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Executive Summary News/Articles Update-January 24, 2006

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:13 pm    Post subject: Executive Summary News/Articles Update-January 24, 2006 Reply with quote

Executive Summary News/Articles Update-January 24, 2006
The First Few Paragraph of Each Article and Source URL For Complete News/Articles Are Shown

Moqtada al-Sadr assures Islamic Republic

TEHRAN, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Firebrand Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has assured Iran that his Shi'ite Muslim militiamen will support the Islamic Republic if it comes under attack, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Although the United States and Israel have said they prefer diplomacy as a means to solve a dispute over Iran's atomic programme, they have not ruled out military options.

Washington accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

"If neighbouring Islamic countries, including Iran, should come under attack, then the Mehdi Army will support them," Sadr said on a visit to Tehran.

Sadr's Mehdi Army militia rose up against U.S. occupying forces in Iraq in 2004.

In Iran, Sadr has met Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

U.S. finally focuses on Iran

January 24, 2006


WASHINGTON -- How should the U.S. think about Iran? What explains the fanaticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and what can America and its allies do to change it?
These baseline questions are at the heart of an informal review of Iran policy that's taking place at the highest levels of the Bush administration. The discussions, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, are an effort to anchor America's opposition to the Iranian nuclear program in a broader strategy. The goal is not simply to stop the Iranians from making a bomb, but to change the character of a regime that under Ahmadinejad has swerved onto a new and dangerous track.
In crafting their Iran policy, administration officials don't want the nuclear issue to be isolated from the more basic problem of Tehran's erratic and potentially destabilizing role in the Middle East. The message to Iran is that while the U.S. opposes Iranian nuclear weapons, it supports a technologically advanced Iran that, as it matures, can play a leading role in the region. A shorthand for the administration's policy aim might be: No to Ahmadinejad, yes to the Iranian people and a modern Iran.



Tehran, 24 Jan. (AKI) - At least six people were killed in a double bomb explosion in Iran's south-western city of Ahvaz on Tuesday, Iranian state television reported. An undisclosed number of people were wounded in the blasts which damaged a state environmental agency and a bank in the city which is the capital of the oil-rich Khuzestan province.

Ahvaz was hit by a wave of bomb attacks in June and October last year that the government blamed on Iranian Arab extremists whom it claimed were being supported by foreign governments, such as Britain. The October bombings killed six people and those in June killed at least eight people.

In recent weeks, Iran has repeatedly accused Britain of provoking unrest in the Khuzestan province, which borders that part of Iraq where 8,500 British soldiers are based as part of the United States-led military coalition.

Britain has denied any involvement in the disturbances in Khuzestan.

Iran Blasts Timed for President Visit

January 24, 2006
Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Tehran

A double bomb attack in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz today occurred at the same time President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been scheduled to visit the city, an aide to the president has said.

Six people were killed and 24 injured in the double bomb attack, state television reported.

But Mr Ahmadinejad's visit was cancelled at the last moment due to bad weather.

"President Ahmadinejad's visit to the province was cancelled yesterday afternoon because of bad weather," said the official, who asked for his name not to be used.

West Talks Tough With Iran, Treads Lightly

January 23, 2006
The Wall Street Journal
Carla Anne Robbins
As U.S. and European officials press to have Iran brought before the United Nations Security Council, they are also promising that Tehran won't face serious punishment there -- for quite a while.

Iran has few friends left after deciding to resume efforts to enrich uranium, a process that could advance it a big step closer to being able to build a nuclear weapon. But there are reasons the move toward international penalties might not be swift. As the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer, Iran has considerable economic leverage. It also may benefit from the "Iraq effect." There is widespread anxiety that any U.N. action -- unless carefully constrained -- could open the door for another U.S.-led war.

Why US Doesn't Trust Iran on Nukes

January 24, 2006
The Christian Science Monitor
Peter Grier

WASHINGTON -- Asked why they're suspicious of Iran's nuclear intentions, US officials point to Natanz. Iran's Natanz nuclear site is in a remote area 200 miles south of Tehran. Key facilities are buried, with vehicle entrance ramps hidden beneath dummy buildings. Construction there has continued in recent months despite Iran's nuclear negotiations with the West - recent satellite photos revealed at least seven new buildings.

Iran's leaders have long said they are conducting nuclear research for peaceful purposes. They claim they want only to learn how to produce fissionable fuel for power plants, as they're allowed to do under terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Six Killed in Iran Bomb Attacks

January 24, 2006
BBC News

At least six people have been killed and 24 injured in a series of blasts in the south-western Iranian city of Ahwaz, police say. The two bombs exploded outside a privately-run bank and a government office in the city in Khuzestan Province, which borders Iraq.

The oil-rich province, which borders Iraq, was hit by several bomb blasts last year.

It was also the scene of anti-government rallies in November.

Rice, Italian Minister Call for Unity on Iran

January 23, 2006
The Washington File
The U.S. Department of State

Referral to U.N. Security Council "absolutely has to be made," Rice says.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Italian Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini called January 23 for the international community to take a tough, unified position on Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

“We would all like to solve this diplomatically and are committed to doing so, but Iran must recognize the concerns of the international community and has not done so,” said Rice after meeting with Fini at the State Department. “And it is now time to refer the Iranian case to the [U.N.] Security Council.”

The Iranians have “done plenty” to warrant a referral of the case to the United Nations, and the United State intends to seek such a referral when the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Board of Governors holds an emergency meeting on Iran's nuclear program on February 2, Rice said.

Bush Fears Blackmail by Iran

January 23, 2006
U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday he was concerned a future nuclear-armed Iran could blackmail the world. Watch the President's Comments

But in a setback for U.S.-European Union efforts to crack down on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief ruled out advancing a wide-ranging report on the issue in time for a Feb. 2 crisis meeting of his agency.

Bolton: Bush Won't Tolerate Nuclear Iran

January 23, 2006
The Jerusalem Post
Herb Keinon

US President George W. Bush will not accept a nuclear Iran, John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday. Bolton, speaking from New York via video hook-up to the Interdisciplinary Center's Herzliya Conference, said that Bush was determined to pursue the issue through peaceful and diplomatic means, "but has made clear that a nuclear Iran is not acceptable."

According to Bolton, Bush worries that a nuclear-equipped Iran under its current leadership could well engage in a nuclear holocaust, "and that is just not something he is going to accept."

Bolton said that if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) referred the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council in early February, it would still be unlikely for the UN to immediately slap sanctions on Teheran.

Merkel Calls For Step-By-Step Approach To Iran

January 23, 2006
Dow Jones Newswires

VERSAILLES, France -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for a step-by-step diplomatic approach in the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program and warned against moving hastily.

Merkel, speaking at a news conference with President Jacques Chirac, also defended the French leader's threat last week that France might use its nuclear weapons against state-sponsored terrorism or to thwart an attack involving weapons of mass destruction - comments that drew criticism from elsewhere in Europe and from Iran.

Iran Extends Nuclear Plant in Secret

January 23, 2006
Philip Sherwell in Washington

Iran has secretly extended the uranium enrichment plant at the centre of the international controversy over its resumption of banned nuclear research earlier this month, satellite imagery has revealed.

Seven buildings have been erected around the concealed centrifuges which Western governments fear will be used to manufacture weapons-grade uranium at the Natanz site, 200 miles south of Teheran.

The discovery has heightened fears that Iran is stepping up the pace of its suspected weapons programme, in breach of international agreements, since it removed International Atomic Energy Authority seals on nuclear equipment at the site 10 days ago.

The Road to Tehran...

January 23, 2006
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

Assad’s fall will have a domino effect.

The Syrian-Iranian terror alliance goes back a long time, at least to the mid-1980s, when Hezbollah was created to wage terror war against American and French forces in Lebanon. There was a neat division of labor: Syria controlled the territory, and Iran ran the organization. Hezbollah's murderous successes are legendary, from the suicide bombings against the French and American Marine barracks to a similar operation against the American embassy, all in Beirut, to massive bombings of Jewish targets in Argentina. That alliance remains intact, and provides the base of the terror war in Iraq today.

Coming Soon: Nuclear Theocrats?

January 23, 2006
The Weekly Standard
Reuel Marc Gerecht

Let us state the obvious: The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a godsend. The Americans, the Europeans, and even the Russians are now treating clerical Iran's 20-year quest to develop nuclear weapons more seriously. Ahmadinejad's inflamed rhetoric against America, Israel, and the Jews, which is in keeping with the style and substance of the president's former comrades in the praetorian Revolutionary Guard Corps, combined with the clerical regime's decision to restart uranium enrichment, has returned some sense of urgency to efforts to thwart Tehran.

We Should Strike Iran, but Not With Bombs

January 22, 2006
The Washington Post
Ivo Daalder and Philip Gordon

Iran's decision to resume nuclear enrichment activities -- a key step in the process of making nuclear weapons -- is a direct challenge to the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. For more than two years now, Europe -- with Washington's support -- has offered Tehran a reasonable deal: End the nuclear enrichment work it had been doing in secret for nearly two decades and receive technical support for a civilian nuclear energy program as well as expanded economic and diplomatic ties.

Iran Rejects Israeli, French Warnings

Source: Radio Free Europe
22 January 2006 -- Iran says Israel would be making a "fatal mistake" if it resorts to military action against Tehran's nuclear program, and has accused France of interfering in its internal affairs.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi dismissed a warning issued to Iran by Israel's defense minister as a "childish game."
The warning was one of strongest yet issued by Israel.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remarks With Italian Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini After Their Meeting

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
The Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 23, 2006

(12:28 p.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Good afternoon. I'm delighted to welcome back to Washington
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini. We have met on
numerous occasions. I think that it is fair to say that the United States has
no stronger strategic partner than Italy in the global challenges that we face.
We have been together in Iraq. We are together in Afghanistan. We are together
in supporting the Palestinian people and the Israeli people to try to find a
permanent solution to that conflict, one based on democratic values in which
the Palestinian people would finally achieve statehood and there would be a
two-state solution.

We have had a discussion and I think we'll talk further also about the
situation in the Balkans. The Minister has just returned from an extended visit
to the Balkans and I look forward to discussing this further with him.

And we've also talked about the challenge that Iran poses to nonproliferation
and to the international community and about our joint view that Iran must know
that there is a firm international consensus against the activities that Iran
is currently engaged in. We would all like to solve this diplomatically and are
committed to doing so, but Iran must recognize the concerns of the
international community and has not done so. And it is now time to refer the
Iranian case to the Security Council.

And so thank you, Gianfranco, for your strong role in the fight against
terrorism, in the efforts to spread liberty and freedom. Italy and the United
States share many bonds of kinship, many bonds of friendship and, of course,
enduring bonds that are based on common values.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FINI: (Via interpreter) I would like to thank the
Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who just a few moments ago, has mentioned
and stressed once again the traditional and closer relations of cooperation and
friendship between the United States and Italy.

We are convinced that the fight for freedom and democracy must involve all
peoples and government and must be led in cooperation and friendship.

And certainly the scenarios of Middle East, Iraq and the Balkans are the places
where Italy and European Union can play a more active role and certainly this
is important for the United States. They are different among themselves, but
they share one need: granting those people freedom and self-determination,
granting the respect of the most fundamental value of all, that is, respect for
human dignity and make it possible for democratic institutions to be built
because they are freely chosen by the voters.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FINI: Though in conditions which are different among
themselves, what's happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, as well as
the Middle East is part and parcel of this strategy. This is the only strategy
which will make it possible for the west to defeat completely terrorism and
above all, the only strategy which will make it possible for those populations
to grow economically and therefore achieve a social justice. And on this
occasion, too, we shared the same views as to the evaluation and the activities
to be carried out.

MODERATOR: Anne Gearan, Associated Press.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the draft European text for an IAEA resolution on
Iran stops short of asking the Security Council to impose sanctions and Mohamed
ElBaradei today told you he won't prepare the full report you had wanted ahead
of that IAEA meeting. Are you running into resistance to your tough approach
and can you be satisfied with an outcome short of sanctions? And for the
Foreign Minister, what is your view of the implied threat over the weekend from
the Israelis that if diplomacy fails, they might take military action? Thank

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, Anne.

We've made very clear that we believe that the next step before the
international community concerning the situation with Iran is to refer it to
the Security Council. The question of what the Security Council will then do we
will, of course, have to get to the Security Council. But it has been our
belief and it is that of the Europeans as well and a number of other states,
that the time has come for referral.

Now there are many unanswered questions about the Iranian program and I'm
certain that in due course, Director General ElBaradei will answer those
questions. But the Iranians have done plenty for a referral at this point in
time. They have walked out of negotiations with the European three. They have
broken the moratorium on enrichment and reprocessing that they had been
involved in. They have broken the seals at Natanz. It seems to me that the case
for referral is very strong and that's what we intend to seek at the IAEA Board
of Governors meeting. The Security Council can then take up the matter at a
later time, but the referral absolutely has to be made.

Without going to the Security Council, we are not going to have the context in
which Iran will understand that it is truly isolated on this issue and must
deal with the international community's just demand.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FINI: Italy is the first trade partner of Iran within
European Community. But this privileged position did not prevent us from
stating very clearly that Tehran must cooperate with the international
community on this issue. The international community must be united and very
resolved. It is now absolutely necessary to refer the case to the Security
Council. The Security Council will evaluate the issue, we hope, with
flexibility and with political far-sightedness.

But it is essential that the whole world knows that international community is
not going to be divided on the Iranian issue because it is absolutely necessary
when it comes to nuclear nonproliferation, but in the Iranian case it is even
more unacceptable from the moral viewpoint because of the unacceptable tones
and the words spoken by President Ahmadi-Nejad. And being equally firm, we want
to stress and reiterate to our Israeli friends that the only way to guarantee
peace and security is the diplomatic route.

QUESTION: Do you see still some room or some developments for the European
initiative for the formula which has been applied, and do you see a new format
for the European negotiations possible for the Iranian case?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FINI: The higher number of countries involved, the higher
the success rate of the pressure on Tehran.

SECRETARY RICE: I believe that we have come to what the German Foreign Minister
called a dead end in this stage of the negotiations. The Iranians are the ones
who walked out. They are the ones who broke the seals. They have been the ones
who've said that they intend to begin enriching and reprocessing. I don't see
much room for further discussion in any format while those conditions exist,
and that is why I've emphasized the Security Council route.

But let me be very clear. It's the Iranian regime that is isolating Iran, not
the international community. No one wants to isolate the Iranian people. The
Iranian people are a great people who deserve to be fully integrated into the
international community. And I think that one thing that we will want to think
about is how, whatever the course that is taken with Iran, is that the message
gets through loud and clear both in rhetoric and reality to the Iranian people
that we do not wish to isolate them.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Minister, in two days we're going to be having
elections in the Palestinian territories in which the militant group Hamas is
expected to do very well and quite possibly enter the government. My question
is: Can the United States and the European Union accept and work with a
Palestinian government that includes members of Hamas?

SECRETARY RICE: The first point that I'd like to make is that I think it will
be a great day for the Palestinian people to engage in elections. They are in a
transition to the creation of a basis for a democratic state and we look
forward to supporting their efforts.

There are certain realities. The United States has -- Hamas is a terrorist
group from the policies of the United States and it is a group that does not
recognize the existence of Israel and it is a group that has not renounced
violence and the problem, of course, is a very practical problem. In addition
to the fact that the United States won't change its policies toward Hamas, the
practical problem is that the Palestinian leadership in the roadmap is
committed to a renunciation of violence, committed to dismantling terrorist
organizations, committed to a peaceful road.

It probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that it's hard to have
negotiations with a party that you do not recognize its right to exist. And so
if we indeed do want a path to peace between Israel and the Palestinian people,
it is going to have to be one in which Palestinians and any Palestinian
government is committed to a peaceful path.

I might also add that this has been said by the Palestinian Authority President
on a number of occasions that there has to be one authority and one gun. And as
said by the Quartet that it is not possible to have -- I'm paraphrasing but --
one foot in terrorism and the other foot in politics. It simply doesn't work.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) This is a question to you, Secretary of State, the
United States says that the option in the Iranian issue is -- the valid option
is the diplomatic one, but that on the President's table, there are all options
open. Now considering the present situation, considering also the fact that in
Iraq still a war is being waged, is it realistic to think that United States
can afford to fight two wars?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the question, as I said when I was in Europe, is not on
the agenda because we have committed to a diplomatic course. We believe that a
strong international response, a united international response, a Security
Council context and response can indeed succeed in getting the Iranian regime
to take a more acceptable course because I do not believe that the Iranian
regime wants to be isolated in the way that it will be when it's in the
Security Council.

SECRETARY RICE: But let me be very clear, the President of the United States
doesn't take any options off the table. The key here is for an international
response that will deal with a very real threat of an Iranian regime that may
be, indeed, dedicated to the creation of a nuclear weapon under cover of
peaceful nuclear uses. It's not acceptable and that's what you're hearing from
Italy, that's what you're hearing from around the world and I believe that you
will hear it very strongly when the IAEA Board of Governors meets in February.

MODERATOR: Thank you.


QUESTION: My question was can the USA afford realistically a second war?

SECRETARY RICE: I said the President takes no options off the table.

Thank you.

Released on January 23, 2006

See http://www.state.gov/secretary/ for all remarks by the Secretary of State.
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