The London-based brother of the Iranian general who personally ordered the kidnapping of the 15 servicemen in the Shatt al-Arab waterway condemned Britain’s ingratitude after their release last week.Notice the "we sent the boys back". He's very clear about which side he supports.
Salman Rahim Safavi, an academic and brother of Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said: “We sent the boys back as a gift to the British people and Tony Blair didn’t even say thank you.”
Safavi, who is in close contact with his brother in Iran, warned that the Tehran leadership has been angry about British reaction since the hostages arrived home and hinted at a tougher response in future.
London should respond to Tehran freeing 15 British captives with a goodwill gesture of its own, Iran's ambassador to Britain said in an interview published Saturday.
Rasoul Movahedian indicated that Tehran wants Britain's help in releasing five Iranians being held in Iraq and on easing international fears about its controversial nuclear programme.
The diplomat said Iran would welcome recognition from the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council of what he said was the Islamic republic's right to enrich uranium.
"That's the prime issue for Iran and I think that could help set a new basis for our future relations with Western countries," he told the business daily.
An Iranian human rights activist, Ghazal Omid, praised the findings, saying they prove hard-liners in Iran are using the books to turn children into "ticking bombs."
However, a U.S. academic who specializes in Iran and Islam, and a former Iranian teacher said they believe the textbooks are a reflection of Iran's history and its deep suspicions of the West, not an effort to turn students into terrorists.
The books emphasize the teachings of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and repeatedly refer to the United States as the "Great Satan" and to Israel as "the regime that occupies Jerusalem," said the study by the Israel-based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace.
Omid, who fled Iran and wrote "Living in Hell," an autobiography about her experiences there, urged changes to textbooks in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.
"I am an Iranian, a practicing Muslim woman, who sees it as her responsibility to stand up to hard-line Muslims who use Islam to brainwash children of that faith, in particular Iranian children, who the Iranian government is turning into ticking bombs," she said.
February has barely started and already I hate it and want it abolished. February 11 is the new August 22. Mark “Apocalypse” on your calendars, but just use a pencil in case it doesn’t pan out again. Even better news: we get to keep freaking out every time the Iranians have another morbid anniversary, because we haven’t taken them out yet. Isn’t that great? Fecklessness pays dividends. Appeasement is the gift that keeps on giving.
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Iran kicks off 10 days of celebrations on Thursday marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, with officials promising the unveiling of a major advance in its controversial nuclear drive. The festivities known as the “Decade of Fajr” (Dawn) culminate on February 11, the date 28 years ago when the US-backed Shah’s regime fell to revolutionaries led by the late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already said he will announce “good news” about the development of the nation’s nuclear programme during the anniversary celebrations.
The “Decade of Fajr” begins at 9:33 (0603 GMT) on Thursday, the exact time Khomeini landed at Tehran airport, making a triumphant return from exile in France greeted by massive crowds of fervent supporters.
As the clock strikes that minute, school and churches bells will toll, train and ship horns will be sounded and factory sirens wail.
Flowers will also be laid at Khomeini’s shrine in southern Tehran in the main cemetery where many of Iran’s war dead are buried.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president and the current head of its powerful arbitration body, will make a speech at the shrine, which marks the spot where Khomenei told throngs of his revolutionary supporters about the creation of an Islamic regime.
Iran’s outspoken populist president is then expected to make a speech on February 11 in the captial’s main Azadi (Freedom) square, where a 100-strong orchestra will play a “nuclear symphony”.
“Iranian people, with faith in God, wisdom and resistance, will defend their inalienable rights… and celebrate the realization of their peaceful nuclear rights during Fajr,” Ahmadinejad said Wednesday.
According to government officials, Olmert argued at Wednesday's meeting that the cease-fire had strategic value, and that Israel's policy of restraint had earned it "a lot of understanding and appreciation" around the world that would provide "leeway" in the future.Even worse:
Israel, according to officials in Olmert's office, can afford to continue to observe the "overall parameters" of the cease-fire, and can always take more forceful action down the line.
Olmert has argued in recent days that a strong military response would only unite Hamas and Fatah.No, another Lebanon would only unite Hamas and Fatah. A truly strong military response would send both running under their mothers' skirts, be they united or disunited. A truly strong military response would have widows wailing from Beirut to Gaza, from Damascus to Tehran.
Based on the government decision, the IDF will continue to refrain from targeting Kassam workshops and will only fire at people if they are "ticking bombs" - terrorists on their way to, or in the midst of, an attack.How can any journal record such inanity with a straight face? It defies logic. It defies mockery. It meets insanity, and bests it. It exceeds the insanity of suicide.
We have been telling the world that the present clique of Islamofascists ruling Iran is not Iranian in the world-view. And with each passing day fresh evidence supports our claim. The recent gathering of some of the world's fascists in Tehran, at the invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamofascist President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, provides further support to our claim.Unfortunately, the Iranians who put the mullahs in power also consider themselves true Iranians.
Iranians have never had any animosity toward the Jewish people. In fact, our friendship with the Jews goes back thousands of years. You have to be a fascist to pick, with no justification at all, on any people to persecute and aim to annihilate. True Iranians are among the world's staunchest supporters of universal human rights.
Iran says it organized the conference to shed light on the reasons behind the formation of the state of Israel after World War Two and to allow researchers from countries where it is a crime to question the Holocaust to speak freely.
"Iran is your home and is the home of all freedom seekers of the world," Ahmadinejad said. "Here you can express your views and exchange opinions in a friendly, brotherly and free atmosphere."
He urged countries where Holocaust denial is a crime, to respect freedom of speech and not to take action against any of the conference participants on their return.
Human rights groups frequently number Iran as one of the world's worst violators of free speech, where scores of newspapers have been closed, journalists jailed, access to Web sites blocked and government critics hounded out of the country.
Delegates at the meeting earlier on Tuesday agreed to form a "fact-finding" committee to study the Holocaust.
"The government is trying to create a digital border to stop culture and news coming from abroad — a vision of the Net which is worrying for the country's future," it said.If the China comparison is supposed to alarm people, it's useless. Western nations are falling over each other trying to do business with China and it's not going to be any different with Iran.
"The Iranian government policy is not an isolated case. It is getting closer and closer to that of the authorities in China, with particular stress being laid on censorship of cultural output," it said.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentine prosecutors asked a judge on Wednesday to issue an arrest warrant against former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and other Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center that killed scores of people.
The decision to attack the center "was undertaken in 1993 by the highest authorities of the then-government of Iran," prosecutor Alberto Nisman said at a news conference.
Nisman said the actual attack was entrusted to the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah.
The worst terrorist attack ever on Argentine soil, the bombing of the Jewish cultural center killed 85 people and injured more than 200 others when an explosive-laden vehicle was driven near the building and detonated.
Prosecutors urged the judge to seek international and national arrest orders for Rafsanjani, who was Iran's president between 1989 and 1997.
They also were asking the judge to detain several other former Iranian officials, including a former intelligence chief, Ali Fallahijan, and former Foreign Minister Ali Ar Velayati.
UNITED NATIONS: The major powers have given Iran a new deadline of early October to suspend uranium enrichment and begin negotiations on a package of rewards for stepping back from a nuclear showdown, a senior European diplomat said Wednesday.Ooh, the Frenchman says it's becoming urgent, just after his President announced that Iran should not face sanctions. France talking out of both sides of its mouth as usual.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and Italy agreed at a meeting late Tuesday to give European negotiators more time to convince Iran to give up its enrichment program before seeking sanctions against Tehran as called for under a UN resolution.
But the meeting set a deadline of early October for success in the negotiations between European foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani, the diplomat said.
Speaking Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States -- agreed that Iran must respond rapidly.
"We must have a response fairly quickly," he said, "it's becoming urgent."
Most of those approached in central Tehran said they had not heard of the exhibition and insisted the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis was a historical fact. "I'm sure the Holocaust was true - I've heard all about it from newspapers and television," said a housewife from a religious family. "I don't know why some say it didn't happen."And you know how the exhibition was all about freedom of expression, right?
Officials said that the exhibition championed freedom of speech, but yesterday they closed Iran's most popular reformist newspaper. One alleged offence was its publication of a cartoon which appeared to show President Ahmadinejad as a donkey.Probably a lot of Iranians know that to be a fact, as well.
The JCPA will be circulating a document at the UN calling for Iran's ouster based on the UN Charter, which says that member states "that have persistently violated the principles contained in the present charter" can be removed.
The JCPA is maintaining that Iran has violated the convention against genocide by its threats to Israel and pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as abrogated the foundational charter's requirement that member countries "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."
President Bush personally signed off on a visa allowing former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to visit the United States because he wanted hear his views, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
"I was interested to hear what he had to say," Bush told the Wall Street Journal in an interview. "I'm interested in learning more about the Iranian government, how they think, what people think within the government."
"My hope is that diplomacy will work in convincing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions. And in order for diplomacy to work, it's important to hear voices other than Ahmadinejad's," Bush added.
"Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of an American tour repositioning himself for a return to the Israeli premiership, told an audience in New York yesterday that President Bush is preparing to ditch the United Nations to take on Iran alone and that American politicians of all parties would do well to stop squabbling about Iraq and join the president in focusing on threat from Tehran," I report in The New York Sun.From the article: Bush may have given up on Russia and China!
Largely ignored in the coverage of Mr. Bush's speech Tuesday on the war on terror, Mr. Netanyahu told his audience more than once, was Mr. Bush's statement that "the world's free nations will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon." Not that the "United Nations won't allow," said Mr. Netanyahu, but that the "free nations" of the world won't allow. Mr. Netanyahu called it a sign that on the Iranian problem the president was preparing to stop working through the United Nations and instead work with whoever would join him.Hallelujah.
Unfortunately, said Mr. Netanyahu, Britain and America, along with Israel and Iran, are the only countries at the moment that understand what is at stake if Iran acquires the bomb. Meantime, "the Europeans …" Mr. Netanyahu trailed off, struggling to find the right word, at which point members of the audience interjected with inaudible, although apparently uncomplimentary, suggestions. "I'm trying to be diplomatic," Mr. Netanyahu replied before saying, "for the sake of mankind," Iran couldn't be permitted to have a nuclear weapon.
On one thing, he's correct: Peaceful use of nuclear energy is his nation's right. But Tehran's actions appear anything but peaceful.
Just last month, for example, it doubled output at a heavy-water enrichment plant. This lets Iran use unenriched uranium mined from within its borders — rather than having to buy it from others.
There's also the curious case of the Iranian government laptop computer obtained by the U.S. in 2004. It contained bomb designs and other technology clearly meant for weapons, not peace.
Then there's the strange, deep hole Tehran drilled earlier this year — a 400-meter shaft with special built-in sensors to measure heat and pressure and with only one logical use: to test a bomb.
Iran already has 18 nuclear sites, carefully placed around the country. It has hundreds of sophisticated P-1 and P-2 centrifuges — used to enrich uranium for bombs — and plans to have 3,000 in a few years. All this translates into a burgeoning nuclear capability.
The International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] recently warned that Iran's Isfahan nuclear facility had already turned 37 tons of "raw uranium . . . into uranium hexafluoride" — enough, experts say, for as many as six atomic bombs.
The U.S. believes another Iranian nuclear reactor, at Bushehr, could eventually produce enough plutonium a year for 30 bombs.
The president, in his role as head of the country's Council of Cultural Revolution, does have the authority to make such changes. But his comments Tuesday seemed designed more to encourage hard-line students to begin a pressure campaign on their own, thus forcing universities to oust the teachers.
Iran retired dozens of liberal university professors and teachers earlier this year. And last November, Ahmadinejad's administration for the first time named a cleric to head the country's oldest institution of higher education, Tehran University, despite protests by students.
John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the Security Council would wait to consider possible actions until European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, met Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, sometime in the middle of next week.
The EU reiterated on Friday its commitment to a diplomatic resolution.
"For the EU, diplomacy remains the No. 1 way forward," said Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country holds the EU presidency.
He said "this is not the time or place" for the international community to hit Iran with sanctions. Tuomioja spoke at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Finland.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Nazi Holocaust may be an ``excuse'' by the nations that won World War II to keep Germans ``ashamed.''
``Is it not a reasonable possibility that certain victorious countries in the war aimed to make up an excuse on the basis of which they could keep the defeated people constantly ashamed,'' and to block Germany's ``progress and strength?'' Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter to Merkel cited today by the state-run Mehr news agency. The letter was delivered July 20 to Germany's embassy in Tehran and hadn't been made public previously.
JERUSALEM -- Israel has appointed a top general to oversee a war against Iran, prompting speculation that it is preparing for possible military action against Tehran's nuclear program.via James Lewis at the American Thinker, who adds:
Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, Israel's air force chief, will be overall commander for the "Iran front," military sources told the London Sunday Telegraph.
News of the appointment comes just days before a United Nations deadline expires for Iran to give up its nuclear program, which Western governments fear will be used to produce atomic weapons. Despite Iran's offer last week to engage in "serious talks" on the matter, Israel fears even more than other Western nations that the offer is simply to buy time for Tehran to secure all the technology it needs to build the bomb.
General Shkedy is the son of Holocaust survivors, and keeps a picture over his desk of an IAF jet flying over Auschwitz.
This is Israel’s answer to Ahmadinejad.
Israel is carefully watching the world's reaction to Iran's continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, with some high-level officials arguing it is now clear that when it comes to stopping Iran, Israel "may have to go it alone," The Jerusalem Post has learned.
One senior source said on Tuesday that Iran "flipped the world the bird" by not responding positively to the Western incentive plan to stop uranium enrichment. He expressed frustration that the Russians and Chinese were already saying that Iran's offer of a "new formula" and willingness to enter "serious negotiations" was an opening to keep on talking.
"The Iranians know the world will do nothing," he said. "This is similar to the world's attempts to appease Hitler in the 1930s - they are trying to feed the beast."
Beijing said it hoped all parties would show calm, patience and flexibility so that negotiations could be resumed, and said it was "carefully studying" Iran's reply.
"China has always believed that seeking a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic talks is the best choice and in the interests of all parties concerned," the ministry said.
Russia echoed the Chinese stance, stressing its commitment to a negotiated solution to the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.
Russia will continue "seeking a political, negotiated settlement concerning Iran's nuclear programme," Interfax news agency quotes a Russian foreign ministry spokesman as saying.
The US gave no immediate reaction to Iran's response. "We're giving it careful consideration and a careful review, as it deserves," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
But in Paris, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said fresh talks were dependent on Tehran first suspending its nuclear activities.
"As we have said all along, and as Mr Larijani well knows, the return to the negotiating table is tied to a suspension of its uranium enrichment activity," he said.
"The Iranians know the rules of the game: first a suspension of sensitive nuclear activities."
Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - Iran has reportedly singled out Italy as the third party it would like to see negotiate with Hezbollah over the return of two abducted Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
Italian Senator Sergio De Gregorio told Reuters Monday that Iranian national security adviser Ali Larijani told him Tehran would instruct Hezbollah to deal only Italy on the matter. Hezbollah and its sponsors in Iran and Syria want Israel to release hundreds of jailed terrorists in return for its two soldiers.
The abduction of IDF reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and the killing of eight of their comrades in a July 12 Hezbollah assault on northern Israel sparked a 34-day war that ended last week with a UN-imposed ceasefire.
In the first indication in more than a month of how Regev and Goldwasser are fairing in captivity, Gregorio said that "they are alive," but that their condition is "not great."
In a related development, UN peacekeepers stationed in Lebanon told the AP Monday that Israel had handed over to them five Hezbollah guerillas captured during an August 1 IDF commando raid on the terror group's stronghold in Baalbek.
Three factories in Iran are mass-producing the sophisticated roadside bombs used to kill British soldiers over the border in Iraq, it has been claimed.There's much more at the link.
The lethal bombs are being made by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps at ordnance factory sites in Teheran, according to opponents of the country's theocratic regime.
Designed to penetrate heavy armour, the devices being manufactured in Iran involve the use of "explosively formed projectiles" or EFPs, also known as shaped charges, often triggered by infra-red beams.
The weapons can pierce the armour of British and American tanks and armoured personnel carriers and completely destroy armoured Land Rovers, which are used by the majority of British troops on operations in Iraq.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed in April that Iranian-made devices employing several EFPs, directed at different angles, were being used in Iraq.
And in June, this newspaper obtained the first picture of one of the Iraqi insurgent weapons - designed to fire an armour-piercing EFP - believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 17 British soldiers.
British Government scientists have already established that the mines are precision-made weapons thought to have been turned on a lathe by craftsmen trained in the manufacture of munitions.
Members of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee have released the details about the three bomb factories gathered by the exile group, the National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI).
Iranians working for the NCRI pinpointed the facilities at three industrial sections called Sattari, Sayad Shirazi and Shiroodi. The factories are in the Lavizan neighbourhood in northern Teheran which is controlled by the country's defence ministry. The Sattari Industry specialises in anti-tank mines and operates under the aegis of the IRGC's al-Quds or Jerusalem Force.
On August 9, 2006, the official Iranian news agency IRNA published an interview with Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, who is in charge of Iran's nuclear dossier. According to IRNA, the interview was given to the Indian newspaper The Hindu, and will be published this coming Saturday (August 12, 2006); to date there is no independent confirmation from The Hindu.
In the interview, Larijani denies that Iran is diverting nuclear technology for military purposes and accuses the West of conducting negotiations in bad faith and of using the nuclear issue as an excuse to pursue its own aims in the region. Larijani further claims that there is no legal basis for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1696 on Iran, and expressed pessimism regarding future dialogue.
Larijani was noncommittal on the question of whether Iran was still planning on giving its answer to the Security Council on August 22, saying that the 5 1 countries have already derailed the proposal themselves.