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A Review of major events in Iran, as transpired during Sept.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2003 11:27 pm    Post subject: A Review of major events in Iran, as transpired during Sept. Reply with quote

A Review of major events in Iran, as transpired during September

Iranian top officials grow defiant on nuclear plans

The raging debate among top Iranian officials over the policy Iran should adopt faced with the ultimatum issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has carried on into this week. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has so far avoided issuing a public statement; however, in a surprising turn of events, he revealed that young Iranian scientists conduct uranium enrichment experiments and that the technology our young scientists possess had been reserved for only a few select countries. This is why the Iranian people are so proud of these achievements (broadcast on Tehran Radio, September 17, 2003).

On September 20, 2003, ISNA (the students news agency) confirmed that the National Security Council, presided over by president Khatami, had secretly instructed Iranian mass-media chief editors not to publish any news and reports on the ultimatum on their own accord. All reports, articles and editorials must be coordinated with state officials. Nevertheless, it appears that prominent extremist-controlled media (including television, radio and newspapers) is not willing to comply with that directive. Time and again, they urge the Iranian regime to nullify the Iranian Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) membership so that Iran be free from signing the Additional Protocol.

An editorial by Hossein Shariatmadari, Ayatollah Khameneis representative in the Keihan editorial staff, ensures that signing the Additional Protocol would bring the end upon the Islamic Republic, and this is why, says Shariatmadari, its necessary to avoid making that fatal mistake. The editorial threatens US interests worldwide once more, saying that many Muslims who follow the path of Imam Hossein are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the continued existence of the Islamic Republic. Shariatmadari urges the regime leaders not to fear the US threats and not to be the ones who push the button that will cut off the Islamic Republics power. He adds: Over the past twenty-five years, weve been through much more arduous and serious trials. Right now, America is no more than an old lion, a toothless paper tiger. Is that not so? It is a fact that American soldiers are killed daily in Iraq! Does the regime leadership doubt the capacity, the willingness of the sons of Imam Hossein to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Islam? Shariatmadari, one of the leading conservatives, called upon the Iranian regime not to hesitate and to promptly nullify the Iranian NPT membership (Keihan, September 20, 2003).

Ali Mohammad Besharati, former Interior Minister, now serving as chief advisor for the [the Expediency Council, headed by Rafsanjani], assessed, in an interview granted to Keihan, that nullifying the Iranian NPT membership would not result in any serious consequences for Iran, and that nothing will happen. He recommended the regime leadership to nullify Irans membership without paying heed to the ensuing international consequences. Although he expressed reluctance with regard to the development of nuclear arms, he said that these weapons are a valuable deterring factor; countries with nuclear capabilities and nuclear arms are treated with more caution than countries devoid of such an arsenal (Keihan, September 20, 2003).
Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, chairman of the Council of Guardians and a leading conservative, who delivered a sermon at Friday prayers of September 19, 2003, also recommended that Iran withdraw from the aforementioned treaty. Theres a protocol that allows us to reconsider our membership. What harm would it do to get out of the NPT? He stressed, however, that ultimately it was the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had the final say on that decision. He added that we should in no way accept the Additional Protocol which bears extraordinary humiliation for us and would be regarded by the Iranian people as an unforgivable defeat. He says: Signing the Additional Protocol would only mean the start of a new campaign of humiliation against Iran: they can inspect anywhere they want, one day it could be the parliament, the next day the office of the supreme leader. They can even insolently visit holy places to search for nuclear materials. He also said that this is something no Iranian would stand up for (Tehran Radio, September 19, 2003).

Irans major clerical establishment, League of the Theological Seminar Lecturers of Qom, issued a statement to the leaders of the Islamic Republic, calling them not to yield to international pressure and to take a stand appropriate for the values of the Iranian people. The league condemns the IAEA board of governors decision-making process and calls out to Iranian leadership to reconsider the Iranian membership in the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (Tehran Radio, September 18, 2003).

On the other hand, two major reformist bloc organizations (Irans Islamic Participation Front and the Islamic Revolutions Mujahedeen) have recently issued two separate statements calling upon the Islamic Republic to sign the Additional Protocol to prevent an international union against Iran from forming. We need to prevent, at any cost, the formation of an international coalition against us, as it would put the regime in a complicated and dangerous situation, says Dr. Reza Khatami, chairman of Irans Islamic Participation Front (Iran, September 20, 2003).

Contrary to the positions of the two aforementioned organizations, cleric Mohtashemi-Poor, chairman of the Majlis reformist faction, voiced his objection to signing the Additional Protocol, saying that Islam does not allow foreign forces to take control of Islamic land or to take command over an Islamic nation. It is this important principle that forbids us from signing the Additional Protocol Whats more, signing it can halt our progress toward achieving nuclear technology. He assessed that the parliament vote would not permit Iran to sign the Additional Protocol even if the government recommended it. He said that United States leaders are international criminals who ought to be brought to justice. Therefore, they cannot force us into complying with their demands. He even said that the very fact of the Iranian membership in the international treaty is questionable, explaining that Iran joined the treaty during President Hashemi Rafsanjanis term, but that was never approved by the Majlis. He threatened that should Iran withdraw from the treaty, many countries, specifically Arab countries that support the Iranian position, would follow suit (ISNA, September 19, 2003).

Khamenei: The Intifada is a blessing from God and a result of the Islamic Revolution

Iranian top officials renew direct contacts with Arafat

Top Iranian official: Strong action must be taken against any country or international body that supports Israel, implies to action against the Jews who are spread throughout the globe.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to the Palestinian Intifada against Israel as a blessed event and a blessing from God that fittingly humiliated the power-mongering Zionists and said that 25 years ago, when the Iranian revolution broke out, the United States was still harboring its Camp David illusions and thought that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict came to a solution; yet the Islamic revolution cast a new light upon the conflict and now, as a result of the revitalization of this issue, we witness the Zionist arch-murderer, Ariel Sharon, coming to a dead end with no way out. The outbreak of the Intifada is one of the divine blessings brought forth by the Iranian Islamic Revolution. If the power-mongering Zionists didnt have their hands full dealing with the Intifada, there is no doubt they would complete their plan to take over the rest of the region. Ayatollah Khamenei, serving also as the military chief commander, said this on a meeting with the Revolutionary Guards top commanders (Iran, September 16, 2003, Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 18, 2003).

Meanwhile, top officials in the Islamic leadership have renewed direct contacts with Yasser Arafat after a two-year hiatus.

During the last few days, four Iranian leaders have held direct telephone conversations with Arafats residence in Ramallah, voicing Irans support for the anti-Israeli terror attacks and called upon the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority to stand firm against the Israeli pressure. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, the director of the Iranian Broadcasting Service (also a senior member of the Expediency Council of the Regime), the chairman of the Majlis reformist faction, and speaker of the Majlis (considered a senior figure among the reformist bloc) were among those who held conversations with Arafat.

Jomhuri-ye Eslami, a publication closely associated with the regimes Supreme Leader, continues to regard Arafat as a traitor, moralizing to him and asking him of the reason he signed the Oslo accords with Israel. According to the editorial, during the last decade, Arafat has taken a series of disgraceful decisions and steps that proved to be counterproductive to the Palestinian peoples interests. He held talks with Zionist murderers like Rabin, Netanyahu and Sharon; he expressed willingness to compromise over Islamic land for the benefit of the occupying Zionist regime. These acts are unforgivable He must know that the new anti-Zionist upsurge that has broken out in the territories, neighboring countries and other places in the world against the decision taken by arch-murderer Ariel Sharon is not a point scored in Arafats favor. Arafats past and the decisions hes made during the last decade cannot be endorsed We must be careful in our interpretation of recent events. The Palestinian people dont come to show their support of the traitor: this last upsurge is a result of hatred to the Zionists. There is no difference between Israel during the Oslo accords and the last decade. Arafat has led the Palestinian people astray, and the Palestinians dont see the reasoning behind halting the anti-Zionist attacks during the last decade (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 20, 2003).

Former Minister of Intelligence, cleric Ali Fallahian, a prominent figure behind the terror attack against the Argentinean Jewish Community Center (AMIA), calls out to the Iranian leadership to take strong action against all countries and international organizations that cooperate with Israel and says that the Jews are spread throughout the world, and if we dont take a decisive stance today, they can pose us with a new problem every day. He adds that the enemies oppose all bearings of the Islamic Revolution, and therefore we must not yield (an interview granted by Fallahian to ISNA, September 16, 2003).

Threats on the US continue: We now hold the United States and Israels of their main artery

Revolutionary Guards commander: The Islamic revolution has revitalized the war on the Zionists, The United States is not going to have an easy time getting out of the stench of the Iraqi mud

Rafsanjani: We possess long-range missiles, so how dares the United States threaten us?

Janati: The time has come to settle the score with the American monster

Top Islamic officials, especially military commanders, continue to threaten the US.

In another aggressive article, Keihan asserts that Iran is capable of threatening the very core of Israel and the United States, urging the reformist bloc not to yield to pressure exerted by the West over the nuclear issue. The newspaper states that if we face war once more, it will not be limited to Iranian land alone. After all, we did succeed in penetrating the very heart and core of Israel and the United States; the main arteries of these countries are ours When the time is right, we will put our abilities to use and make our foe regret America, whose international status has reached rock bottom, may soon find the noose around its neck tightened by the Iranian mujahedeen (Keihan, September 16, 2003).

What follows are fragments of a speech given by the Revolutionary Guards senior commander at a Friday prayer in Tehran, on September 19, 2003:

The United States is doing everything in its power to Americanize the Islamic world But they have reached a dead end in Iraq For United States soldiers, Iraq will continue to be thick, stinking mud, and they are not going to have an easy time getting out of it The United States wants to eradicate the surges of the Iranian Islamic revolution, the same surges that have dealt crushing blows to the Zionists in the occupied territories. The Iranian revolution has succeeded to revitalize the war on Zionism, and what were witnessing these days is the significant impacts of the actions taken by the soldiers of jihad in the occupied territories. The Iranian revolution has dealt crushing blows to the United States economic and political interests and rendered it irrelevant in face of the tremendous power of Islam If the United States thinks it can easily conquer Iraq and install its government in Baghdad, it is painfully mistaken and delusional The Iraqi people regard the Americans as occupiers, just like the Palestinian people regard the Zionist occupiers America needs to learn a lesson The United States actions are the main reason for the spread of hatred against it; the United States is responsible for the rise in terror attacks across the world The Iranian people stand resolute and determined, and they would never hesitate to strike against the United States should it decide to take action against Islamic Iran (ISNA, Tehran Radio, September 19, 2003).

A speech given in the province of Khorasan by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who presides over the Expediency Council.

The United States has come to the region to try to tighten the noose around Irans neck, but it is now Iran that besieges it. Each passing day, tens of thousands of American soldiers die of fear, and the military bases theyve established in Iraq by the dozens do not provide them with any security whatsoever And they still dare, in their ill-fated situation, to threaten Iran. Didnt they learn a bitter lesson from their last failed attempt? Why, several months ago, they recruited all their strength, but only a few dozens of hooligans and thugs and some rabble answered their call. We didnt even have to recruit the security forces to suppress the dissident mob and only a small part of the forces was mobilized to deal with the incident. All in all, what is the extent of the damage inflicted upon our Islamic country? Only 200 thousand soldiers were killed [during the Iran-Iraq war] and while theyre no longer with us, their holy spirits live amongst us. How dares the United States threaten us? Up until several years ago we could barely come up with a simple bomb, but now we have long-range missiles Our Basij forces returned to their homes after the Iran-Iraq war had ended, thats true But these forces dont lie dormant and even their children have joined the mighty Basij army. Should need arise, these forces will return to the scene of action to fight the enemy (ISNA, September 19, 2003).

The hour has arrived; we have no choice but to settle the score with the United States and go after that monsters head, says Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, chairman of the Council of Guardians. He adds, Iranians will stand firm against the criminal and conspiring United States (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 20, 2003).

Rift deepens as parliament elections approach

With the elections for the parliament five months away, the two regime factions continue their bickering over the monitoring of the elections, and the issue of screening candidates is first on the agenda. The Interior Minister repeatedly stresses that the directive he has issued out to governors, calling upon them not to cooperate with monitoring offices set up by the Council of Guardians, is valid and that governors are not allowed to go against it. However, the council and its supporters reiterate that the directive is void and that any governor or official who doesnt cooperate with the council on the elections will be dismissed from service. These threats were even made at the Interior Minister himself. Supporters of the reformist bloc threaten that they might pull out of the elections; thus, the Islamic regime risks losing what is left of its public legitimacy, both domestically and internationally.

As differences in opinions intensify, a new option surfaced: the Ministry of Interior and the Council of Guardians will each present its own independent slate of candidates. Deputy Interior Minister, Mahmoud Mir-Lowhi, said that the Interior Minister had no choice left but to submit the independent candidates list (Entekhab, September 18, 2003).

However, observers believe that the conservatives, holding most positions of power (including the Revolutionary Guards), will never allow the Ministry of Interior to submit an independent slate of candidates that would mean holding two separate elections for the same parliament!

President Khatami himself has expressed doubts over the voters turnout, and says that the people feel that their votes have no effect on major national issues. Khatami indirectly admitted to his own failure and said that perhaps Ive failed, but I havent lied nor have I misled the people.

However, the presidents brother, Dr. Reza Khatami, Majlis deputy speaker and general secretary of Irans Islamic Participation Front, the largest party within the reformist bloc, asserted that under the current conditions, most people wont bother exercising their right to vote. He said that the current regime is plagued by unceasing deceit Our hearts do not match with our mouths We dont tell the truth to those who elected us The peoples vote is devoid of any real substance. Time after time, the voters come to the polls and make themselves heard, but the votes have absolutely no effect on the country and the rulers keep following their old ways. He adds: it seems that the rulers have decided to eradicate the reformist movement altogether, but that is their biggest mistake. The reformist movement is deeply rooted with the Iranian people, and the Iranian people have been active in favor of the reforms for over a hundred years The reform movement is here to stay. He expressed his confidence that in spite of all, the Iranian people dont appreciate foreigners involving themselves with the situation, and said that the Iranian people have enough strength and potential to deal with it on their own (Iran, September 20, 2003).

There are strong indications that the Iranian people have decided to boycott the forthcoming parliament elections, says Dr. Ali Shakuri Rad, a senior member of the reformist bloc in the Majlis. He adds, the people dont wait for the reformists to make up their minds, and the reformists no longer hold power over the peoples decisions. It seems that we, too, must abide by the peoples decision and pull out of the elections The elections, it seems, is a cheap game the people dont want to play. The people will come to the polls only if they feel their vote has an actual impact on the way the country is run (ISNA, September 17, 2003).

Mohsen Armin, a reformist bloc senior, warned that under present conditions, now that international pressure on Iran has stepped up and is even backed up by major EU countries, the Iranian regime cannot afford acting in such a way as to alienate the people even further from the government. He also asserted that under current conditions, thousands of voters will boycott the elections (ISNA, September 20, 2003).

Former Minister of Intelligence, Dorri Najaf-Abadi, added that out of the 135 currently-serving Majlis members who signed the famous letter to the regime leader a few months ago, calling upon Ayatollah Khamenei to tone down his positions on internal and foreign affairs, none will gain the Council of Guardians approval and be able to present their candidacy for the forthcoming parliament elections (WWW.EMROOZ.ORG, Tehran, September 18, 2003).

Chief Revolutionary Guards commander, General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, said that the Revolutionary Guards would enlist all available forces and resources to encourage the people to come to the polls. However, he overtly threatened the reformists, saying that the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij forces will not allow instigators to present the Iranian society with new crises; the forces will push aside all groups who do not believe in the Islamic Republics constitution (Jomhuri-ye Eslami, September 20, 2003).

Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani, Ayatollah Khameneis representative in the Revolutionary Guards, said at the annual Revolutionary Guards top commanders convention that the Guards arent just a military organization their purpose is to defend the Islamic revolution and that is why they feel obligated to act against the enemies within who seek to destroy the Islamic republic (Keihan, September 18, 2003).

Ayatollah Montazeri calls to reestablish contacts with the US, bitterly attacks the way the country is run, despairs at the prospect that the regime will change its ways; he calls out to let the youth to choose the regime they want

Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri called upon the Islamic regime to reestablish its contacts with the US. He expressed his grievance over the severing of ties and said that a situation in which the Islamic Republic continues to refuse any contact with the US is detrimental to Irans national interests (a press release by Montazeris office, September 21, 2003).

Montazeri has renewed his criticism over the way the country is run and expressed his anger at the crackdown on writers, journalists and university lecturers, dozens of whom are held in jail. Im ashamed that these non-Islamic acts were carried out in the name of Islam, he said, and called out to the regime leaders to let the young generation choose its own leaders and regime. He reminded of the words of Ayatollah Khomeini on this subject several days before the collapse of the Shahs rule. He reiterated that the absolute majority of Iranians are dissatisfied with the ruling establishment, and this is why there is an urgent need to allow the Iranians to speak their minds and to choose the regime they want.

It shall be noted that in recent days Ayatollah Montazeri has renewed his public lectures in the framework of religious studies after a six-year period of hiatus spent under house arrest. Montazeri says it is unlikely that the regime is going to heed to his and others advice, and that it appears that the regimes structure is immutable and is not open to reforms (AP, September 17, 2003).

Montazeris reply to a letter sent to him by the youth of Irans Islamic Participation Front is full of harsh criticism of the Islamic regimes unrelenting attitude toward religious leaders whose opinions do not match with the regimes strict policy. He writes that regime representatives had no qualms whatsoever about damaging the religious school under my patronage, and that they shamelessly burned the Koran books. What earned him such a treatment were bitter facts that the regime leaders would like the people to forget that he had once written in his memoirs. He adds, the leaders should know that such disgraceful acts cannot uphold religion. The people have minds of their own and can tell right from wrong (a press release by Montazeris office, September 16, 2003).
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