (Applause.)

Fourth, we're determined to deny the militants control of any nation, which they would use as a home base and a launching pad for terror. This mission has brought new and urgent responsibilities to our armed forces. American troops are fighting beside Afghan partners and against remnants of the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies. We're working with President Musharraf to oppose and isolate the militants in Pakistan. We're fighting the regime remnants and terrorists in Iraq. The terrorist goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and other free nations with increasing violence. Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power, so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq. (Applause.)

Our coalition, along with our Iraqi allies, is moving forward with a comprehensive plan. Our strategy is to clear, hold, and build. We're working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting, democratic Iraqi institutions through an increasingly inclusive political process. In recent weeks, American and Iraqi troops have conducted several major assaults to clear out enemy fighters in Baghdad, and parts of Iraq.

Two weeks ago, in Operation Clean Sweep, Iraq and coalition forces raided 350 houses south of Baghdad, capturing more than 40 of the terrorist killers. Acting on tips from local citizens, our forces have recently launched air strikes against terrorist safe houses in and around the towns of Ubaydi and Husaybah. We brought to justice two key senior al Qaeda terrorist leaders. And in Mosul, coalition forces killed an al Qaeda cell leader named Muslet, who was personally involved in at least three videotaped beheadings. We're on the hunt. We're keeping pressure on the enemy. (Applause.)

And thousands of Iraqi forces have been participating in these operations, and even more Iraqis are joining the fight. Last month, nearly 3,000 Iraqi police officers graduated from 10 weeks of basic training. They'll now take their places along other brave Iraqis who are taking the fight to the terrorists across their own country. Iraqi police and security forces are helping to clear terrorists from their strongholds, helping to hold onto areas that we've cleared; they're working to prevent the enemy from returning. Iraqi forces are using their local expertise to maintain security, and to build political and economic institutions that will help improve the lives of their fellow citizens.

At the same time, Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy. Last month, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote, and they approved a new constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for lasting democracy. Many more Sunnis participated in this vote than in January's historic elections, and the level of violence was lower.

Now, Iraqis are gearing up for December 15th elections, when they will go to the polls to choose a government under the new constitution. The new government will serve a four-year term, and it will represent all Iraqis. Even those who voted against the constitution are now organizing and preparing for the December elections. Multiple Sunni Arab parties have submitted a list of candidates, and several prominent Sunni politicians are running on other slates. With two successful elections completed, and a third coming up next month, the Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a democracy united against extremism and violence. (Applause.)

The work ahead involves great risk for Iraqis and for American and coalition forces. We've lost some of our nation's finest men and women in this war on terror. Each of these men and women left grieving families and left loved ones at home. Each of these patriots left a legacy that will allow generations of fellow Americans to enjoy the blessings of liberty. Each loss of life is heartbreaking. And the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come. (Applause.)

The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we've ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of our common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight.

Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified. With every random bombing, with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters -- they're murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves.

In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress -- from tyranny, to liberation, to national elections, to the ratification of a constitution -- in the space of two-and-a-half years. (Applause.)

I have said, as Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down. And with our help, the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence with each passing month. At the time of our Fallujah operations a year ago, there were only a few Iraqi army battalions in combat. Today, there are nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces. (Applause.) General David Petraeus says, "Iraqis are in the fight. They're fighting and dying for their country, and they're fighting increasingly well." This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny, or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people. (Applause.)

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)

The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East. This is difficult, and it's a long-term project, yet there is no alternative to it. Our future and the future of the region are linked. If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery while radicals stir the resentment of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger, in our generation and for the next.

If the peoples of that region are permitted to choose their own destiny, and advance by their own energy and participation of free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized, and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end. By standing for hope and freedom of others, we make our own freedom more secure.

America is making this stand in practical ways. We're encouraging our friends in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to take the path of reform, to strengthen their own societies in the fight against terror by respecting the rights and choices of their own people. We're standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes, because we know that the dissidents of today will be the democratic leaders of tomorrow. We're making our case through public diplomacy -- stating clearly and confidently our belief in self-determination, and the rule of law, and religious freedom, and equal rights for women -- beliefs that are right and true in every land and in every culture. (Applause.)

As we do our part to confront radicalism and to protect the United States, we know that a lot of vital work will be done within the Islamic world itself. And the work is beginning. Many Muslim scholars have already publicly condemned terrorism, often citing Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity, and saving the life of one person is like saving all humanity. (Applause.) After the attacks July -- on July 7th in London, an imam in the United Arab Emirates declared, "Whoever does such a thing is not a Muslim, nor a religious person." The time has come for responsible Islamic leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends, and defiles a noble faith. (Applause.)

Many people of the Muslim faith are proving their commitment at great personal risk. Everywhere we've engaged the fight against extremism, Muslim allies have stood up and joined the fight, becoming partners in this vital cause. Afghan troops are in combat against Taliban remnants. Iraqi soldiers are sacrificing to defeat al Qaeda in their country. These brave citizens know the stakes -- the survival of their own liberty, the future of their own region, the justice and humanity of their own tradition -- and the United States of America is proud to stand beside them. (Applause.)

With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet this fight we have joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle -- between those who put their faith in dictators, and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision -- and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure -- until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent -- until the day that free men and women defeat them.

We don't know the course of our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice, we do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail. (Applause.)

Thank you for coming. May God bless our veterans, may God bless our troops in harm's way, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END 12:35 P.M. EST
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hoi Persai

Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 115
Location: AB, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this report. But I was under the impression that Iran was less Muslim than the press/Ayatollahs wanted to be made known. With the less than 10% voter turnout as evidence and the increasing conversion to Zoroastrianism, Bahai, Christianity, Judaism and atheism, I thought Iran was less than 50% Muslim. Is this wrong? Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Hoi Persai,

The report states:

[According to the country's most recent official national census, taken in 1996, there were an estimated 59.8 million Muslims, 30,000 Zoroastrians, 79,000 Christians, and 13,000 Jews, with 28,000 "others" and 47,000 "not stated." ]

So taking into consideration that this census was taken in '96, nine years ago, it may very well be inaccurate today.

Then too I think it is fair to take in consideration the nature of the regime, and the fact that the census figures depended on folks declaring their religious preference....given this, I think it quite possible that many chose to declare themselves "Muslim" on the census form to avoid possible repurcussions.

As for the 10% voter turnout, I think this is more a result of voter apathy given the fact that the regime selects its leadership anyway.

So I don't know that religion had all that much to do with it.

As for the 50% Muslim figure, I guess we'll only know for sure when the regime is removed from power, and folks in Iran can safely express their beliefs on a future census.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 4993

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 12:51 pm    Post subject: We Don't Agree .... Reply with quote

We Don't Agree ....

Dear Oppenheimer,
Before I respond to your comments one by one start with the famous statement from James Madison and give you general answer:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external (Journalists, Activists and Bloggers) nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions. “
The Federalist No. 51 (James Madison).

In the spirit of James Madison we the Activists and Bloggers need to protect FREE Societies by watching over governments and politicians closely to make sure what they say, will implement it correctly without any flaw, point out their mistakes, demand for corrections before it is too late and protest when they are deaf or blind.

In the spirit of James Madison our demands:
1) Winning War On Terror Starts With Mafia Islamist Regime Change and Establishing FREE Society in Iran Before It Becomes too Late

2) Iranian people can decide about Nuclear Engery and the Nuclear Enrichment program after the regime change when they have established secular democracy, Free society and when they have stable system of government, untill then Iran can not have any kind of Nuclear program under Islamist regime control in any form and shape. The Islamist Regime in Iran is not elected by Iranian people and G8 should not negotiate with the illegitimate regime which has taken 70 million Iranian people as their hostage

Oppenheimer wrote:

If you're looking for tangible results, I'd say you can start with 55 million people living in free societies in two nations on Iran's borders that were subject to vile tyranies 4 years ago
That's part of those "conditions" the US is creating as Condi Rice put it.

First of all according to Dr. Andrei Sakharov, Dr. Rice and Natan definition of FREE Societies, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan can be considered as FREE Society yet. Having elections in a place does not mean that they have created a FREE Society……

“ACCORDING TO THE presiding judge in last year's trial, the bombing of New York's World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 was meant to topple the city's tallest tower onto its twin, amid a cloud of cyanide gas. Had the attack gone as planned, tens of thousands of Americans would have died. Instead, as we know, one tower did not fall on the other, and, rather than vaporizing, the cyanide gas burnt up in the heat of the explosion. "Only" six people died.”

If US Government, and congress would have gone after Islamist regimes in Afghanastan and Iran after 1993 then the Sept 11 would not have happened ……

Oppenheimer wrote:

I know there are a lot of impatient patriots in the Iranian community, and things don't seem to move as fast as you'd like, but all good things take time.

The US Government has not delivered what they promised, and the Islamist Regime Change in Iran should have happened long before Iraq regime change.
The US government did not have the Islamist regime change policy in Iran in past 27 years? WHY?
As long as US government is allies of Neo Colonialist EU 3, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China the US government can not be considered as reliable friend of Free Society and Freedom .
The US government flip flop Freedom foreign policy make it unreliable, unpredictable friend of freedom and it is very slow to do correct action at the right time.

Oppenheimer wrote:

Today, there is more pressure than ever on the IRI, that's not even debatable....but if you want instant solutions, you'll be waiting forever....it's a step by step process, and if you are looking for instant regime change, I guarranteee you it won't be peacefull.

That time may come, sooner rather than later, but only when diplomacy has been exausted.
"In past 5 years if President Bush Admin would have executed the Free Society policy regarding Iran seriously, then the Islamist regime would have been part of history,...."

There's that "if" word again....chuckle.......and I tell you this...changing the Mideast is a big job, the way to regime change in Iran, as policy, is through Afghanistan and Iraq....it takes time to do the prep work, and today you are starting to see the results of that comprehensive approach.

I've heard some folks ask me , "Why didn't the US attack Iran instead of Iraq?"

My answer was, "One axis of evil nation at a time." Stategicly, the IRI is surrounded, becoming futher isolated, fast losing any and all allies and support, and I believe you'll see in December some very concrete measures taken in the UN Security Council, as part of the diplomatic approach that is essential from a moral and legal perspective before any military intervention is deemed neccessary.

I am sorry I don’t agree with you, we have discussed it before in other threads. Let me make it very clear the Pressure is not strong enough and good enough. It seems the diplomacy will be exhausted when the patient is dead, like last scene of the Titanic Movie when the help arrives which was too late and there was no answer to the call “Are you alive”?

Anyway US government is too slow and too late, the Islamist regime change should have happened before 1990s …. And American tax payers, and US armed forces did not need to have such high price today to fight Islamist Terror.

If our politicians were smart enough, were working hard enough for the American National Interest and faithful to freedom , human rights and FREE societies then we would not discuss today about Islamist Fanatic Terrorism and we would have discussed regarding latest Space Discovery , Science …..
By the way Timmerman said in Reporter warns that Iran has nuclear weapons now
“the evidence indicates that Iran already possesses nuclear weapons. Before Iran gives a nuclear weapon to a terrorist group intent on incinerating an American target, the U.S. should be helping democratic factions already in the Islamic nation, the journalist said.”

If the above news is true then it is called complete G8 failed policy.....

Anyway majority of ActivistChat members and Activists are not happy with the level of progress regarding Iran and constant Flip Flop foreign policy without result.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 1166
Location: SantaFe, New Mexico

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Cyrus,

Madison's comments if I'm not mistaken, were in context to the debate surrounding the 2nd ammendment of the US constitution, which is in short, the citizen's right to bear arms, and enforce their rights under the constitution, up to and including removing the government by force if neccessary, because it has become corrupt in its application of the laws, and in violation of the constitutional rights of the people.

Thus, the second ammendment is one of the primary checks and balances on government itself, assuring it is a government, "by, for, and of" the people.

Obviously without laws, society would become anarchy, which is exactly what the terrorists of today are trying to achieve on a global scale, before their totalitarian designs are implemented.

With all due respect to you stated "demands" , I look back on things in context to the word situation as a whole, and I find that through the 80's the US was very busy in bringing down the Soviet Communist regime and ending the cold-war in favor of democracy and free societies, the EU as we know it today exits because of that effort. In the 90's, there was some movement toward moderation and reform in Iran, in some aspects, and there was even hope within Iran that further reforms would take hold right up till this past June.
Such hope was shared by the west, correctly or not, this was the primary reason for the EU policies of engagement, to try and foster that movement toward reform.

The US during all this time, had niether diplomatic contact (except as absolutely neccessary on a case by case basis) with the regime, but has sanctioned the regime in every posible way, up to and including pressuring foreign companies that deal with the IRI, that they'd lose US contracts because of this.

So, up till this last 6 months or so, there has been a vast difference in approach. Today, the EU will not talk trade with the regime until it fully complies with international norms, in three areas, the nuclear dossier, the human rights dossier, and the terrorism dossier.

Thje US isn't perfect Cyrus, if we had supported Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawl, there would have been no Taliban to remove by force, some suggest that had Carter had his wits about him, the mullahs would never have siezed control of Iran.

But since it is not possible for President Bush to change the past, his policies are directed at changing the here and now, so that free societies can indeed rise up out of the ashes of tyrany.

One can point to flip-flops in policy by every nation on the planet, all day long, but it's not going to get folks closer to their just demands.

My point in saying "one axis of evil at a time" is simply that having dealt with Afghanistan first after 9/11, and then Iraq was part and parcel to dealing with the mullahs of Iran as a phased approach.

Today you can see that their intent has been exposed , to those that have "engaged" with them for years....including Russia.

That's why the fuel "take back" measure was conceived in the first place.

You've seen delay after delay in the completion of Bhushir, for a reason....and as yet, no fuel has been delivered to start it up.

That's been a result of US pressure over a number of years Cyrus....years of US diplomacy with its allies in the war on terrorism to get them to accept the truth of the matter, that this regime is not reformable, and it's worked.

You say "diplomacy will be exausted when the patient is dead" , well The alternative to diplomacy is a war. One could reasonably say if we'd removed Saddam back in 91, Iraq would have been a thriving democracy today, and that having waited 12 years and 17 UN resolutions later to do so, was your words in quotes inplemented in full. But with one exception, and it's important to note....that with all due respect for the premis of your words, the Iraqi's have seemed to not only risen from the dead to create a free society, but they are in the process of healing themselves.
As is Afghanistan. Both nations having a lot of help from the international community in this process of standing up free societies within their borders. This takes decades, but they are both well on the way in a very short time. No matter how you cut it, they are a lot freer than they were a short time ago.

I would point out that there is at present no "negotiations" between Iran and the G8. Ideas get tossed about as a natural process of diplomacy, but remember diplomacy and negotiation are separate terms by definition.

You can have diplomacy without negotiation in some circumstances, the "you do this or we'll do that" aspect that is being seen in the promise mandated to refer the IRI to the UN Security Council.

I guess in one sence you could call that "negotiation" , like you'd negotiate with a bad dog...using a coercive approach to making it a "good dog" , or the dog risks "serious consequences".

But in all of this (and I have held Timmerman's viewpont that the IRI has had the bomb since summer 2004, with good reason), the international community is fast coming to the realization that the bad dog is rabid, and needs to be simply put down, so it doesn't bite and infect anyone.

So then, what are the options for getting there from here?

Can the people of Iran deal with the regime with the support they need?

And how do you think the regime will react to the west's support of the Iranian people?

I'll tell you what I think the regime would do, and you may correct me if you disagree, but I think they would see that as justification to initiate every method in their tool-kit to attack the west openly, and start the war that the west hopes to avoid by helping the Iranian people change the regime themselves.

Been thinking about this for sometime now, the cause and effect, and while the US has taken it's policy in the direction of support for the Iranian people's aspirations, I think that no matter which way you slice the cake, it's going to come down to military intervention to remove the regime.

My understanding is that the regime will not declare itself a nuclear power (by a test) until it has a hundred nukes.

They received two in 2004, fully opperational, "one of each" a uranium bomb, and a plutonium bomb. One fairly large in yield, one smaller.

Where they came from I can offer two guesses, Pakistan or North Korea, via the Khan network.

The IRI has in all probability dismantled them to copy the parts exactly, because it's far simpler to produce a hundred bombs this way, than just going off blueprints, which they have as well.

The key has been delivery systems....mating up a nuke with a missile is another leap in technology, and at this point, they have pretty much achieved that.

One thing as well, it's a lot harder for a terrorist to move detectable radioctive material today, and the risk of getting caught red-handed, I think is something the IRI has taken into consideration, both pro, and con.

I think they know the can't win a nuclear war, but then they may not intend to "win" one....the intent of the "twelvers" is to create as much misery as possible to set the conditions for the 12 imman's return.

The other aspect is weapon grade material, plus other elements that are essential in creating a hundred working atomic bombs.

In this , I fully agree that the Russians should re-think their nuclear deal, and I believe they are....

One thing for sure, The Iranian opposition should have a voice in the matter, and get the support it needs, because in the long run....regime change will be by, for and of Iranians, even with a little help from friends, however that may manifest.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    [FREE IRAN Project] In The Spirit Of Cyrus The Great Forum Index -> Noteworthy Discussion Threads All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group