Maziar Bahari at PostGlobal

Maziar Bahari

Tehran, Iran

Maziar Bahari is an award winning documentary filmmaker and journalist from Iran. His films include “The Voyage of the Saint Louis,” “Targets: Reporters in Iraq,” “Football, Iranian Style” and “Along Came a Spider” for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2005. He is also one of very few journalists who has worked in Iraq consistently for the past four years. Bahari is the Newsweek correspondent in Iran. Close.

Maziar Bahari

Tehran, Iran

Maziar Bahari is an award winning documentary filmmaker and journalist from Iran. more »

Main Page | Maziar Bahari Archives | PostGlobal Archives

An Iranian Dissects U.S.-Iran Talks

Tehran, Iran - Mr. Cheney and co. may like to topple the Ayatollahs. Many Iranian men would like Britney Spears to convert to Islam and marry them. Neither is on the cards, but U.S.-Iran dialog must be.

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All Comments (200)

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Clayton E. Andrews, jr.:

Excellent article, I have always felt that the US interferes way too much in the internal affairs of other countries in this misguided belief that our way of doing things is the right way and that everyone should be overjoyed to be like us. We're that obnoxious teenager in every family.
Very insightful, you should be a foreign policy advisor to either Iram or the US, preferably both. But what can the average American do to influence those in power, those men with their own agendas? Perhaps that is the problem, too many old men running things? Maybe it is time for the under 40 group to bring forth some fresh ideas not including violence of any kind?

Clayton E. Andrews, jr.:

Excellent article, I have always felt that the US interferes way too much in the internal affairs of other countries in this misguided belief that our way of doing things is the right way and that everyone should be overjoyed to be like us. We're that obnoxious teenager in every family.
Very insightful, you should be a foreign policy advisor to either Iram or the US, preferably both. But what can the average American do to influence those in power, those men with their own agendas? Perhaps that is the problem, too many old men running things? Maybe it is time for the under 40 group to bring forth some fresh ideas not including violence of any kind?


Wow, you guys have a talent for finding some of THE stinkiest and most questionable Iranians to write for you. This clown is laughed at by Iranians but because you want to force YOUR cultural imperialist agenda and this dork sings your tune, you promote his lies as if it were gospel. SHAME on your filthy're charlatan and I hope you go the way of the other prostitutes known as the gray lady.

Farzad :

After reading the comments by socalled peace loving Americans, I am convinced that the only way that Iran can be safe from these people is if they develop a nuclear bomb. The idea that the west is so peaceloving and that little Iran is such a threat to our pure and loving society is a joke wrapped up in utter stupidity. THAT IS WHY MOST OF THE WORLD FEARS NAKED AMERICAN AGGRESSION MORE THAN THEY FEAR MYTHICAL NON-EXISTANT NUKES AND NON-EXISTANT BALLISTIC MISSILES FALLING ON EUROPE? GEORGE BUSH KEEPS CRYING WOLF AND THE SUPPOSEDLY LIBERAL MEDIA IN THIS COUNTRY KEEPS BUYING HIS NONSENSE.

The United States has fought a war or bombed the following countries since 1980:
1. Grenada
2. Shelling of Beirut, Lebanon
3. Shooting a civilian air liner and killing scores of innocent people and babies
4. Somalia
5. Haiti
6. Kosovo
7. iraq twice
8. Afghanistan
9. Libya
10. panama

And now Iran and Syria are in the crosshairs. DOESN'T THE BIBLE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SPECK IN YOUR NEIGHBORS EYE AND IGNORING THE LOG IN YOUR OWN EYE. The violent rhetoric and warmongering on this website and the desire to dismantle a 3,000 year old nation that all these peace-loving Americans want is evidence that Iran should have a nuke. How else could they ensure that they won't be shocked or awed on false premises?

Sunil Sonkar:

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Heny Graham, Salt Lake City, USA:

Clearly, Mr. Bahari, has forged a roadmap for "Peace in Our Time". Mr. Chamberlain would be proud.
Sure, let's make overtures to the very evil that daily sends money, weapons, and even physical support into Iraq for the purpose of killing our soldiers. Let's forget the fact that Iran was behind the bombing of the Marine Corps Barracks and the US Embassy in Lebanon. Oh, and while we're at it, let's forget all about Iran's foreign policy of terror carried out by the Iranian Hezbollah which started last summer's conflagration between Lebanon and Israel. By the way, did you ever take the time to notice, sir, that every time the world focuses on Iran's nuclear ambitions, Hezbollah draws Israel into conflict and, to top it off, Iranian leaders are the first to condemn Israel's acts of self-defense?
Let's not stop there, though; let's forget how Iran's proxy leaders in Iraq, Sistani, supported by the Badr Corps, and Muqtada al-Sadr with his Mehdi Army, are daily killing innocent civilians and coalition forces. Sure, let's make a deal with pure evil and give the mullahs a gift well beyond their wildest dreams. After all, Iraq is practically a satellite state of Iran now, anyway.
Yes, and while we're at it, let's condemn the mostly innocent members of the PMOI to death as we kow-tow to the Iranian regime. And, please, don't try to link each member of the PMOI with the acts of terror committed in the '80s or with the war crimes committed against the Kurds. And your assertion that implies that the PMOI practically invented suicide bombing is absolutely laughable. The fact is that the majority of the PMOI are just well-intentioned people who wanted to free their country from an evil regime that tortures and kills its own citizens. What have you done to bring freedom to what you still call "your country"?
As for your reference to the Vietnam War, again, you conveniently ignore the facts in order to make a point. The fact is that, after losing more than fifty-thousand Americans, the leftist political agenda prevailed in the United States which led to the devastation of Vietnam and Cambodia and millions of lives lost.
Iran's leaders have the same goal in mind for the region. When they're done fomenting sectarian violence in Iraq, Iran's proxy leaders will bring "peace" to Iraq just as Iran brought "peace to Lebanon. Only time will tell what that will cost in human lives but, if the Iran-Iraq War is any indicator, we can reasonably guess that this regime that has little regard for human life could stand to kill tens of thousands more in Iraq.
Let SCIRI ring! Really, Mr. Bahari, you're either ignorant regarding your purported area of expertise, or you lack the intellectual integrity to be taken seriously. Either way, the editors of The Washington Post should be ashamed to print such drivel.

Henry Graham, Salt Lake City, USA:

Clearly, Mr. Bahari, has forged a roadmap for "Peace in Our Time". Mr. Chamberlain would be proud.
Sure, let's make overtures to the very evil that daily sends money, weapons, and even physical support into Iraq for the purpose of killing our soldiers. Let's forget the fact that Iran was behind the bombing of the Marine Corps Barracks and the US Embassy in Lebanon. Oh, and while we're at it, let's forget all about Iran's foreign policy of terror carried out by the Iranian Hezbollah which started last summer's conflagration between Lebanon and Israel. By the way, did you ever take the time to notice, sir, that every time the world focuses on Iran's nuclear ambitions, Hezbollah draws Israel into conflict and, to top it off, Iranian leaders are the first to condemn Israel's acts of self-defense?
Let's not stop there, though; let's forget how Iran's proxy leaders in Iraq, Sistani, supported by the Badr Corps, and Muqtada al-Sadr with his Mehdi Army, are daily killing innocent civilians and coalition forces. Sure, let's make a deal with pure evil and give the mullahs a gift well beyond their wildest dreams. After all, Iraq is practically a satellite state of Iran now, anyway.
Yes, and while we're at it, let's condemn the mostly innocent members of the PMOI to death as we kow-tow to the Iranian regime. And, please, don't try to link each member of the PMOI with the acts of terror committed in the '80s or with the war crimes committed against the Kurds. And your assertion that implies that the PMOI practically invented suicide bombing is absolutely laughable. The fact is that the majority of the PMOI are just well-intentioned people who wanted to free their country from an evil regime that tortures and kills its own citizens. What have you done to bring freedom to what you still call "your country"?
As for your reference to the Vietnam War, again, you conveniently ignore the facts in order to make a point. The fact is that, after losin more than fifty-thousand Americans, the leftist political agenda prevailed in the United States which led to the devestation of Vietnam and Cambodia and millions of lives lost.
Iran's leaders have the same goal in mind for the region. When they're done fomenting sectarian violence in Iraq, Iran's proxy leaders will bring "peace" to Iraq just as Iran brought "peace to Lebanon. Only time will tell what that will cost in human lives but, if the Iran-Iraq War is any indicator, we can reasonably guess that this regime that has little regard for human life could stand to kill tens of thousands more in Iraq.
Let SCIRI ring! Really, Mr. Bahari, you're either ignorant regarding your purported area of expertise or you lack the intellectual integrity to be taken seriously. Either way, the editors of The Washington Post should be ashamed to print such drivel.


Baran Salar

You are a member of Persian community. You live in Los Angeles. Your real name id is Morteza Saadati.

Goran Nowicki:

Why you blame Kurds for expressing their views freely. This is supposed to be for all. You can blame Washington Post/post global for not giving a voice to a Kurdish journalist among its panelists for the current situation. I really don't understand why there is no Kurdish panelist present among the panelists? Kurds need to raise this issue in their posts on postglobal so that we get to the bottom of it.

I read that Iran has put Washington Post under pressure by not giving visa to its journalists in Iran. Are Mr Ettefagh and no Kurdish debator in post global panel carots offered by WP to Iran to give visa to WP or maybe I'm mistaken and "Mr Ettefagh" presence and propoganda for Iranian regime is just "accidental" and has nothing to do with Iranian visa for WP? Iran-US regimes dialogue? HMM?

Just curious.

Baran Salar:

To all repescted readers:

There are people who are trying to take advantage of this opportunity. They speak, write and post articles on behalf of the Kurdish people. They copy and paste these articles from other resources. They are anti-Kurdish, want to blackmail the Kurds and create discrepancies among Kurds, Turks, Persian and Arabs. Most of what is being told, said or written about the Kurds is not true. I request every participant to disregard and avoid such expressions.

Goran Nowicki:

To Josh,

I am not an idealist, but I try to mix my realism with a bit of idealism. I think it is shallow to think that one can jump the 300 years of ladder of western democracy in the middle east in just one night or just one decade, it doesn't work in a region where Shiites mourn the killing of their Saints and family by the Sunnis every year for the past 1300 years. Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Persians have been fighting each other for Shiites vs Sunni divisions inside their own communities in addition to fighting across community lines.

For democracy to work in that region there must be a clear separation of religion and government in place. Turkey was on that path, but its future is bleak with its present Islamic gov.

I have selected Jordan, Kurdistan and Afghanistan because in Jordan and Kurdistan that secularist principle exists not because they are western democracies and those two stable centers of gravity in the region can be strengthened to reduce the chaos of the Baghdad center of gravity. I do not agree with Kissinger's repeatition of failed past policies and US policymakers need to think out of the box and come up with a new way out and a new order which maximisizes the harmony with a minimal cost.

Order is always better than Chaos. I do beleive that if 5-Mil (people in) Jordan and 5-Mil Kurdistan secularism projects are not strengthened, the Baghdad/Iraq 15 Mil chaos center will suck them into Chaos and then we will have 25 Mil Chaos religious fantisism that bring many times more terror to the west than Sept 11. Religious fanatics do exist in Jordan and Kurdistan, but they are kept in check by the two seculraist governments and their model can be extended to keep the
"middle-out" propogating Iraq Chaos in check too. A united 15 Mil Joran-Iraq stability pole and 15 Mil united Kurdistan (Iraq+Iran) stability pole in the region will put an end to Iraqi Chaos. Once established, the Kurdistan and Afghanistan poles can take care of the Iranian "middle-out" propogating chaos.

The Chaos in Iraq is strengthened by regimes like Iran which are pouring feul into the fire and its 70 Mil population are suffering. Afghanistan system is not a democratic panacea but it is neutral to shiite /Sunni division and it is a temporal solution because it cannot stand on its feet economically and US/NATO cannot stay there for good.

The region simply needs a new order and there are many in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan who desire to form a united Persian speaking country (even the current regimes) despite the fact that some are Sunni and some are Shiite. Such a union will also cool off Shiite fanatism in Iran for good if Afghan model is used to "bootstrap democracy" in Persian speaking region.

The same desire exists among Kurds and Azeris for joining their Kurdish and Turkish countrymen. Just give this "democratic bootstrapping" proposal a chance instead of full blown transformation of failed states and
let those people form their own states.

At present changing borders between Jordan and Iraq (I should say Kurdistan) is less costly that implementing long term social engineering democracy projects in Iraq.

The other alternative is to play Shiite vs Sunni communities to keep the danger of Islam in that region which in the long term will cause Chaos and disruption of oil and collapse of world economy. This article is getting long, but I am advocate of "democracy bootstrapping" and the notion of "democratic poles" in the

frustrated reader:

people should respect freedom of speech by they also have to respect the principle of relevance. I can't understand what does the history of human rights abuses in Turkey have to do with US-Iran relations. Doesn't this page have an editor?


Are the Kurds really desperate for a space on the internet to post their booklets!?

To writers:

Please respect teh freedom of speech and journalism.


Some much for the Kurds displaying some etiquette and courtesy.

By Dana Swartz:

Human Rights are not protected by Turkey's Constitution

It is important to remember that although Turkey is considered a democratic nation, its government is still controlled by the military regime. The Turkish Constitution, while an attempt to show democracy, allows for the violation of Human Rights towards the minorities that live in Turkey. This is proven everyday, when the Turkish government still attempts to deny the Armenian Genocide, and allows its military to continue to harass and murder innocent Kurds. Turkey claims that if Kurds, Armenians, or other minorities are allowed to have their identity it will destroy the republic. Well the United States, as you can read from its name, is the unity of 50 states, territories, and home to thousands of immigrants that are still arriving every year. Other Western nations also have immigrants who are recognized for their individuality, ethnic traditions, cultures, and languages, yet these nations are not destroyed.

So, how can allowing the minorities in Turkey to be seen as distinct ethnic groups weaken Turkey? One has only to look at history to see that trying to change or assimilate a group of people, only leads to civil wars, deep hatred, and horrible atrocities to life. In addition, the laws that are made using the Turkish Constitution should apply to every citizen residing within Turkey's boarders, not just certain groups of people.

Even though little changes have been made to the Constitution, these changes have not occurred in real life. Human Rights abuses are still occurring everyday, in direct violation, of the two greatest democratic organizations in the world, the United Nations and the European Union.
Hitler was forcibly removed from power for his atrocities towards the Jews. The Khmer Rouge was tried over the ethnic cleansing in Cambodia.

Saddam Hussein and his Ba'th regime were removed from power by democratic forces for his government's policy of genocide towards Kurds. When will Turkey be punished for its attempts to annihilate its own minority populations by hiding behind a Constitution that is legally and morally wrong?

Who are the Kurds?

Today, approximately 40 million Kurds make up the largest ethnic group of people without a recognized country. The Kurds live in the mountainous areas in southeast and east of Turkey, northwest of Iran, north of Iraq, and northeast of Syria. The Kurdish people can claim their heritage back to Ancient Mesopotamia. The mountainous regions they live in are harsh areas, which few people could live in and prosper; however the Kurds made it their home and have lived there for thousands of years. The major mountain regions they live in are the Taurus, Zagros, and Elburz Mountains. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the major source of water, not only for the mountains, but also for much of the Middle East. The Kurds are agricultural: raising sheep, goats, and cereals, such as wheat, barley, and oats. Another major crop of the Kurds is tobacco. Some of the finest "Turkish tobacco" is grown in the land of the Kurds. Kurds belong to clans, which are part of a tribe. The clans make up the immediate family groups, while the tribe makes up the extended family. Kurdish people are fiercely loyal to their family, clan, and tribe. (About the Kurds, History & Hemin Shekhani).

Another important aspect of Kurdish life is the language that they speak.

Kurdish language is in the Indo-European family of languages. Kurdish is broken up into four main dialects, Kurmanci (60%), Sorani (25%), Zazaki (10%), and Gorani (5%), with many smaller sub-dialects. According to Kemal Burkay, "Kurdish is a lively and rich language that has managed to survive despite all the oppression and bans to which is has been exposed." (Kurdistan's Homepage, Para 3). Kurdish is considered one of the few surviving original languages of the Mesopotamian people. Because the Kurdish language is so rich and vibrant, it has created beautiful traditions using songs and poetry. Before 1991, Kurds were not even allowed to speak their language in the privacy of their homes without fear of being arrested, or worse, killed. Since 1991, Kurds are now allowed to speak the Kurdish language inside their homes, but it is still illegal to write, read or teach the language. Today more than half of all Kurds living in Turkey cannot read or write Kurdish because of Turkey's brutal Constitutional laws concerning the language. In Turkey if minorities speak their "mother language" they are branded as traitors, terrorist, and enemies of the state.

The country known as Kurdistan by the Kurds includes land from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and small parts of Russia. According to census reports, approximately 50% of all Kurds live in Turkey, with smaller percentages living in the other areas of Kurdistan. After World War I, Kurds were promised a separate and independent country-state, in the Treaty of Servres, but then England and France, decide to divvy up the land and not give the Kurds their independence. "The Treaty of Lausanne formalized this division." (About the Kurds, History, Para 15). Since this time, Kurds all over the world have clamored for their rights of culture, language, traditions, and autonomy. But most importantly, the Kurds have asked to be recognized as a distinct people.

Quoting directly from Hemin Shekhani's website, "the Turkish government also passed various laws forbidding the use of the Kurdish language and imposing other restrictions on manifestations of Kurdish nationalism.

Although all Turkish Kurds possess full Turkish citizenship and millions of Kurds have assimilated into Turkish society, relations between Kurds and the Turkish government continue to be strained." (Hemin Shekhani, History of Kurdistan). Kurds in Turkey, for the last 80 years, were forced to be assimilated into Turks. By this, the Republic of Turkey has denied the existence of Kurds, their language, culture, ethnicity, and traditions. Since the 1980's Kurds "have waged a war of national liberation" against Turkeys governmental and military attempts to suppress all signs of Kurdish identity. (The Kurds & the Future of Turkey, Page 21). The Turkish government has been exceptionally harsh and repressive to its Kurdish population. The Washington Post stated in an article, "Turkish government, which tried to deprive them [the Kurds] of Kurdish identity by designating them "Mountain Turks, outlawing their language and forbidding them to wear traditional Kurdish costumes in the cities. The government also encouraged the migration of Kurds to the cities to dilute the population in the uplands. Turkey continues its policy of not recognizing the Kurds as a minority group." (Washington Post. Para 4).

"The Kurds have been subjugated by neighboring peoples for most of their history. In modern times, Kurds have tried to set up independent states in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, but their efforts have been crushed every time." (Washington Post, Background: The Kurds Inset). While many Kurds want a separate and recognized state called Kurdistan, much could be settle peaceable if Kurds were allowed their identity. Forcing a people to abandon their culture, traditions, language, music, and other ideals that make them unique, is cultural genocide. Basic Human rights are what each of us, as individuals require, so why deny the Kurds these same rights?

Why should the Kurds be treated separately from any other ethnic group in the world? Kurds deserve to be recognized, allowed the freedom of identity, and the right to be the unique people that they are. Turkey's Constitution grants the right that all individuals should be allowed their identity so why are they killing Kurds for saying "I am a Kurd!" This is not freedom this is murder, this is genocide!

The physical, linguistic, and cultural genocide committed by Turkey against the Kurds is treated with silence and/or considered controversial.
The status of the Turkish government in denying their actions has created pressure on the United States and other Western Nations governments, universities, and media organizations to treat this holocaust as delusions of the Kurdish people. The Turkish government is in full control of media, and many attempts to let the outside world know what is really happening in Southeastern Turkey [Northern Kurdistan] are met with beatings, destroyed camera equipment, and imprisonment for reporters from all western nations. It is even worse for the Kurds who have tried to document the atrocities occurring, as they usually just disappear, never to be seen again. The denial of the Turks and their government in regards to this horrible time in their recent history suggests that any government that commits crimes against humanity will go unpunished and suffering of the people involved will continue.

Turkish Constitutions Articles and Human Rights:

The Turkish Constitution states that it is the law of the Republic of Turkey. The Constitution is a large document with many articles, polices, and rules. Only the articles, policies, and laws pertaining to Human Rights will be discussed in this paper. In this section of the paper you will see how the Constitution seems to allows for human rights, but examples will show how those same rights are being violated were Kurds are concerned.

To begin, here is a quote from the Preamble of the Turkish Constitution, "they [the people of the Turkish Republic] have the right to demand a peaceful life based on absolute respect for one another's rights and freedoms, mutual love and fellowship, and the desire for, and belief in, 'Peace at home, peace in the world.'" (Constitution of the Republic of Turkey Page 2, Para 1). This sentence signifies that every citizen in Turkey has the right to live a peaceful and just life. If this is the case, then why has the Turkish government forcibly removed Kurds from the homes they have lived in for centuries? Do you think that having your house, business, and/or village destroyed and burned to the ground, allows for a peaceful life? Turkey's own human rights minister admitted that the military has been destroying Kurdish villages for years. He stated, "Some two million Kurds have been displaced, a dozen towns depopulated and five to six million Kurds forced into western Turkey by state terror and economic collapse." (A Test for Turkey, Page 1, Para 3). Yet when questioned by the United Nations, Turkey's government denies they are burning villages or forcibly removing minorities from their ancestral lands.

Article 10, Section 10 of the Turkish Constitution states, "All individuals are equal without and discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations." (Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, Page 3, Para. 3). This statement is a true democratic statement shared by all the democratic nations of the world. However, while this article gives equal rights to all citizens, it is not enforced where Kurds are concerned. The language of the Kurds is forcibly denied to the Kurdish people. The beginning of the Constitution says that Turkish is the national language, but Turkey has several languages that are unique to the individual groups that live within Turkey's boarders. What threat is it to the nation as a whole to allow these native languages to be used, taught, and spoken? How come military personal are allowed to shoot you in the street for speaking Kurdish or whistling a Kurdish tune. Outlawing a language because it belongs to a minority group is ludicrous. Forcing Kurds to give up their mother tongue is cultural genocide and Turkey's government has been doing this for over 80 years. Kurds are till not allowed to speak Kurdish in their own homes.

In addition, the Turkish Constitution says everyone born in Turkey is Turkish, not a Turkish citizen, but Turkish. Well if both your parents are Kurdish and you are born in Turkey that makes you a Turkish citizen of Kurdish heritage, not a Turk. For the Turkish government there is no such thing and they prove this by making elementary children stand up and recite that they are Turks everyday. Kurds are not allowed to call themselves Kurds. Kurds are not allowed to recognize their identity without fear of dreadful repercussions. Why is it against the law, punishable by torture and death, to call oneself a Kurd? Does this sound like equality? Kurds are distinct race, with culture and traditions, which have a right to be recognized, respected, and treated without discrimination. While Turkey's constitution says all people are born equal, clearly, equal only applies to those who are willing to forget who they are and become Turks.

Secondly, no one is allowed to speak out or mention the atrocities that are occurring everyday to the Kurds. While the Turkish Constitution guarantees the right to speak freely, that only applies as long as you talk about what the government wants you to speak about. To speak out against the government or the military actions taken against Kurds is tantamount to suicide and murder for your family. Leyla Zana, a member of the Turkish Parliament and a Kurd, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for "bearing witness to the Kurdish people's immense tragedy in Turkey." (A Test for Turkey, Page 1, Para 1). Nor is Leyla Zana the only one, even today many journalists, newspaper printers/writers, radio stations producers, and academics are being arrested, imprisoned, or disappearing because they have talked about the Kurdish Problem, even citizens of other countries. Turkey's government refuses to admit there is a problem, one created by their own hatreds, so instead of trying to compromise and peacefully fix these issues, the government allows the Turkish military and state police to commit genocide. This is Turkey's idea of democracy; make a constitution then let the military interpret the way they want, even if it means killings thousands of innocent Kurds.

Freedom of Religion and conscience is defined in Section IV, Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution as: "Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religious beliefs and conviction. Acts of worship, religious services, and ceremonies may be conducted freely -No one may be compelled to worship, or be blamed or accused because of his religious beliefs and convictions. Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under State supervision and control." (Turkish Constitution, Page 5, Para. 4). This article shows, without a doubt, how double standard the government is when it comes to human rights. In one sentence it defines freedom of religion, and in another sentence it states the government has control over what you can believe. In Turkey, the religion is Islamic; the state runs strict educational programs that only cover the Islamic religion. The government therefore does not allow for the freedom of religion for those who follow the Yezidi religion, Christian religion, or any other religion. Those citizens who chose to follow a different religion will soon find themselves criminals of the Republic or Turkey and branded a terrorist.

Article 28, Section 10 of the Turkish Constitution allows for the Freedom of Press and Publication. It states, "The Press is free, and may not be censored. The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the freedom of the Press and freedom of information." (Turkish Constitution, Page 6, Para 4&5). Well, this sounds like a great Constitutional amendment, it has never been allowed when the newspapers or magazines are written in Kurdish. It is against the military law to publish any newspapers, magazines, radio programs, or other such informative materials in any language other than Turkish. All types of Press that have opened up and tried to publish in Kurdish have been forcibly put out of business, and the owners/writers imprisoned or killed. What kind of Freedom of Press is this? This is state censorship, and attempt by the government with military backing to ruin a minorities chance to read and be educated in their own language. Again, this stresses how Turkey is committing cultural genocide towards the Kurds while hiding behind a Constitution that is not worth the paper it is written on. Another thing to remember is that even the Turkish newspapers can only print what the government wishes it to print; all articles must coincide with what the government wants the public to know.

United Nations

Before there was a United Nations, there was the League of Nations. The League of Nations was founded during World War I under the Treaty of Versailles. Its mission was "to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security" (History of the United Nations, Par 4).

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States President came up with the name United Nations during World War II. This name was officially used in 1942 when the Declaration by the United Nations was convened by 26 nations committed to continue fighting the hostile Axis Powers of the Second World War. The United Nations was not officially organized until 1945 when 50 countries met in San Francisco to work out the details on how this organization would function. The charter of the United Nations was signed on June 26, 1945 and the United Nations was officially open for business on October 24 1945. According to the United Nations website, the following words are the reason for it's [the United Nation] existence.

"The only true basis of enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social security. It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end." (History of the UN Charter, Par 4).

The United Nations was the first organization to introduce human rights laws for all membership countries to follow. It is believed that the United Nations greatest achievement was the creation of Human Rights Laws and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter. This Charter defines human rights and what is included within those rights. The United Nations expects all its members to commit to this charter and not violate its decrees; the charter is "one to which all nations can subscribe and to which all people can aspire." (United Nations, Human Rights, Par 1). The United Nations has defined a wide range of rights that include, but are not limited to, economic, social, cultural, political, and civil rights.

According to the UN the most important individual fundamental rights are as follows:

1) Dignity
2) Freedoms
3) Equality
4) Solidarity
5) Citizens' Rights
6) Justice

Guidelines have been drawn to help all the membership nations to protect and assist their governments in being responsible towards its citizen's human rights.

Human Rights law receives its foundation from the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These laws are important internationally, as they are used to determine if a country is in violation of human rights. Individuals and nations can be tried and punished according to the human rights laws enacted by the United Nations.
Over the years the United Nations has made amendments and adjustments to the Charter and Universal Declaration to allow more+

Specific standards for women, children, disabled persons, minorities, migrant workers and other vulnerable groups, who now possess rights that protect them from discriminatory practices that had long been common in many societies. Rights have been extended through groundbreaking General Assembly decisions that have gradually established their universality, indivisibility and interrelatedness with development and democracy (United Nations, Human Rights, Par 3).

The United Nations has spent many man-hours and dollars on educational campaigns to make sure that every citizen or every country knows what their inalienable rights are. Also, the educational campaigns are designed to inform the general populations that a national judicial and penal system is available for grievances to be discussed. This branch of the United Nations has gained considered power among member and non-member countries as a champion of human rights issues. In addition, "the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights works to strengthen and coordinate United Nations work for the protection and promotion of all human rights of all persons around the world" (United Nations, Human Rights, Par 5). According to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the ideals surrounding peace and security, humanitarian assistance, and social affairs is the most important duty of the Organization's work.
(United Nations, Human Rights, Par 5).

These fundamental rights can be found and describe in detail on the United Nations website. Every individual should know what these rights are, there definitions, and every country should apply them to their populations. Basic Human Rights are guaranteed by the United Nations.
Furthermore, any country that is a member of this great organization must also guarantee its citizens these fundamental rights. As a member of the United Nations, Turkey must demonstrate adherence to the laws provided by this multi-national group. However, Turkey still engages in cultural and physical genocide towards its minorities while the United Nations basically turns its head in the other direction.

How can a country, like Turkey, who has proven it-self to be unreliable in allowing its minority citizens to have basic Human Rights, be allowed into the United Nations? Since Turkey is a member of the United Nations why does its Constitution allow for violations of Basic Human Rights?

According to the United Nations own Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Turkey is not a country of democracy, but a military dictatorship that abuses its own citizens. Yet, the United Nations still allow the atrocities of human rights abuses to continue, without any kind of repercussions to Turkey. While the rest of the western world continues to look away from Turkey's excesses of military use against its own citizens, the horrors continue. Will we, the democratic nations, silently look the other way, while innocent people are abused, murdered, and annihilated?

Will Turkey be allowed to continue its ideals of democracy, using its constitution as a weapon, and legal document to commit genocide to the Kurds? How can we live with ourselves, as a nation, as individuals, if we do not fight against this type of false democracy that Turkey is projecting to the world with its Constitution and violations of Basic Human Rights?

Democratic nations cannot condemn Hitler and his Nazis, Saddam Hussein and his regime and give other governments like Turkey the right to continue committing genocide towards its minorities. We can't undo the past or raise the dead, but we can remember and learn from history, and stop the abuses that are occurring today. It is our [The United States] responsibility to show true democratic leadership and recognize genocide for what it is the annihilation of a people: their identity, cultures, language; and talk about it truthfully. In addition, we must hold each nation equally accountable for their sins and crimes against Human Rights.

Turkey's constitution on paper sounds democratic, but its government and military follow a different set of rules and laws, bending the Constitution to support its atrocities towards the Kurds. When minorities, like the Kurds, are not allowed Basic Human Rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution, how can Turkey be considered a democratic country, which is a member of the United Nations. The physical, cultural, and linguistic genocide of the Kurds in Turkey must be stopped!

By Dr Fereydun Hilmi:

Turkey's strategic blunder

At the end of the First World War, Kamal Attaturk was able to save the rump of the Ottoman Empire from British and French occupation. His springboard point was Anatolia where he was able to persuade the Kurds in north Kurdistan to join forces with him and reject British intrigues among them aimed at chipping away further land from what had remained of the great sick empire.

The British duped the Kurds by first encouraging them to seek independence and supporting the idea and pouring much money into Slêmanî and the Kurdish parts of Iraq. For nearly 4 years they carried on establishing a Kurdish administration andarmy and trained them to protect their areas simply because they were unable to send an army to do so as a result of their economic troubles and losses in the occupation of southern and middle Iraq. Kurdistan's mountains reminded them of their disadters in Afghanistan and India; in Particular the difficulties of fighting locals in places like the Khyber Pass.

Therefore they wanted to achieve the same result and prevent the Turks form reclaiming land which had belonged to the Ottoman Empire administratively but not subjugated by Turkish army forces. Most of Kurdistan was ruled by Kurdish proxies with local armed men until the British arrived in Kifri. Once the local chief Sheikh Mahmud heard of this he invited the British to come to Slêmanî in what he considered was a card to play against the Ottomans so that he might have bargained with it.

The British who were aware of this insisted that he should work for his upkeep and support but his natural instinct was anti-British and pro-Turkish. Yet Attaturk ignored his approaches and tried instead to use him in his struggle to save as much of what he considered to be his national homeland as possible. Sheikh Mahmud and the rest of the Mosul Wilayet ended up as a juicy bite for the British colonial stomach.

The British who were really only interested in the oil-rich areas of the Mosul Wilayet easily sacrificed the Kurds of Anatolia and signed agreements with Turkey exchanging the Mosul Wilayet which they had sneakily occupied during the armistice just after the war had stopped. And with that Turkey was cocooned into a hard nationalistic shell which it was to remain in for nearly a hundred years.

Britain was a tired and economically warn out power who had suffered along with its French ally greatly at the hands of the Germans. It was probably as weak and tired as the Turks if not more. Yet, today Turkey is a third world country while Britain is a super power with a thriving economy and English is the standard language throughout the world. Britain and now the United States have fingers in every pie all around the world while Turkey remained isolated and lacking all forms of influence in even the closest nations right on its borders. People five thousand miles away from Britain speak English as a second language who once spoke Turkish instead.

The Ottoman Empire lasted some six centuries reaching the height of civilization and scientific progress and many nations such as Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Albanians and others from the Middle and Far East, Asia and African nations served to advance its culture and power throughout a huge chunk of the world and enrich the central power house at Istanbul. The Turkish people were truly a minority who started as fighting tribes, adopted Islam and Middle Eastern Culture as a result of which Anatolia became the home of a huge thriving empire.

All that disappeared because of Attaturk's Xenophobic attitude towards all the nations that had helped his race reach the positions they had. Proof of this lies in the fact that once the Kurds, Armenians, Greeks and Arabs were alienated Turkey became and remained a poor mediocre and backward state unable to sustain itself without iys subservient position within NATO.

Yet, Turkey had a great opportunity throughout the twentieth century to occupy a better position among these nations than does Britain and the west. We must remember that the nations surrounding Turkey practice the same religion, are of a mixture of local races, share the geography as well as six centuries of togetherness as parts of the Ottoman Empire. But despite the fact that they shared none of those characteristics with Britain and the latter's great physical distance, it was the west who captured the hearts and minds of the Middle East nations, not by having their interests at heart but via many sly and devious methods including tying them up with economic contracts the greatest benefits of which return to the west.

Western culture has also begun to despise eastern and oriental cultures to such an extent that they are now treating Islam (the main culture of some 1.5 billion people) as their grand enemy. This is not just a feeling or a suspicion but a fact which nobody can deny today. Unfortunately all that Turkey is offering is more subservience to the will of its sponsors and denial of its geopolitical position and more and more copycat culture from the west.

There are those who have been brainwashed into thinking that civilization and technical progress can only come from the west. If the Americans or the western nations do not invent it then it is not possible. Some would even link Japanese and Chinese technology to what they must have copied from the west easily and conveniently forgetting that China and the Middle East were the main source of all scientific, logical and technological advancement in the world.

Science and Technology do not have a nationality or a race while oil, gas and other natural resources do. Turkey gave up its position as the most modern capital of eastern culture and became a follower of the west rather than the leader of the east. It has been struggling to enter the European and Christian world believing that it is now destined to exist on the periphery not realizing that it would have to be and remain a fringe nation deprived of major progress.

In the beginning of the twentieth century my father, uncle and many other Kurds and Iraqis were educated in Istanbul. I know that their education was superb and my father also a scientist had a magnificent command of mathematics and physics. In true ancient Greek style, they were taught not just science but philosophy, history the arts and everything worth learning. I was educated in the UK and although the British education system is superior to many I had to learn all those other subjects by my self.

Attaturk's Turkey became isolated from its natural and geopolitical environment while all around it the British and French were forming alliances with what should have been Turkey's historic allies until all that was left was a small part of Cyprus only because they were Turks. This deprived Turkey of mutual exchange of wealth, knowledge, know-how and all other forms of economic ties with the erstwhile members of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey's policies towards the Kurds were Britain's best protection against the rejuvenation of the nation and the wall which kept it from Iraq, Syria and the previously united nations of the Ottoman Empire. Instead of behaving like a sour grape and sulking with hatred Turkey should have done the exact opposite by revising its old policies and trying to mend fences - it should have been doing all it could to keep the borders soft and temporary. It should have extended its hands to all its Muslim and Middle-Eastern brothers to form a new alliance (a commonwealth of ex-Ottoman nations) - not alienate them and isolate itself.

Kurdistan should have been a great ally and a strategic depth for Turkey and not a sore wound in its side. Yet the Kurd's struggle has not stopped for one day simply to gain equality as citizens of the country. For some reason it seems the Turkish mind does not work as efficiently on its own and needs the inspiration of the other nations around them. I believe that the Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Armenians and optionally Greeks can reclaim the ground by making a complete change of policy starting from Turkey.

Below I will state a suggestion which I hope the Turkish leadership will read.

1. Turkey should pass a law completely banning racism in the country
2. Offer the Kurds all rights in the Turkish state and concentrate on the region which is wealthy as well as lacking of investment and development.
3. Keep foreign investments in Turkey and in Kurdistan to the minimum
4. Be humane enough to admit mistakes of the Ottomans towards the Armenians and stop discrimination and persecution against all the citizens of Turkey
5. Offer a friendly apology for maltreating the Ottoman nations and promise a new era of brotherhood and equality. It would be a great gesture of good will if the name of the nation was changed to a more representative name covering its multinational nature.
6. Establish the best possible ties with its neighbours, Iran, a yet-to-be-liberated Iraq and in particular the Kurdish part.
7. Abandon the application to become an unloved and unwanted little step-brother if Europe. Thus firmly, proudly and unapologetically placing its foot in Asia
8. Establish the best possible ties with the Arabs
9. Abandon NATO because its ties with that imperial organisation preclude it from re-establishing itself as a major Asiatic power.
10. Seek economic contracts with all former members of the Ottoman Empire
11. Establish universities for the education of African, Asian, Arab and other citizens of the world who do not have the opportunity to get western or even local education.
12. Form close ties with Iran which is surviving very well without any NATOI and EU links.
13. Form the best possible links with the rich and progressive South American Nations.
14. Completely wrench itself away from supporting the aggressive and war-like actions of Israel and the Americans
15. Reposition the political attitude of the country towards the greater good of the nations of the region and in this way offer Turkey's own vision of the Middle East.

It is by far better for Turkey and the Middle East to be masters of their own decisions than lackeys and sycophantic extras on the backside of someone else.

The present Government of Turkey seems to have a mindset close to the above analysis but seems too timid in going all the way. I have written about Turkish society today in the past on, in particular about the lack of scientific and technological advancement evident from the lack of world-renounced inventions, scientific breakthroughs, music or cultural products. However I am now offering the above ideas which I believe will return Turkey and the surrounding nations to their rightful and influential old glory.

All the relevant and necessary requirements and active factors are available. All we need are the will of a great statesman and the courage of the nations to follow and endure the painful but sure and rewarding path.


Turkish-Iranian-Syrian relations: Limits of regional politics in the Middle East

The geography of the Middle East is subject to direct international interference through the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and through political attempts to transform the region socially, politically, and economically. Calls for reform and renovation have reached a heightened level, and Western states are pushing for the development of good governance, democracy, and human rights in Middle Eastern societies.

Turkey, Syria and Iran are influential actors in Middle Eastern politics. The relations and the cooperation between these states occur at a time when Syria and Iran have been accused by the Bush administration of being antagonists to a peaceful and democratic international system. The ongoing relations between these states, and how these states interact with the international community, is revealing since they are important components of the regional power balance.

Regional Interactions

The U.S. administration adopted a high profile policy against Syria and Iran and poses a threat to these countries. Washington accuses the two states of supporting terrorism in the region, pursuing clandestine activities in Iraq and building weapons of mass destruction. Among these two, the Bush administration primarily points out Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration argues that Iran is very close to acquiring nuclear weapons considering the progress of its nuclear-enrichment facilities. The administration is pursuing a number of measures to slow Iran's development of nuclear material, from tightening the economic sanctions policy on the country to attacking its nuclear facilities.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has pursued a more pragmatic line in relations with the West, particularly after the 9/11 attacks. His pursuing a constructive policy line helped his relations with the international community but could not rid the suspicions directed at his country. Syria is accused of supporting international terrorism, in addition to the old and continuous allegations of Damascus' support for terrorist and militant activities in Israel. In addition, there are new accusations that terrorist networks -- mainly al-Qaeda -- have connections in Syria and that Syrian Ba'athists support old Ba'athist cadres in Iraq, who are believed to constitute the backbone of the resistance in the country. Although evidence has not been provided for many of these accusations, the Bush administration has used them to heighten its pressure on Syria.

Turkey has long borders with both Iran and Syria and is in the same region. However, it displays a different regional and international profile. Turkey has undergone a reform process in the legal, political and economic realms in an effort to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria of the European Union; it also worked with an I.M.F.-led economic program. Turkey's transformation put an end to the Cold War style of a security state apparatus and changed the framework of its domestic and foreign policy. The practical result has been adopting an active diplomacy to minimize problems with neighboring countries.
The March 2003 motion that forbade U.S. troops from using Turkish territory in the war against Iraq was a historical turning point for Turkey. The Turkish parliament prevented the United States from opening a northern front against Iraq on the given justification that the international community considered the war illegitimate. Turkey's decision prolonged the process of the Iraqi invasion, forced the U.S. to search for greater legitimacy, and drew more attention to the Palestinian question as a reason for much of the region's instability. Whilst Turkey is accustomed to balancing between the chaotic Middle Eastern system and the peace and stability of Europe, it now appears to be moving closer to the E.U. In this respect, Syria and Iran approved of Turkey's E.U. membership process and consider a European Turkey as a chance to develop their relations with the E.U.
Turkish-Syrian-Iranian Relations

For a long time, both Turkey and Syria were locked in a relationship shaped by historical enmity, the prevalence of hostile establishment ideologies, and the attempts of policymakers to "externalize" some major domestic problems. After Syria's expulsion of the leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party in 1997, the relations returned to a good track. Syria also has been the first test case of Turkey's good neighborhood policy. In late December 2004, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a two-day visit to Syria, which brought optimistic prospects for future bilateral relations.

More specifically, close relations between Turkey and Syria seem meaningful from the commercial and security standpoints. During the Turkish delegation's visit to Damascus, both sides signed a free trade agreement with the idea of expanding it to the regional level. Policymakers in both countries share the view that they have legitimate concerns about the future of Iraq and should cooperate in every possible way, as they already have started doing through the meeting of the countries bordering Iraq, to enhance stability.

Turkish-Iranian relations were shaped under the effect of the nature of the changing regime in Iran, conflicting interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus, relations with the United States and Israel, and the anxiety about the future of Iraq in general and northern Iraq in particular. Investments of Turkish companies in Iran and agreements concerning the purchase of natural gas have added a new dimension to the relations in recent years. Domestic politics in both countries has come to play an important role towards each other. Turkey follows a similar accommodating policy line as the E.U. when it comes to Iran.

Ankara is anxious over the context of international relations emerging in the triangle of the U.S., Israel and nuclear weapons. Turkey had a sense of security based on its superiority of conventional weapons and promotes the idea of an active international diplomacy to bring Iran to internationally acceptable terms in this regard. Ankara's one major concern is that both countries strive for the territorial integrity of Iraq and for the establishment of a stable neighbor state.

Syrian-Iranian relations follow a different path. Damascus keeps its troops in Lebanon and supports, along with Iran, militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. After the U.S. administration's recall of its ambassador in Damascus and the heightening of tension between the U.S. and Iran, these two countries declared that they will act together and form a common front against perceived external threats.

Is an Enduring Cooperation Possible?

Although most of the structural and historical problems for improving relations between these three countries have been part of history, there are a number of impediments that are likely to prevent this relationship from emerging as long-term cooperation. The major impediment is Washington's hard-line policy against Syria and Iran. It has been a catchword in the influential circles of the U.S. administration that these two countries are serious problems for American interests in the greater Middle East.

Although the U.S. administration is mostly alone in its allegations of organized Syrian meddling in Iraq, it has the E.U. on board, especially France, in its opposition to Syrian interference in Lebanon. The U.S.-Iran tensions are more serious and likely to yield more destructive results in a shorter period of time. The U.S. attitude differs from the general approach of the international community, but if Iranian uranium enrichment activities continue, this situation may change against Iran.

The recent period also witnessed oscillating relations between Turkey and the U.S. due to the conflict in Iraq. Turkey's parliamentary motion that disallowed U.S. soldiers to enter Iraq through Turkish territory was a surprising development for U.S. policymakers. Although relations have improved in due course, there is an implicit mistrust on both sides.

Ankara is not satisfied with the U.S. administration's declaration that they are in favor of Iraq's territorial integrity and do not support the idea of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. The U.S. administration is not happy with the rising anti-Americanism in Turkish society and anti-American discourse in the media and academic circles. There have been problematic periods between Turkey and the U.S. in the past, but the Turkish administration did not permit the escalation of the tension to a level that would undermine relations. Considering the current state of relations, Turkey gained more room to maneuver vis-à-vis U.S. policies in the Middle East. However, Turkey's domestic political balances, regional preferences and international orientations set a limit for its alienation from the U.S. Turkey's main strength in the region derives from its close relations with both the U.S. and E.U.

Turkey's new policy line aims to promote a regional peacemaker role and gives priority to democratic legitimacy in international relations. If Syria and Iran do not act according to the demands of the international community, then it may be difficult for Turkey to pursue relations at the current level. Turkey's new neighborhood policy has a vision of minimizing the problems in its neighboring regions, but to avoid being pulled into international confrontations. Otherwise, Turkey will contradict with its projected aims and targets in the region.


The escalation of tension between the U.S. and Syria and Iran will dominate the fate of the region in the near future. The regional countries face the reality that regional politics is no longer independent from the realities of world politics of the 9/11 era. The relations between Turkey, Syria and Iran are exemplary in this sense. An enduring cooperation among countries needs to be built on a delicate balance between shared interests of the parties and the perceptions of international society, especially those in the top echelons of the power hierarchy in international relations.

The second half of this decade will be difficult for both the allies and the enemies of the U.S. in the Middle East. On the enemy side, the U.S. administration poses serious threats to Iran and Syria. On the ally side, as Turkey recognized in the recent period, they may come to face with making a choice between their regional interests and U.S. regional designs. U.S. pressure on its allies and enemies is likely to yield changes on the domestic and foreign policies of these countries and to change the patterns of cooperation and conflict in the region.

Report Drafted By: Dr. Bulent Aras

Published under partnership agreement with The Power and Interest News Report (PINR). Normal copyrights applied. Visit the PINR website at:

The Power and Interest News Report

AtaTurk, USA:

Please read more about Kurdish Terrorism and how it is funded:

The Kurdish Terrorism-and-Drugs Connection

Again and again, theday's headlines bear out the psalmist's observation that "there is nothing new under the sun." Reports from the Middle East have for some time revealed that Kurdish Marxist separatists in Turkey have taken a leaf out of the book of their ideological brethen around the world. Like the Sendero Luminoso in Peru and the Dev-Sol in Turkey, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) is embracing the lucrative narcotics traffic to finance its terrorist activities.

Back in late 2002, Turkish Interior Minister Nahit Mentese reported that security forces had scored major successes against Kurdish rebel drug-smuggling operations. Over the year, he said, police had seized 1,054 kilograms of heroin, 2,884 kg of morphine base, and 23,679 kg of hashish from PKK traffickers.

"This terrorist organization," he said, "gets financial revenues from smuggling drugs abroad, as it does in Turkey."

More than 15,000 people have been killed in Turkey since the PKK began its armed struggle for an independent Kurdish state in 1984.

Sources in Ankara said that since the 1980s the clandestine terrorist organization has spread around the world and has seized a growing part of the European drug traffic. The PKK appears to be involved in drug processing, protection in transit, and end sales to consumers. Some Turkish sources say that as much as 40 percent of the Middle East drug traffic is handled by the PKK.

These sources estimate that the PKK's annual profit from the drug traffic is between $300 million and $400 million. They say that this money, intended eventually for the purchase of arms, is deposited in the Swiss bank accounts of Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK's chief.

Drug enforcement authorities say that the PKK has two principal sources of narcotics. The first is the labratories established by the PKK in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, which is controlled by Syria. The opium processed in the Bekaa Valley is shipped to Europe through three major transportation routes. Narcotics either travel through Greek Cyprus to Italy and on to Spain and Germany or enter Turkey from the southeast and are transported to Istanbul, the experts say. From there, Kurdish, Turkish and Iranian activists smuggle the drugs through Bulgaria to Greece and Italy, or to Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. A third route is believed to have been opened in the north of the former Yugoslavia since fighting began in that country.

All routes, except for those through Cyprus or from southern Turkey to Italy, the experts say, pass through Istanbul, where there is a well-organized and powerful network of smugglers working closely with the Iranian mafia and intelligence service and with the Turkish Dev-Sol (Revolutionar Left).

The second major supply of PKK narcotics passes through Iran. Narcotics originating in Afghanistan are processed in the no-man's-land near the Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish borders, with the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. From there the drugs are transported west through southeastern Turkish cities where the PKK has strong backing and safe houses. Turkish trucks with hidden compartments are loaded with narcotics and driven to Istanbul, from where they make their way to Europe.

The bulk of the drug supplies is destined for Western Europe, with an increase in the volume ending up in Great Britain. Turkish sources say that the PKK has increased its share of the European drug market to the point where it competes with established older Western European networks.

Reportedly, the PKK gets important assistance from the Syrian government. Istanbul sources say the operation is headed by Riffat al-Assad, a brother of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Many Kurds living in Syria reportedly joined the PKK after it opened offices in the Kurdish region of that country.

The Turkist media have carried voluminous reports on the drug operations of PKK militants. Among the more spectactular cases was the arrest in Milan of four Kurds on a TIR truck carrying 100 kg of hidden heroin in 1989. The driver, Nazim Kelo, told Italian investigators that the heroin had come from the PKK, for whom he had worked for years.

In another incident, Vahiddin Karakeci, who joined the PKK in 1987 and who trained until 1989 abroad, was arrested in in 1991 in Cologne with 2.5 kg of heroin. Karakeci was involved in the bombing of the bus terminal in Diyarbekir in eastern Turkey in August 1990, in which two people were injured.

Along with the PKK's terrorism and drug trafficking, it has also come under attack in Europe for extortion and murder. In Novemeber 1994, Swiss authorities arrested several members of the PKK and charged them with extortion, intimidation and causing bodily harm. At least two murders have been associated to the PKK. Twenty Kurds, thought to have been members of the PKK, were deported from Switzerland during 1994 for their suspected illegal political activities.

Nilou, London:

Is there a Persian edition of this article? I think Iranian officials need to read this more than the American ones. It's just such a shame that they still feel too insecure about their own positions to think about the long-term interests of the country. Iran needs to have relations with the US much more than with Venezuela, Zimbabwe and North Korea. And the US needs to have better relations with Iran than run of the mill regional dictatorships such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

Mark, Seattle:

Maziar Bahari was in Ted Koppel Iran film last week. He doesn't look like an agent and was quite outspoken in his criticism of the Iranian government. His films look very interesting. Where can we see them?


Mr. or Mrs. Iran, I found the Britney Spears joke quite funny actually. And I'm sure many Iranian men wouldn't mind marrying her with or without conversion. Also where do you get this "known" Iranian agents from. Known to whom? To you? If so you must have inside information about agents that most people don't have....


What is it with Washington Post and giving blog columns to known IRI agents like Hossein Derakhshan and Maziar Bahari??

I also find it very offensive when Maziar Bahari tries to degrade Iranian population by saying they wish Britney Spears would convert to Islam and marry them.

I thought in US you went out of your way to be Politically Correct, or does that not apply with Iranians?

Bahari, points out 4 thing US must do in negotiations with Iran. It is interesting he never mentions what Iran must do or what US must demand from Iran.

IRI agents have fooled you all, posing as intellectuals!

Dr. Amir Matin:

For the sake of argument, can one of the advocates of "US/Iran talk" clarify what US should ask Iran and what Iran could do for US in Iraq? Also, what should US offer in return for Iran help in Iraq?

Javad, Seattle:

Attention Avi from Tel Aviv, I googled Maziar Bahari and he has made a film called The Voyage of the Saint Louis. Guess Avi what is it about: Plight of Jewish refugees just before the Holocaust. I hope next time before you open your mouth or put your fingers on the keyboard you bear in mind that there are Muslims who care about others. Shalom!

Tony, Tokyo:

Can the editors of this blog put all this Kurdish comments on a different page? There's no point in having them here. Mr. Bahari doesn't even talk about ethnic tensions so why do they put their comments here? You may love Persian cuisine or want to discuss Persian soccer team, should you express your interests here?

Avi, Tel Aviv:

Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Persians

What is the difference? Sunni-Shiite.

If you are Muslim it means; You are all terrorists.



Eric Jette , SantaFe , USA:

"If the rumors are true that the U.S. will offer Iran a grand deal in exchange for help securing Iraq, then it provides Tehran with a golden opportunity to start making demands that would secure its long term interests as well as the Islamic regime's survival.

But these demands should not include Iran's nuclear program. There are so many outstanding issues between the two countries that nuclear negotiations can happen in later phases of the talks. For now, the onus is on the Americans to provide incentives for Iran to talk. The U.S. government must "eat the crow" and talk to people they call the "Mullahs in Iran." There's no one else to talk to there."
- Maziar Bahari

November 26, 2006 12:31 AM Comment:

"Fact is, there's no shortage of communication.

The soverign Iraqi gov. is fully capable of determining its relations with its neigbors, and does not need the US to broker some "Grand bargain" with Iran on their behalf.
Nor should we, as a nation, expect anything less from Iran than full acceptance of , and adhearance to:

International norms of behavior, UN resolutions, and IAEA protocols.

Nor should we, as a nation, realisticly expect the leadership of Iran to change their behavior and policy of destabilization in the region, its sponsorship of terrorism, their abysmal human rights practices nor their WMD ambitions and programs, simply as a result of diplomatic chit-chat with the US, as has been suggested by many desperate pundits without a clue as to a solution."

November 27, 2006

Press Gaggle by Tony Snow and National Security Advisor Steve Hadley

(Excerpt from briefing)

Q Is President Bush going to bring up the idea of embracing talks with Iran and Syria, with Maliki?

MR. HADLEY: I think you're going to find that Prime Minister Maliki is going to bring that up with the President. He has some strong views on that subject. As you know, the Iraqis have been talking to the Syrians, the Iraqis have been talking to the Iranians. Their view is that the future of Iraq, if it is a subject of conversation with Syrian and Iran, ought to be a conversation by Iraqis, not by others on the outside.

So this is a discussion that Iraqis have taken the lead on with both Iran and Syria, and want to take the lead on. And so I think it's a subject, actually, that Prime Minister Maliki is likely to bring up with the President.

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

I'd venture to guess that the premis of Maziar Bahari's article is self-evidently false at this point.


Albert Mott, Germantown:

This is amazing; every ethnic group from that part of the world calls other ethnic groups terrorist.

No wonder, these people have been killing each other for so many centuries. If the so called educated people from that area are at each other's throat, then what should we expect form the average person?

This is really pitiful. Sorry.

AtaTurk, USA:

American Tax Payers;

Please stop spending money on Kurdish Terroists.

Read the following:

Abuses Committed During the Fall of Kirkuk;

The city of Kirkuk fell to Kurdish forces on April 10. For almost a week Kirkuk was in the control of PUK forces, which entered the city in defiance of a prior agreement with U.S. forces that Peshmerga forces would remain outside the city.

During the same period, Arab residents in some neighborhoods of Kirkuk reported pressure from Kurdish armed gangs to leave their homes, although it was difficult to determine whether the armed gangs responsible for acts of intimidation were official Peshmerga forces belonging to the KDP or PUK, or armed elements outside the formal control of the political parties. In some Arab neighborhoods, anti-Arab slogans appeared on Arab homes, calling on Arab residents to leave immediately. Dalil al-Fahd, a Shi`a Arab who had lived in Kirkuk since 1960 and moved to the newly built al-Nasr II neighborhood in 1992, blamed the PUK for what happened in his neighborhood:

Frankly, their behavior was very bad. We were against the regime of Saddam Hussein, but no one acted towards us like this. This was done exclusively by the people of Jalal Talabani, the PUK. They started to abuse many people in the neighborhood. They came to our houses and wrote "Kurdistan" or "The family must leave this house within twenty-four hours or will be kicked out." Between each fifteen or twenty houses, they would occupy a house and put up a green (PUK) or yellow (KDP) flag. ... No one was killed in our area, but four people were killed in al-Hurriyya neighborhood. Some tried to prevent the Kurds from entering their homes, trying to defend [the honor of] their women, and they were killed. The Kurds looted all the houses in the neighborhood, there was nothing left.120

Human Rights Watch researchers who were present in northern Iraq at the time of the fall of Kirkuk found looting and expulsions taking place in rural villages built for Arab settlers just south of Kirkuk. In early April 2003, about 2,000 members of the al-Shummar tribe had been evicted by force from the villages of al-Muntasir, Khalid, al-Wahda, Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and Sa'ad, where they had been resettled in 1973 on agricultural land seized from Kurds. The Arab families told Human Rights Watch that they had been forced to abandon their homes at gunpoint by armed Kurds, and ordered to leave possessions such as cars, tractors, and household goods behind. "They would have killed us if we hadn't left," one elderly Arab woman explained. When Human Rights Watch visited the area again later that month, it found the village of al-Muntasir abandoned and ransacked, and some of the homes had been spray-painted with the names of Kurds to whom the Kurdish authorities had apparently given permission to return. A PUK official in the nearby town of Daquq explained that his party had adopted the policy that all persons resettled by the government in the north should return to their original homes.121 Senior PUK leaders denied that they were implementing a forced expulsions policy and said they would take measures to prevent further abuses.122

Serious abuses of this type committed by Kurdish forces and armed Kurdish civilians diminished significantly as U.S. forces consolidated control over Kirkuk and began acting against Kurdish abuses. It is also likely that the Kurdish leadership itself acted against the abuses, fearing an international outcry.123 When Human Rights Watch revisited Arab neighborhoods in Kirkuk in mid-June 2003, the Arab residents claimed that the situation had stabilized and that they were no longer receiving threats to abandon their homes. Many were, however, considering selling their homes, as explained by one resident: "Now, the situation is good but we are cautious. So many families are selling their homes and moving to their original areas. For the past months, our situation has been very unstable--there is no transitional government formed, there is no law, and we don't know what will happen to us.

Turkoglu, USA:

To all Kurdish terrorists;

From what I have read it seems that the Persians sympathize with you; someone called you kin and someone else was talking about sharing blood or some other nonsense.

Well, you are not our kin. Please stop your murdering ways. It is only then that you will be accepted in the civilized world.

Ataturk, USA:

Dear American Folks,

What you see here on this forum is THE EXAMPLE OF KURDISH BEHAVIOR.

Kurdish total lack of respect for other people's right is infamous. Yes, they play the victim game real well.

Please pay attention to what they are doing on this forum. They totally disregard other people's rights as readers and posters. It is all about them.

Well, I have news for the Kurdish terrorists. They are a very minor piece in this GREAT GAME. It does not matter whether they are getting a PHD or not (if have a have a six grade education I would be happy), they are still terrorists and murderers of woman and children.

Josh Kaufman, Rockville MD:

Mr. Ezzatyar

How is your article attacking Turkey related to the topic here?

One would think that a person with your erudition would recognize that one has to stick to the topic at hand.

Is this the famous "oriental mind" at work?

No insult intended, but it seems that is how the oriental mind works regardless of the education; in circles.

It would be nice if the Kurdish folks could setup specific web sites for their ideas.

Giles Vicker:

Syrian Relations with the Iraqi Baath Party: (the twin-regimes of terrorism.

Syrian Relations with the Iraqi Baath Party: Using the same fascist means in an extreme competition to rule over the Arab countries while claming the highest level of hater to the US and the West. Starting mid 90's, the Syrian regime started smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of the United Nations' resolutions. This enabled Saddam Husein's regime to survive longer and helped selling its oil for weapons that were used later against the US and the allied troops.

Saddam of Iraq vs Asad of Syria
The Twin-regimes of Terrorism

Saddam Housain, Ex-dictator of Iraq
Officer Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979 leading the Baath Arab Party of Iraq.

Asad Family, Dictators of Syria
Officer Hafez Assad seized power in 1970 leading the Baath Arab Party of Syria.

Baath Totalitarian Regime in Iraq:
The Baath party gradually took over political and economical life in Iraq and became the only legal party in the country. Iraq is a republic by constitution, but the Socialist totalitarian regime was governing the nation.

Baath Totalitarian Regime in Syria:
The Baath party gradually took over political and economical life in Syria and became the only legal party in the country. Syria is a republic by constitution, but the Socialist totalitarian regime is governing the nation

Baath Rule of Iraq:

The opposition figures were persecuted, arrested, executed and even assassinated abroad. Iraq became a police-state ruled by fear and brutality.

The dictator of Iraq was running fake elections were he was 're-elected' as president with 99.99% of the votes for consecutive terms until he was overthrown in April 2003.

Baath Rule of Syria:

The opposition figures were persecuted, arrested, executed and even assassinated abroad. Syria became a police-state ruled by fear and brutality.

The dictator of Syria was running fake elections were he was 're-elected' as president with 99.99% of the votes for consecutive terms until he died in 2000. His son Bashar inherited his father's position and policy in 2000 and started his own 99%-vote elections.

Iraqi Crimes against people of Iraq:
In addition to regular persecution, mass military operations were carried against Iraqis who oppose regime. In 1987 the baath regime killed thousands of Kurds in Northern Iraq using chemical weapons. In 1992 the regime massacred thousands of opposition Shaiis in Southern Iraq and thousands of Kurds in Northern Iraq destroying whole cities and villages.

Syrian Crimes against people of Syria:
In addition to regular persecution, mass military operations were carried against Syrians who oppose the regime. In 1980 the baath regime killed thousands of Syrians in Tadmor prisons and in the city of Hama. In 1982, the regime massacred more than thirty thousands of Syrians by completely destroying the city of Hama in full aerial and land attacks.

Occupying its small neighboring country of Kuwait:
Iraq is, roughly, 20 times larger than Kuwait

600 Kuwaitis believed to be killed in Iraqi prisons

On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi regime occupied its small neighboring country of Kuwait and appointed a puppet pro-Iraqi government there.

Hundreds of Kuwaitis civilians were killed or captured and spent their lives in Iraqi prisons until they died. The US and the International community lead a military coalition that liberated Kuwait on February 25, 1991.

Occupying its small neighboring country of Lebanon:

Syria is, roughly, 20 times larger than Lebanon

18,000 Lebanese believed to be killed in Syrian prisons

On October 13, 1990, the Syrian regime completely occupied its small neighboring country of Lebanon and appointed a puppet pro-Syrian government there.

Thousands of Lebanese civilians were killed or captured and spent their lives in Syrian prisons until they died. The US and the International community were busy with the Iraqi situation, which left Syria occupying Lebanon until this moment.

Iraqi Links to Terrorist Groups:
Uncertain relations to some terrorist groups, encouraged terrorist activities against the United States and West-European countries since 1990.

Syrian Links to Terrorist Groups:
Syria founded and sponsored several terrorist groups in self-occupied Lebanon and in Syria. Syrian sponsored groups carried several suicide attacks against Americans, West-Europeans and Lebanese since 1980's killing hundreds. The Syrian regime has founded and sponsored terrorists that mastered hostage-taking and hijacking against American and West-European nationals and civil airplanes. Eleven terrorist groups listed in the US State Department use the Syrian capital as a headquarter.

Iraq Crimes against humanity:
Using WMD against Iraqi people
Massacring civilian Iraqis and civilian Kuwaitis in Iraq and occupied Kuwait
Detaining, torturing and killing thousands of prisoners in Iraq and Kuwait

Syria Crimes against humanity:
Using WMD against Syrian and Lebanese prisoners
Massacring civilian Syrians and civilian Lebanese in Syria and occupied Lebanon
Detaining, torturing and killing thousands of prisoners in Syria and Lebanon

Iraqi Relations with the Syrian Baath Party:
Using the same fascist means in an extreme competition to rule over the Arab countries while claming the highest level of hater to the US and the West.

Syrian Relations with the Iraqi Baath Party:

Using the same fascist means in an extreme competition to rule over the Arab countries while claming the highest level of hater to the US and the West.
Starting mid 90's, the Syrian regime started smuggling Iraqi oil in violation of the United Nations' resolutions. This enabled Saddam Husein's regime to survive longer and helped selling its oil for weapons that were used later against the US and the allied troops. During the war of liberating Iraq, the Syrian totalitarian regime feared being the next tyranny to fall and supported Saddam's troops by sending arms and paying mercenaries to fight against the US and the allied troops. The Syrian Foreign Minister announced that it is "Syrian national interest for the Allied troops to be defeated"

Iraq Misleading media

Mohammed al-Sahhaf
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the information minister of Saddam's regime gave a descriptive example of the ways in which totalitarian regimes deceive the international community. His rhetoric speeches during the war claming false victory and claiming the support of Iraqis for Suddam were ridiculed by the actual events. Later, the world saw the real face of Saddam's Regime 'deceiving but nicely- phrased lies.'

Syria Misleading media

Farouk Sharaa

The Syrian totalitarian regime keeps deceiving the world with rhetoric speeches about their kindness and proclaimed popularity. Nowadays, some governments in the free world still listen to the Sahhafs of Asad's regime, such as Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa and the director of the foreign media department Buthina Shabaan. The Syrians are awaiting the fall of their dictatorship to show the world how much it was deceived by some nicely-phrased lies.

Statue of Saddam

After the collapse of Saddam's regime, the Iraqi people celebrated the dictator's overthrown by destroying his numerous statues that were placed in every corner, and were guarded by the secrete service security.

Statue of Assad

Awaiting the collapse of Asad's regime, the Syrians dare not but pay respect to his numerous statues that are placed in every corner, and guarded by the secrete service security. The statues of the Syrian dictator in Syria outnumbers those of Saddam's in Iraq.

Reza Moradi:

Iran uses repression to counter minority grievances

Millions of Arabs, Kurds and Baluchi people do not enjoy cultural recognition, and they must put up with a strong presence of army, police and secret services. The authorities level accusations against the USA, Great Britain and Israel but ignore frustrations and human rights violations at home.

Teheran (AsiaNews) - Repression: this is how Iran is responding to the emergency posed by its vast minorities. Under its religious profile, Shiite Islam is the State religion: getting the permission to build a Sunnite mosque at times can be as difficult as building a church. And the census makes no distinction between Shiite and Sunni Muslims; it is only Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians who are considered to be minorities.

From an ethnic and cultural viewpoint, the Azeri are the largest minority: 20 million out of 70 million residents. They are Shiites and can identify with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Other minorities are Sunni: they do not enjoy any cultural recognition and complain of discrimination: they are Arabs, Kurds and Baluchi people and they live close to the borders with countries in a state of war, where drug trafficking feeds violence and poverty. In these outlying areas, state investments are rare and unemployment is more marked than elsewhere, as are illiteracy and other social ills.

In the east, close to Afghanistan and Pakistan, there is the Sistan-Baluchestan province, where "Jundallah", an extremist Sunni group, regularly carries out terrorist actions and goes so far as to threaten Sunni religious authorities, accused of cooperating too much with the State. On 14 May, Askandar Moemeni, Iranian police chief, broke the news about the murder of 12 people near the Kerman-Bam highway. He accused Jundallah. The deputy governor of Sistan-Baluchestan said six "rebels" were killed by the security forces; they formed part of a group of 15 to 20 militants dressed in police uniform. The Baluchi people add up to 1.4 million, and are mostly of the Sunni Hanafite school.

Iranian Kurds (5-8 million, 7% of the population) live to the west, near Iraq. They are also Sunnis. On 8 May, in the city of Kermanshah (250 km from Baghdad), two blasts injured six people at the headquarters of the governor and the Chamber of Commerce. Kurds have been charged with carrying out the attacks. This ethnic group is subjected to repression when it holds protests and the authorities at times even use military means to suppress dissent, like artillery fire against villages near the border, where the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party, held by Turkey, the USA and others to be a terrorist organization) is charged with having operational bases. But there is also a rival Kurdish party, the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) that at times attacks Iranian targets from Iraq.

To the south-west, still on the border with Iraq, there is the "Arab" province of Khuzestan. This place too is characterized by violence, repression and opposition between the Shiite state and the Sunni minority. At the beginning of May, a "Wahabite sheikh" was arrested and accused of being the instigator, if not the organizer, of rallies and bomb attacks. This region, inhabited by two million Arabs, possesses 80% of hydrocarbon resources. So the "Guardians of the Revolution" concentrate on control and repression of this part of the country: a new military base has been established in Abu al-Fadl.

What do the Arabs (two million) want? First of all, better public services and an end to socio-economic discrimination against their minority.

Iran accuses the United States, England or Israel of supporting these rebel groups but it does not admit to the deep roots of this violence: frustrations linked to discrimination, arising from a lack of respect for human rights and a rule of law. For the moment, Iran is reacting to the emergency, reinforcing its Secret Services and resorting to repression. The governors of these provinces have been replaced by men in the confidence of Ahmadinejad and the regime. The Interior Affairs Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, yesterday mentioned the problems of arms and illegal immigrants, once again refusing to recognise that there is real cultural diversity in Iran (50% are not "Persians"), as well as a major problem of discrimination against minorities.

Ali Ezzatyar:

Turkish jets and Iraqi instability

The Bush administration is courting influential Kurdish factions in Iraq. But across the border in Turkey, it is supporting Turkey's subjugation of its large Kurdish population. The United States has just approved the sale of F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Turkey that are to be used for the express purpose of crushing Kurdish militants in the eastern provinces. It has also appointed an envoy with strong business ties to a leading American defense contractor as well as to pro-Turkey American lobbies.
The Kurdish problem in Turkey is a longstanding one, stemming from the failed promises of the international community to create a Kurdish state after World War I, and Turkey's repression of its 20-percent-strong Kurdish population thereafter. A main party to the conflict has been the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a notorious guerrilla movement once led by the imprisoned Abdullah Ocalan. The 15-year war between the PKK and the Turkish government has led to the death of some 40,000 people, with civilians targeted on both sides. Human rights groups have long documented the obliteration of thousands of Kurdish villages by the Turkish military in their war against the Kurds.
After Ocalan's capture, the PKK's leadership declared a unilateral cease-fire with the Turkish government. Ankara rejected the proposal. While isolated attacks by Kurdish militants continue, the Kurdish region has been largely peaceful. Turkey however, has resumed its military campaign against PKK guerrillas hiding in the border region, and its new American firepower can only encourage it to pursue the goal of destroying the Kurdish group.
It against this backdrop that the US has appointed Joseph Ralston as "special envoy for countering the PKK." Ralston happens to be a board member of the defense company Lockheed Martin, which is providing the new jets. It has been reported that he also has ties to the American-Turkish Council. In other words Ralston has a financial interest in seeing Turkey gain deadly American weaponry, and is in a position to both influence the US government in helping Turkey procure arms and facilitate those purchases on behalf of Lockheed Martin. On learning of this appointment, Kurdish groups were, legitimately, outraged.
The issue of Kurdish human rights in Turkey is intrinsically tied to stability in Iraq. An escalation of fighting in Turkey can only destabilize northern Iraq, and vice versa. Iraqi Kurdish parties have until now tried to contain the PKK to appease Turkey, and Iraq's Kurdish Democratic Party has even fought limited engagements with PKK guerrillas trying to use Iraq as a safe haven from the Turkish Army. As far as the PKK is concerned, the Americans are being hypocritical in supporting Kurdish rights and identity in a new Iraqi polity, while failing to do so in Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Turks are assembling troops on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan and have threatened to invade. The Iraqi Kurds have responded that any encroachment on their territory by Turkey will result in war. This situation is troublesome, particularly at a time when the US is in the process of rethinking its presence in Iraq.
Kurdish groups in Turkey and Iran would welcome the opportunity to contribute to instability in Iraq and see this spill over to their side of the border. Kurdish irredentists have long talked about a cross-border revolution in Kurdistan. The PKK, with nothing to lose given Turkish intransigence, would again resort to terrorism and do everything it could, with help from rebel groups in the rest of Kurdistan, to destroy peace in Iraq. The US simply cannot afford to allow such a situation to develop.
That's why it is not doing itself any good by pursuing perverse arms interests in Turkey that will only encourage further armed conflict in Turkish Kurdistan. This would have unforeseen consequences in Iraq. Now is the time for Turkey to politically engage the PKK and the Kurdish population, not try to resolve the problem through military means. A framework for this exists thanks to Turkey's accession talks with the European Union. Ankara should take advantage of the opportunity.
The fight for Kurdish rights in Turkey is on hold, but history shows that further Turkish obstinacy will only restart the conflict. The US must withdraw Ralston and push Turkey to engage its Kurdish population and introduce democracy and pluralism once and for all in the Kurdish areas. Otherwise, expect to see a resurrection of the Kurdish problem in Turkey, but also more volatility in northern Iraq, very soon.

Ali Ezzatyar has consulted for Kurdish parties in Iraq and is a doctoral candidate in law at the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently performing research in France.

Josh Kaufman, Rockville MD:

Mr. Nowicki,

Jordan as a pillar of Democracy? You have got to be joking. Jordan is a police state par excellence. Let me actually rephrase that; there is no country called Jordan. There is a Jordan Inc with the CEO being King Abdullah of Jordan.

It is also somewhat puzzling that you refer to Kabul government as a democracy. Afghanistan is a feudal society, once NATO pulls out we will see how democratic Afghanistan is.

Overall all I found your article to be very shallow in substance. I am all for Kurdish freedom, but your arguments are very confused.

Sherwin Jalilli, MD:


You sound very immature. Your points will come across much better if you approach it maturely.

Ataturk, USA:

To: Goran Nowicki,

If you are a Pole, then I am the Pope.

You are Kurd masquerading as a Pole. Everything you have said is on the PKK, PEJAK and Komla manifestos. You are all Kurdish terrorists.

Let me see: Dr. Matin, Kawa Rajab, Nader Hawarimi, Dr. Artin are all Poles like you or rather they are all you.

Wow, very impressive.

Take off your terrorist mask.

Fred, Bos:

Anyone with the least amount of intelligence could tell you my post above does not call for any censorship of any kind and any people and likewise, anyone with the least amount of intelligence could tell you I would be the last person the Mullahs would want to hear from or see . Further, please be assured that I did not find the last paragraph in your post above offensive since I learned to limit my expectations of you as soon as I finished reading your initial post. However, how you arrived with such a conclusion, it does not surprise me at all for I even find myself unpopular among my friends when the topic of the conversation is referenced same . Neither have I come across many Iranians outside who are with me on this for that matter.
The core of debate and message in my post above was and I hope you make an effort to read it again, if we are interested to see some changes we have to work for it to earn it. Your post basically says Iran is void of democracy and the crimes this gov commits period. And to what extent are those true , are true to the very extent they are true.
Frankly, I did not learn a single new thing in your post. Many many other people have voiced this many many times before and yet no one has been able to prove me that any good has come out of it and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise too. The Mullahs, as you like to put it, keep squandering the oil revenues by pocketing some and buying favorable votes or vetoes at the UN with the rest and you could not in a million years think what is the luxury that affords them to stay the course so to speak . WHILE, MY POST REFERS TO THE COMMITMENTS and EXECUTIONS, PERSONAL INITIATION AND COLLECTIVE EFFORTS, IT TAKES TO SEE THE DESIRED CHANGES. If you see something somewhere that you also desire to see happening in Iran , it would be interesting to find out how that came about to begin with. One thing I can assure you is that the wishful thinkers were not resultants .
I sincerely hope, I was this time clear on stand I take on this and you and the other forlorn just below you, found these useful and meaningful to give it some thoughts to.
Be well.


we talk to Iran, as is being sold by every political huckster in the MSM, this will be a devastating defeat for America. And Bush should not be forgiven for sacrificing so many American lives to turn Iraq over to our enemies. It will be worse than Clinton's Mogadishu moment, far worse and with more profound long-term consequences for our military, geopolitics, national security and national psyche.

Goran Nowicki:


I am glad that positive signs are appearing that US is changing course in Iraq by moving from the carrot of Shiite centric policy towards a Sunni centric policy stick. The past few years pro Shiite policy carrot offered to Iran proved to be a total mistake. It is time for showing sticks. It is time for a dialogue of sticks in the region.

I have criticized the illusion of US in creating a Shiite regime in Iraq thinking that it will become a rival to Iran. Now US can see the reality and the correctness of my past analysis.

US needs to build the foundations of democracy in a "minimalist way" and not by "revolutionary transformations" that could upset the status quo in pro-US regimes in the region. Changing borders falls into "minimalist strategy" rather than "transformational democratisation" which may take decades.

The "democracy crescent" in the region can be built by focusing on two stable pillars of Jordan and Kurdistan. I have warned in the past that if US fails to act, these two stable pillars will crumble by the Shiite and Taliban forces in the region.

1) Divide Iraq into Kurdish part and Arab part and incorporate Arab part into Jordan and make Kurdish part independent. With 5 Mil Jordanians replacing 5 Mil Kurds, the new Jordan-Iraq will become stable under Jordan King Abdulah Hashemi who is a decendant of prophet family. Promoting Shiite/Sunni division has been the recipe for civil war in Iraq and the region.

2) Give the green light to Israel to take care of the Iran Atomic industry soon before Iran develops A bomb.

3) Support the Kurdish freedom fighting pishmerga in Iran and work out a plan for secret meetings between the Kurdistan government in Iraq and Azerbaijan state to delimit Azer-Kurdish borders in Western Azerbaijan province in Iran based on results of Iranian council elections.

4) Work on a plan for dividing Iran into Persian and non-Persian speaking regions and incorportaing the Persian part with Tajikistan and Afghanistan. After merging Iraq with Jordan, Khalizad can go back in Afghanistan to create that Persian pillar.
Incorporate Azeri part into Azerbaijan or Turkey and Kurdish part into Kurdistan.

5) Remind both Turkey and Kurds to realise that the Kurmanji speaker Kurds in Turkey are not the same as the Sorani speaker Kurds (in Iraq and Iran) and there are some divisions similar to differences between people of Azerbaijan and Turkey or Turkey and Turkmanistan. US needs to encourage Turkey to respect Kurdish human and cultural rights in order to get into EU. This active US diplomatic approach will reduce some misundrastandings between Kurds and Turks in the region and sends this clear message to Turkey that US will not double cross its Kurdish allies. Creating a formula similar to Irland and UK Northern Irland for Kurds and Kurdistan of Turkey will help.

In summary, the US needs to change its present fixation on Iraq territorial integrity and instead focus towards reinforcing 3 pillars of democracy
based in Amman, Erbil and Kabul. A southern belt containing Russian
expansion into South and a stick for
Tehran getting into the orbit of Moscow.


Oh and my vote goes to Maziar Bahari and Kamran Souroush in advocating a method of engagement. Reading their comments of choosing engagement over isolationism is like a breath of fresh air in this era of sadistic war mongering. It almost seems like the chest thumping, "bring in the big guns and let them do the talking" types are trying to compensate for something.

Oh and lets look at some examples of isolationism working;

North Korea...nope
Iran ...hasn't worked so far
Pakistan..... sanctioned for a while but didn't make them back down from their nuclear program or change some of their draconian laws.

China, as I have expressed in other forums as well, is a great example of engagement producing more responsible behavior. While Chinese society is by no means as free or tolerant as many would like, the country has come a long way towards becoming a responsible member in the comity of nations.

Pakistan did not pass its "Women Protection Bill" under the threat of sanctions, but several years after those sanctions were lifted, due to pressure created by victims of that atrocious piece of legislation. It was engagement that allowed these victims to travel to the West and highlight their plight. It was engagement that allowed the Western press to report on condition inside Pakistan FROM Pakistan. It was engagement that allowed for the official ban on, and subsequent moderate enforcement, of child labor. If you are not selling anything to the West, it does not really matter if the West sanctions you for exploiting and mistreating your citizens.

Mimi, LA:

Any accountants out there? What is the interest rate of 8 billion dollars over 25 years?

Manouch, LA:

I just can't understand why some people can't distinguish between pragmatism and being a sell-out. I don't think the article in any way condones the behavior of the Islamic regime but it only suggests a peaceful way out of an evitable conflict in the absence of any viable alternatives. Who's gonna replace the mullahs? MKO? Monarchists? Hakha!? Zia!?


I too wish that people would stop posting entire books in the talk back section. There is no disrespect intended towards any Iranian minority or dissident groups by this suggestion, it's just that the discussion is getting hijacked with tirades against the "vile Mullah's". Maziar Bahari has not expressed undying love for the Mullah's, but suggestions as to what steps, in his opinion, can lead towards positive change, in the region in general and Iranian society in particular.

By all means criticize the Iranian regime for all its faults, but do extend to those of us who wish to exchange in more constructive dialog by responding to the authors suggestions, the courtesy of restricting the majority of your comments to why a policy of engagement would fail and why your particular option is a more viable one.
Again, all of you posting essay's do have the right to express yourself, as should anyone anywhere in the world, but showing a little courtesy and respect for other people in sticking to the main topic of discussion is also a fair ask.

Perhaps the WP blog monitors need to be reminded that a few weeks ago they suggested that some bloggers (including myself) stop taking exception to Saul Singer stating his location as "Jerusalem, Israel". Singer mostly blogs in an Arab-Israeli conflict context and if it is not acceptable to extrapolate the disputed status of Jerusalem from that conversation and discuss it, then I fail to see why it is acceptable for every disgruntled ethnic and dissident Iranian group to start posting essays on their plight, when the author has clearly sought to invite debate over the pros and cons of a policy of engagement in order to affect change in both domestic and foreign Iranian policy.

Azar, Toronto, Canada:

Bravo Maziar Bahari

Finally rational Iranians have found a voice!

Azar, Toronto


Arash: Thank you for that retort. He seems to be peddling the mullahs agenda.

Arash Friend:

Fred, Bos:

The world is a global village. You cannot live in isolation. We have full right to cast our opinion on Iranian issues whether we are outside, inside, have family inside or not or simply not an Iranian at all. Iran is signatory of almost all international treaties and therefore bound to them. I know Mullahs wish to be left alone to suck Iranian blood and to brainwash Iranian people and take free rides. But, they can only dream about it. They are silencing people inside by bullets and torture and they used assassination outside to achieve the same goal outside Iran. Now that international courts are after them and cannot continue political assassinations, they are begging people outside not to speak.

You are either completely ignorant or paid by Mullahs to advocate for censorship of people outside Iran. If you belong to the former category, you should know that you could be paid for it.

Eric Jette , SantaFe , USA:


You are welcome to review a few of my posts on this me, it's all about content, not the length...and no, I don't use an alias...though as I said, some risk reprisal and use an alias when posting...and some simply wish to be "anon" for whatever reason...and that is ok too, as long as it complies with the rules of discussion :
"entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed."

In other words, WP asks that folks don't pretend to be another poster on the board...real simple and basic respect is all that's asked.

James, if I seemed a little ...(chuckle)...critical....ask yourself why anyone here should conform to your idea of good posting standards....for your personal convieniance?

It don't work that way bro....

P>S they do call it fiesta! Comprende Libertad????


Syria and Iran are not responsible for the resistance in Ramadi or Baquba and probably can't do anything about it. Therefore negotiating with them is not a silver bullet, though it might be useful in its own right--Juan Cole

Jame McMahon, VA:

EJ from Santa Fe,

I have been to the beautiful city of Santa Fe. I did not realize that Washington Post had a following in Santa Fe!

People are free to express whatever they want. I did not question people's right to express their opinion. That is not the point.

This is a talkback section of a newspaper not a private web log area for posters. If people have "got a lot to get off their chests" so be it, but please do it in a proper fashion. Create you own web log and point people to it.

Having said; that the tone of your message betray your motive, you are probably one of those who are posting these long winded messages here under a different alias.

James McMahon

Fred, Bos:

Have a little common sense and look around yourself. And if you do, you will find yourself surrounded with many many other wishful thinkers just like yourself who in the comfort of Western living have opted for an easy way out of, I am assuming you are either an Iranian born Iranian or a foreign born one, and no offense intended, their patriotic duties and conveniently evade or ignore their personal responsibilities and are too happy to complain and blame others for their short comings without being a participants and contributors themselves.
I , for one, would like to see many things differently back in Iran . I also know since I am not performing my personal obligations in Iran and therefore not contributing , I would be compromising my intelligence by criticizing anyone out there as well as remaining a wishful thinker.


Eric Jette , SantaFe , USA:

"The experiment here has failed. People are posting books."-James McMahon

Well James, it beats the pabum we're fed by the press on a daily basis on TV.
Folks got a lot to get off their chests...28 years worth...some risking their lives just to blog from Iran and call it like they see it.

This is the great experiment called freedom of speech....get used to it...(chuckle)....or maybe you're just too used to it and take it for granted that others enjoy the same freedom, without fear of reprisal.

Arash in his post above put it quite nicely in a nutshell...and accurate it is to be sure.

" Freedom will Prevail "



Arash, Canada:


Your article is completely one sided. You sound that you are living in different plant or blind. I give you many reasons that the United States should not talk with mullahs, but it has strongly support the opposition groups to dismantle the totalitarian mullah's regime. The Middle East will prosper from Peace, Democracy, and stability only by elimination of Mullah's terrorist regime in Iran.

Have a bit of decency and look around yourself in Iran to see the enormous violation of human rights, execution and hanging of opponents, high unemployment rate, skyrocketing inflation, poverty, corruption, crimes, prostitution, child abuse, woman abuse, youth drug addiction, prosecution and jailing the journalist, lack of freedom of press, collapse of Tehran's stock market and so on.

The radical mullah's regime is actively destabilizing Iraq by financing, arming and helping the rebel groups inside this country by manipulating and influencing their dangerous ideology to stop democratic movements. In Lebanon, mullah's regime is financing and arming the terrorists groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to execute fear and hate to subvert the country. The mullahs (a band of International Gangsters) want to dominate the Middle East and they are seeking nuclear bomb.

Since the 1979 revolution the mullah's intelligence service, has killed 137 political dissidents in many different countries, and thousands of political activist executed in prisons in Iran. This brutal regime is capable and will do anything to stay in power. The last theatrical elections in Iran to bring the current militia president, military cabinet and military governors in all aspect of the country are the proofs of promoting war to destroy the country inward and outward.

The real issue in Iran today that makes daily world headlines is not the nuclear weapon. If nuclear weapons were the problem, we would be worried about India, Pakistan, etc... The real issue is the regime that called Islamic Republic of Iran. This regime is not Islamic, not Republic, and certainly not Iranian; this regime has no legitimacy inside and outside of Iran and has to overthrow before it achieves a nuclear bomb to black mail the world.

The policy of the new regime's president that took power is to savagely repress, terrorize, and execute the freedom seekers. They are filtering the Internet, monitoring text messaging, censoring the news and the media inside Iran, because the people do not have access to the correct news. The citizens stay in dark and the regime oppresses all the opposition voices so it can go ahead with its dangerous ideology. This regime is on the verge of collapse.

The unstable regime is trying to buy more time by averting the united international front opposed to them, by presenting the nuclear topic as the most urgent subject in Iran's domestic politics as a final point. Despite the high skyrocketing inflation rate, a major unemployment, and poverty problem, prostitution, drug addiction among the young generation are ignored etc... The desperate regime is trying to change the nuclear issue to a clash between itself and the free world.

Any kind of negotiation with this regime will give legitimacy to a band of international gangsters who have broken every agreement they have ever made. After three decades of supporting terrorism this regime's deadly beliefs has been proven repeatedly.

The record of the Islamic Republic of Iran overfed with all structures of crimes against humanity from torture to execution of political prisoners on huge levels, executing oppositions inside and outside Iran, crimes against religious minority, executing miners, flogging and stoning women.

The Mullahs are a gang of EVIL men who have turned a great country into a swamp of beggary, aggression, crime, fraud, and tragedy.

Freedom will prevail


Anti-Komla Kurd, Sardasht:

I was wondering where all this stuff was coming from. Now I see. It is the Marxist Kurdish terrorist group Komla.

You are exposed you Marxist terrorists. If you think the American tax payers money is going to be spent on you by posting all this you are mistaken. You are also criminals like the Mullah's of Iran.

Jame McMahon, VA:

Dear Washington Post;

Most talkback sections restrict the posters to a limited number of characters. I would suggest that Washington Post adopt the same method.

This will prevent people from creating their own Web Log (pro or con of the topic) within the response area.

The experiment here has failed. People are posting books.


James McMahon

Jame McMahon, VA:

Mr. Bard,

Thanks for your expose of this nefarious regime. Thanks for stating the obvious.

Dear fellow; everyone knows that this regime is composed of nasty characters. Soviet Union was also comprised of nefarious characters; the current Chinese regime is also a very nasty one. Mr. Putin is not a very nice man.

The art diplomacy is the art negotiating not only with your friends but also with your adversaries.

This is the point that folks like you and AIPAC fail to understand.

Also, in the future please create your own web log and point us to it, rather than posting a very long winded expose.

Alan Bock:

Deterring Regime Change in Iran?

The ongoing protests beginning with students and expanding (although it's difficult for an outsider, even one who follows news reports, to know exactly how much) to other sectors of society have created a great deal of hope among those - surely most decent people around the world - who would like to see the repressive regime of the Islamist mullahs ended or significantly changed. For better or worse, however, the fluid situation has created a certain temptation in the Bush administration and among some of the more enthusiastic would-be serial regime-changers inside the Beltway to try to take credit and/or control of the budding rebellion.

Unfortunately, an aggressively proactive stance on the part of the U.S. government is more likely to make things in Iran worse rather than better. It might even stifle or short-circuit what seems to be an ongoing process that seems likely to bring significant change to the repressive Iranian regime some time in the foreseeable future, if not necessarily as quickly as some of us might like.

It's not difficult to understand the enthusiasm of some in the administration to want to be on the right side of history regarding Iran - even as one is naturally a bit suspicious of those in and out of the administration who see regime-change in Iran as another feather in the nouveau American empire's cap. But I suggest that those in the government with a sincere interest in seeing at least some liberalization and perhaps even an end to the fundamentalist regime would do well to seal their lips for a few months at least.


The basic situation in Iran is fairly well known. About 70 percent of the population is under 30, half under 25. That means that most of the population has no personal adult memory of what life was like before the ayatollahs took power in 1979. The mullahs' regime, which seemed exciting and promising when they were taking out the old shah's repressive regime back in the day, is now the old order, and it's a repressive and annoying old order to most younger Iranians to boot.

This generational shift has been intensified by increasing access to the Internet and fairly steady communication between Iranians in Iran and friends and relatives in the West. Iran has long been a fairly well-educated and sophisticated society, and the mullahs haven't wiped out that sophistication and interest in the outside world. There is a thriving film industry that in the past few years has sent several critically-acclaimed films to the world at large.

Perhaps most interesting has been the development of literally thousands of "web loggers" or bloggers in Iran. Some estimate that there are as many as 10,000 Iranian bloggers, some devoted largely to personal obsessions or interests, but quite a few offering comments, links to news stories and updates on current events in Iran. There's little doubt that bloggers like,,, and have had something to do with keeping the student protests going. The idea among the student protesters has been to build up to massive demonstrations July 9, the anniversary of a 1999 government crackdown on a smaller previous student protest.


But it's interesting to see what some of these bloggers actually have to say. As reported on (a war enthusiast who seems sincerely to believe it's about spreading freedom rather than empire, though I cringe at giving any of them the benefit of the doubt) here's what Lady Sun, who seems to be a student who reports directly from Tehran, had to say last week:

"I am bitter, sentimentally angry, and dreadfully sad. Monarchists are killing themselves rambling about a new revolution, a protest, an opposition... I hate monarchy, we hate monarchy, we hate any sort of dictatorship. I hate this stupid Bush who is releasing statements in support of the students. I hate him who has no idea what kind of people Iranians are. I hate the monarchists who think we are that stupid to put the red carpet for Reza Pahlavi, the late Shah's son. I hate the pressure groups who are literally massacring their fellow Iranian citizens. I hate our reformist government who can do sh*t about all this chaos. I hate our 'real' government who has closed its eyes on the reality and seeks for popularity and stability in suppressing people. I hate all the students including myself who can do nothing. The biggest thing we can do is just playing the role of scapegoats, victims of ignorance, brutality, whatever.

"If only they knew how small the amount of freedom we are seeking is..."

One can understand the hopelessness leading to bitterness. Sadly, Lady Sun's assessment of the chances for the current student protests to have much impact in the long run seems to be fairly realistic. The important thing for Americans to note in this cri de coeur is the comment about Bush jumping on the student revolt bandwagon that he somehow missed when he was in college.


I am willing to believe that at least some people in the administration and the punditocracy are genuinely trying to help bring more freedom to Iran - or at least to position themselves on the side of the angels regarding a regime that is generally ill-regarded in the United States and is genuinely objectionable. But I talked with Daniel Brumberg, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and he seems convinced that the statements from the administration are counterproductive at best.

Brumberg, the author of the 2001 book Reinventing Khomeini: The Struggle for Reform in Iran and numerous articles in academic journals, mostly about power-sharing in the Middle East, is on leave from Georgetown University and has previously taught at Emory and Chicago. He noted that while the student protests have been impressive and suggest certain vulnerabilities of the regime, the regime itself is still genuinely powerful and has been fairly shrewd in the way it has handled them.

In the first days of the student protests, for example, various ostensibly pro-regime "vigilantes" harassed the students, sometimes quite violently. It wouldn't be surprising if the regime encouraged them to do so, but last week it arrested a few of them. Some see that as an admission of regime weakness, but Brumberg sees it as shrewd PR. The regime has also made sure, he says, that none of the student demonstrators have been killed, which could create the potential of a martyr in a culture in which martyrs are often revered.

Brumberg sees that as shrewdness rather than weakness, and it might even have worked. Some news stories suggest the protests have been petering out in the last few days, although it will be interesting to see what happens as July 9 approaches.

Mr. Brumberg reserved his scorn for those in the U.S. government who have gone out of their way to demonstrate vocal support for the student revolts. "They have made it more difficult for the students to gain support from other sectors of Iranian society, including reform-minded members of parliament, merchants, and workers," he told me. If the regime can spin the protests as the work of American agents and the students as naive dupes of the United States - and it can and it has - it can minimize support from other sectors of Iranian society and undermine the political effectiveness of the student movement.

I'll presume that's not the intention, but these overeager expressions of support from U.S. officials play right into the hands of the mullahs, whose interest is to keep the students physically and psychologically isolated from potentially sympathetic elements in other parts of Iranian society. The mullahs might even be able to use the protests to increase their power and control over the short run, as governments throughout history have often done in the face of protests that fall short of toppling the regime.


"I'm afraid that something resembling real democracy in Iran is a matter of years or decades rather than weeks or months," Dan Brumberg told me. He noted that while several thousand students participating in daily protests is impressive and a sign of solid discontent, there are about 600,000 students in Iran. The protests so far have taken place mostly in northern Tehran (though there have been assemblages in other cities), which has traditionally been fairly wealthy and westernized.

As organized so far, the protests don't seem to be a precursor of revolution very soon. If the regime (perhaps with the unwitting help of the Bush administration) can keep the students isolated from other potentially sympathetic Iranians, the threat to the stability of the regime is probably slight at this time.


Brumberg does think that underlying demographic and political factors will eventually lead at least to some loosening of the iron grip of the mullahs, though it is almost impossible to say when and what form reform will eventually take. Unfortunately, he said, "the evolution of Iranian democracy is not subject to American influence" - indeed the influence the United States has in Iran is mostly negative. We just can't empower rebellion in far-off lands by escalating our rhetoric - it is more likely to have the opposite of the desired effect.

While there is plenty of enthusiasm for stepping up diplomatic and military pressure, with the thrill of an invasion a possible, even likely eventual outcome, from the neocon crowd like Bill Kristol, Michael Ledeen et. al., it might just be that the Bush administration itself is adopting a more cautious approach. Dan Brumberg told me that he thought he detected a slight moderation in tone from President Bush and other administration spokespeople as compared to a couple of weeks ago. Given that the administration is simultaneously talking tough about possible nukes and murmuring about tightening economic sanctions (look how effective they've been in getting Castro overthrown), that might be significant.

There are also Republican operatives who think the administration will be reluctant to go much farther than tough talk and maybe promising to cooperate with the UN weapons inspectors - at least for now. There is an election coming up, after all, and Iraq hasn't gone as swimmingly as the optimistic hawks had expected. Political tacticians might well figure that another major war in the middle of campaign season - it would take a while to do not only the propaganda but the concrete military build-up, assuming the U.S. even has sufficient forces to do so without Iraq becoming even more of an embarrassment - would not be conducive to reelection for the Boy President.

Particularly if that's the case (and that doesn't rule out the possibility of an invasion after the election campaign next year), the administration would do well to cool it even more. That might be difficult, given Bush's inclusion of Iran in the "axis of evil" and the expectations possibly arising from the bellicose statements to date. The administration could be caught in a trap of its own making, in which it feels it has to escalate at least the rhetoric when the Iranian regime rather predictably doesn't cave in the face of previous rhetoric.

But that rhetoric could be extremely dangerous to the people of Iran who desire freedom from the mullahs, or at least more freedom to live their lives as they choose. Let's hope there are cooler heads in the administration who care about Iranian freedom more than the opportunity to grandstand.

Mitchell Bard:

Potential Threats To Israel: Iran

Iran is one of America's foremost self-proclaimed enemies. Iran has become one of the most serious threats to stability in the Middle East and has developed the means to strike Israel. American and Israeli intelligence assessments agree that the Islamic regime in Iran will be able to complete a nuclear weapon within five years -- sooner if a device or substantial technical assistance is acquired abroad.

Iranian opposition figures have said the regime is intensifying its efforts to complete a weapon with the hope of building a device within the next two years.

The Brains Behind Iran's Nuclear Project
Iran has concluded agreements with China and Russia to obtain nuclear facilities. In 1990, China signed a 10-year nuclear cooperation agreement that allowed Iranian nuclear engineers to obtain training in China. In addition, China has already built a nuclear research reactor in Iran that became operational in 1994. In 2002, Iran revealed that it had purchased special gas from China that could be used to enrich uranium for the production of nuclear weapons. The gas purchase was supposed to be reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but it was concealed instead. Chinese experts have also been involved in the supervision of the installation of centrifuge equipment that can be used to enrich uranium.

According to the CIA, "Iran continues to use its civilian nuclear energy program to justify its efforts to establish domestically or otherwise acquire the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Iran claims that this fuel cycle would be used to produce fuel for nuclear power reactors, such as the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor that Russia is continuing to build at the southern port city of Bushehr. However, Iran does not need to produce its own fuel for this reactor because Russia has pledged to provide the fuel throughout the operating lifetime of the reactor and is negotiating with Iran to take back the irradiated spent fuel."

The Bushehr project has provided valuable training to Iranian technicians and engineers, and expanded the regime's nuclear infrastructure. Financial wrangling between the Russians and Iranians have delayed completion, but it is expected to go online after the delivery of the reactor fuel sometime in 2006. To allay U.S. fears that the fuel Russia is providing for the plant could be diverted to a weapons program, the Russians agreed to take back the spent fuel rods from the plant, but Iran has not agreed to this.

Though China and Russia have provided technology to Iran, the "brain" behind the Iranian nuclear program is believed to be Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, who passed secrets and equipment to Iranian officials. Khan became involved in helping Iran in the mid-1990s. Pakistani investigators have told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that centrifuges built by Iran closely resemble the design of Pakistani centrifuges. Khan also helped the Iranians to set up a secret procurement network involving companies and middlemen around the world. In March 2005, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani admitted Iran developed its nuclear program in secret, going to the black market for material.

Iran's Secret Plants
In 2002, two previously unknown nuclear facilities were discovered in Iran. One in Arak produces heavy water, which could be used to produce weapons. The other is in Natanz. An Iranian opposition group claimed that Iranian officials removed sensitive equipment installed at Natanz to hide it from IAEA inspectors who were scheduled to visit the plant.

In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami announced the discovery of uranium reserves near the central city of Yazd and said Iran was setting up production facilities "to make use of advanced nuclear technology for peaceful purposes" (AP, February 11, 2003). This was an alarming development because it suggested Iran was attempting to obtain the means to produce and process fuel itself, despite the agreement to receive all the uranium it would need for civilian purposes from Russia.

Though it is not the best method, Iran could "run the reactor at low fuel burn-up levels to produce weapons-grade plutonium or, alternately, separate reactor-grade plutonium from spent fuel awaiting reshipment to Russia," according to Michael Eisenstadt.

Eisenstadt also notes that Iran is North Korea's principal customer for arms, missiles, and nuclear technology. North Korea could export plutonium from its nuclear weapons program, as well as weapon design data, to Iran to earn desperately needed cash to bolster its weak economy. As it is, North Korean experts are believed to have helped Iran with its centrifuges.

The Iranian government, confronted in February 2004 with new evidence obtained from the secret network of nuclear suppliers surrounding Khan, acknowledged it had a design for a far more advanced high-speed centrifuge to enrich uranium than it previously revealed to the IAEA. This type of centrifuge would allow Iran to produce nuclear fuel far more quickly than the equipment that it reluctantly revealed to the agency in 2003. This revelation proved that Iran lied when it claimed to have turned over all the documents relating to their enrichment program.

In another disclosure that contradicted earlier claims, Iran admitted in June 2005 that it conducted experiments to create plutonium, which is used only in weapons and not for energy production, for five years beyond the date when it previously insisted it had ended all such work. Iran had said that the experiments were completed in 1993 and that no plutonium had been separated since then, but an IAEA investigation found that it had processed uranium as recently as 1998.

In 2005, the National Council of Resistance, an Iranian opposition group, which has given accurate information in the past on some of Iran's nuclear facilities, said Iran allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads in mid-2004. The group, also said Iran was speeding up work on a reactor south of Tehran which could produce enough plutonium for an atomic bomb by 2007 (Reuters, March 31, 2005).

Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows the peaceful pursuit of nuclear technology, including uranium mining and enrichment, under oversight by the IAEA. The IAEA wants Iran to agree to more stringent monitoring, which, in theory, would make it more difficult for Iran to divert fissile material to a weapons program.

Iran Admits Deception
Hassan Rowhani, the man who headed talks with Britain, France and Germany until 2005, told a meeting of Islamic clerics and academics that Iran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear program was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002. He revealed that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran completed the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant. Rowhani also said that on at least two occasions the IAEA obtained information on secret nuclear-related experiments from academic papers published by scientists involved in the work (Telegraph, (March 5, 2006).

The quickest way for Iran to complete a weapon would be to openly build a gas centrifuge plant to make weapons-grade uranium. This would end any doubt about Iran's intentions so it is more likely that Iran will continue a covert program and it would be difficult for the IAEA to locate a clandestine facility. The IAEA has admitted that it cannot monitor Iranian activities outside the areas where the organization has containment and surveillance.

A Commitment to Join the Nuclear Club
In June 2004, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi rejected further outside influence on Tehran's nuclear ambitions. "We won't accept any new obligations," Kharrazi said. "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path" (AP, June 12, 2004).

After pledging to suspend its nuclear program, the IAEA reported in June 2004 that Iran was continuing to make parts and materials that could be used in the manufacture of nuclear arms. The report also cited continuing evidence that Iran misled inspectors with many of its early claims, especially on questions about where it obtained critical components. For example, Iranian officials admitted that some of those parts were purchased abroad, after initially insisting that Iran had made them itself (New York Times, June 3, 2004).

On July 27, 2004, the Telegraph reported Iran had broken the seals on nuclear equipment monitored by UN inspectors and was again building and testing machines that could make fissile material for nuclear weapons. Teheran's move violated an agreement with European countries under which Iran suspended "all uranium enrichment activity." Defying a key demand set by 35 nations, Iran announced September 21, 2004, that it has started converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons. A couple of weeks later, Iran announced it had processed several tons of raw ''yellowcake'' uranium to prepare it for enrichment - a key step in developing atomic weapons - in defiance of the IAEA (AP, October 6, 2004).

South African Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his Iranian counterpart Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani signed a memorandum of understanding August 17, 2004, on bilateral cooperation. The agreement included an arrangement for South Africa to sell uranium to Iran, according to Israel's Channel 1 TV. Lekota reportedly said that making peaceful use of nuclear energy is the legitimate right of the Islamic Republic. The South African Ministry of Defense subsequently denied the report.

In another sign of Iran's determination to move forward with a nuclear weapons program, the government approved the establishment of a secret nuclear research center to train its scientists in all aspects of atomic technology (Telegraph, March 20, 2005).

Point of No Return?
On August 1, 2005, a senior Israeli military commander said, "We no longer think that a secret military track runs independent of the civilian one....If it were then they would acquire weapons in 2007... We have changed our estimation. Now we think the military track is dependent on the civilian one. However, from a certain point it will be able to run independently. But not earlier than 2008" (Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2005). Earlier, Israel estimated that Iran would be nuclear-capable by 2005, But last year it adjusted that estimate to 2007, saying that international diplomatic pressure had impeded the Iranian nuclear program. In January 2006, the chief of Israeli Military Intelligence said the "point of no return" will be reached in March 2006. If Iran starts to enrich uranium, it can start producing weapons-grade uranium by the end of the year and have enough to produce a nuclear weapon in another three years (Jerusalem Report, (February 6, 2006). Iran will have acquired nuclear weapons by 2010, the head of Israel's Military Intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on May 16, 2006 (Haaretz, May 10, 2006).

About the same time that Israel revised its estimate of Iran's progress, a U.S. intelligence review roughly doubled the time Iran would need to manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon from five to ten years. The analysis concluded that Iran is acquiring and mastering technologies that could be used for weapons. A senior intelligence official said, "it is the judgment of the intelligence community that, left to its own devices, Iran is determined to build nuclear weapons" (Washington Post, August 2, 2004).

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, suggested the Iranians were potentially closer to building a bomb than either the U.S. or Israeli intelligence analysts predicted. Even though it may take two years for Natanz to become fully operational, ElBaradei, warned in December 2005 that once the facility is running, the Iranians could be "a few months" away from a nuclear weapon (The Independent, December 5, 2005).

Iran agreed in a meeting in Tehran with French, German, and British ambassadors on November 14, 2004, to immediately suspend its nuclear programs in exchange for European guarantees that it will not face the prospect of UN Security Council sanctions as long as their agreement holds. Bushehr was not covered under the EU-Iranian deal. The Bush administration was dissatisfied and said Tehran needs to convince the world it is not a danger (Washington Post, November 15, 2004).

Shortly after the Iranian-European agreement, the National Council of Resistance said Iran had bought blueprints for a nuclear bomb and obtained weapons-grade uranium on the black market. The group also charged that Iran was still secretly enriching uranium at an undisclosed Defense Ministry site in Tehran. The claims could not be independently verified, and independent nuclear experts were divided about whether they could be true, but the group was responsible earlier for revealing the existence of two secret Iranian nuclear facilities. (New York Times, November 18, 2004).

Secretary of State Colin Powell also said the United States has intelligence indicating Iran is trying to fit missiles to carry nuclear weapons, which he intimated would only make sense if Iran was also developing or planning to develop a nuclear capability. "There is no doubt in my mind -- and it's fairly straightforward from what we've been saying for years -- that they have been interested in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there," Powell said (Washington Post, November 18, 2004).

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani claimed a "great victory" over the U.S. at the end of November 2004 after the UN said it would not punish Iran's nuclear activities with sanctions. Rohani said Iran would never give up its right to nuclear power and stressed during talks with European countries that Iran's freeze on uranium enrichment was only temporary (BBC News, November 30, 2004). President Bush said on November 30, "The Iranians agreed to suspend but not terminate their nuclear weapons program. Our position is that they ought to terminate their nuclear weapons program" (Reuters, November 30, 2004).

In February 2005, Ali Agha Mohammadi, spokesman of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Iran will never scrap its nuclear program, and talks with the Europeans are aimed at protecting the country's nuclear achievements, not negotiating an end to them. This view was reiterated in March by Rohani, who said, the country would never permanently cease enriching uranium, and warned that if the United States went to the United Nations Security Council to seek sanctions against Iran, "the security and stability of the region would become a problem."

In May 2005, Iran confirmed that it had converted 37 tons of uranium into gas, its first acknowledgment of advances made in the production process for enriched uranium. This means Tehran is in a position to start enriching uranium quickly if negotiations with the Europeans over the future of its nuclear program fail (AP, May 9, 2005). Iran's departing president, Mohammad Khatami, said July 27, 2005, regardless of Europe's position, "we will definitely resume work in Isfahan," the site of a uranium processing plant. On August 1, Iran said Iranian technicians would break UN seals on the Isfahan nuclear plant, allowing uranium processing to resume. Reprocessing uranium is a step below uranium enrichment, which is to remain suspended (Jerusalem Post, August 1, 2005).

In late August 2005, European powers called off talks with Iran about its nuclear program scheduled for August 31. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said talks on a formal European proposal made earlier this month would not go ahead because Iran had resumed certain nuclear work in breach of a promise to freeze it while talks lasted (Reuters, August 24, 2005).

On September 2, 2005, the IAEA reported that Iran had produced about seven tons of the gas it needs for uranium enrichment since it restarted the process the previous month. A former UN nuclear inspector said that would be enough for an atomic weapon. In unusually strong language, an IAEA report also said questions remain about key aspects of Iran's 18 years of clandestine nuclear activity and that it still was unable "to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran" (Chicago Tribune, September 3, 2005).

On September 20, 2005, Iran threatened to resume uranium enrichment and bar open inspections of its nuclear facilities if the IAEA refers it to the Security Council for sanctions. Newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his country's right to produce nuclear fuel in a fiery speech to the UN General Assembly and later raised worldwide concern about nuclear proliferation when he said, "Iran is ready to transfer nuclear know-how to the Islamic countries due to their need" (AP, September 15, 2005). Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, repeated the proliferation threat in April, telling the president of Sudan, "Iran's nuclear capability is one example of various scientific capabilities in the country....The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to transfer the experience, knowledge and technology of its scientists" (New York Times, April 26, 2006).

In early November 2005, Iran rejected a call by European ministers for it to heed a resolution of the IAEA calling for a renewed freeze on all activities related to uranium enrichment. In another alarming development, Iran also approved a resolution accepting foreign participation in its nuclear enrichment plant (Jerusalem Post, (November 6, 2005). Iran began converting a new batch of uranium at the Isfahan facility, a move seen as provocative after rejecting international pleas to suspend such work (Washington Post, November 17, 2005). Meanwhile, the head of IAEA disclosed that in 1987 Iran obtained through the Khan network the blueprint for casting uranium required in making the core of a nuclear warhead, but this alone was not enough for the manufacture of a weapon (The Guardian, November 19, 2005). A few days later, a former spokesman for the National Council of the Resistance of Iran, an Iranian opposition group, said that, beginning in 1989, North Korea has helped Iran build dozens of underground tunnels and facilities for the construction of nuclear-capable missiles (ABC News, November 21, 2005).

In yet another apparent effort to demonstrate its unwillingness to be deterred by international opprobrium, Iran announced in early December 2005 plans to build two nuclear power plants in addition to the Bushehr reactor (Washington Post, December 6, 2005).

According to an intelligence assessment from July 2005 obtained by the Guardian in January 2006, Iran is aggressively trying to obtain the expertise, training, and equipment for developing nuclear weapons, a ballistic missile capable of reaching Europe, and biological and chemical weapons arsenals. The leak of the report came shortly after Iran notified the IAEA that it intended to resume nuclear fuel research (Guardian, January 4, 2006).

Iran has secretly extended the uranium enrichment plant at the Natanz site, which has led analysts to suspect that Iran is stepping up the pace of its weapons program. Moreover, a U.S. intelligence report says that Iran's facilities appear to replicate those used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons in Pakistan (Telegraph, January 22, 2006) .

IAEA Refers Iran to Security Council
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed on January 31, 2006, that the IAEA should refer Iran to the Security Council. The United States, Britain, China, Russia and France reached a compromise whereby the Security Council would wait until March before discussing any resolutions or punitive measures to give Iran an opportunity to change its policy. Earlier, Mohammed-Nabi Rudaki, deputy chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, threatened to forcibly halt oil supply via the Straits of Hormuz if the UN imposed economic sanctions due to Iran's nuclear program (Haaretz, January 24, 2006).

The IAEA released a report February 1, 2006, which says the agency has evidence of links between Iran's nuclear program and its military work on high explosives and missiles. The report documents work Iran has conducted on uranium processing, high explosives and a missile warhead design, which contradicts Iranian claims that it is only interested in electrical power. The IAEA also reiterated its past complaints that Iran has not been cooperative on all of the outstanding nuclear issues that the agency has been investigating (New York Times, February 1, 2006).

Following the IAEA decision, Iran announced that it had resumed uranium enrichment efforts and will no longer comply with voluntary measures designed to enhance international inspectors' access to its nuclear facilities (Washington Post, February 15, 2006).

Iran has begun testing about 20 centrifuges used in enriching fuel and is making improvements at its Natanz nuclear facility according to a February report by the IAEA. The organization also said that it was not "in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran." The report criticizes Iran for failing to reveal "the scope and nature" of its nuclear program despite three years of IAEA monitoring efforts (Washington Post, February 28, 2006).

The one remaining diplomatic option to avoid pursuing sanctions against Iran failed on on March 12 when Iran rejected an offer from Russia to enrich uranium on its behalf. Negotiations on the proposal were widely viewed as merely a tactical strategy Tehran was using to continue its program while staving off referral to the UN.

The Security Council urged Iran on March 29, 2006, to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities and asked the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency to report back on Iran's compliance within 30 days. The Council took its action in a presidential statement, a nonbinding declaration that needs unanimous support, which was possible only after the European authors of the final draft eliminated language suggesting that any Iranian drive to produce nuclear weapons would be a "threat to international peace and security" (New York Times, March 30, 2006).

Iran's Foreign Minister subsequently rejected the principle of a European package that would require Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for support to a civilian nuclear program.

In May UN inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium on equipment from an Iranian research center linked to the military. Initial reports suggested the density of enrichment was close to or above the level used to make nuclear warheads. But later a diplomat accredited to the IAEA said it was below that, although higher than the low-enriched material used to generate power and heading toward weapons-grade level (AP, May 13, 2006).

On July 31, 2006, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1696, giving Iran until August 31 to verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing-related activities and implement full transparency measures requested by the IAEA. Though it is still unclear whether Russia and China will support more serious measures, the United States and its allies have made clear that they will ask the Security Council to impose economic and political sanctions if Iran fails to comply with the resolution. Iran immediately rejected the proposal and President Ahmadinejad called for the United States and Britain to be thrown off the Security Council, calling them criminals (JTA, August 2, 2006).

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, responded to the resolution by insisting that Iran will expand - not suspend - uranium enrichment activities. "We will expand nuclear activities where required. It includes all nuclear technology including the string of centrifuges," Larijani said, referring to the centrifuges Iran uses to enrich uranium (AP, August 6, 2006).

After Iran ignored Resolution 1696 calling for a freeze on its nuclear activities, the United States had hoped the Security Council would begin to impose sanctions. When France publicly opposed sanctions, however, it meant that three members of the council with a veto (Russia and China are the others) would not support the U.S. position. President Bush was subsequently forced to agree to set yet another deadline, this time early October, for Iran to comply. This was the fourth time in four months the Iranians were given additional time to agree to stop its uranium enrichment program in exchange for a variety of incentives (Washington Post, September 21, 2006)..

Missiles and Biochemical Threats
In August 2004, Iran tested a new version of its ballistic Shahab-3 missile ("Shahab" means shooting star in Farsi), which was already capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East. The Iranians subsequently announced the missile's range had been improved from 810 miles to 1,200 (AP, October 5, 2004). Iran says the missile is entirely Iranian-made, but U.S. officials say the missile is based on the North Korean "No Dong" missile design and produced in Iran. The United States also accuses China of assisting Iran's missile program. Earlier, in June 2004, Iran announced that it was producing a stealth missile, a rocket that can evade electronic detection (AP, June 1, 2004).

Iran reportedly tested a Shahab-4 missile designed to have a range of 4,000 kilometers in January 2006. In addition, Iranian opposition figure Alireza Jafarzadeh told the AP that Iran is now producing 90 Shahab-3 missiles, more than four times its previous production rate (, March 2, 2006).

In March 2005, Ukraine admitted that it had exported to Iran cruise missiles that are capable of reaching Israel and carrying nuclear weapons. In 2001, 12 Soviet-era X-55 cruise missiles with a range of 3,500 kilometers were exported to Iran.

Iran is also believed to have the capability to produce a variety of biological and chemical weapons. According to the CIA, "Iran may have already stockpiled blister, blood, choking, and possibly nerve agents -- and the bombs and artillery shells to deliver them -- which it previously had manufactured." In addition, the CIA says, "Even though Iran is part of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Tehran probably maintained an offensive BW program. Iran continued to seek dual-use biotechnical materials, equipment, and expertise that could be used in Tehran's BW program. Iran probably has the capability to produce at least small quantities of BW agents."

In late 2005, Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Iran is providing technical assistance to help Syria develop the means to produce VX and Sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent.

In December 2005, Russia announced plans to sell short-range, surface-to-air missiles to Iran. Moscow agreed to sell $1 billion worth of weapons to Iran, including up to 30 Tor-M1 missile systems over the next two years. Tor missiles can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 20,000 feet.

Iran has also acquired North Korean missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and reaching Europe, according to Israel's military intelligence chief. Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said Iran received a shipment of BM-25s, which have a range of 1,500 miles (JTA, April 28, 2006).

Sponsoring Terror
Iran is the patron -- spiritually and financially -- for most of the region's Islamic militants. It is the Iranian model of revolution, its institution of Islamic law and its anti-Western philosophy that characterize the rhetoric of many extremist groups. And it is Iranian money that often pays for the weapons, training and literature that are the backbone of Islamic extremist violence.

In October 2005, a senior Palestinian intelligence official revealed that Iran has promised a reward of $10,000 to Islamic Jihad if it launches rockets from the West Bank toward Tel Aviv. The money is transferred from Iran to Syria, from where Ibrahim Shehadeh, Islamic Jihad's head of overseas operations, forwards it to the West Bank (Sunday Times, October 30, 2005).

Tehran has been linked to numerous anti-West and anti-Israel terrorist attacks, ranging from taking hostages and hijacking airliners to carrying out assassinations and bombings. Some of these incidents include the taking of more than 30 Western hostages in Lebanon from 1984 through 1992, the bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the French-U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, the 1992 terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and on the Argentine Jewish communal building in 1994. Iran also provides transit and temporary safe haven to members of al-Qaida.

Deadly terror weapons have also been smuggled into the hands of Iranian-sponsored groups such as Hezbollah and used against Israeli civilians in commando-style raids. New rockets, more advanced than the Katyusha, were delivered to Hezbollah by Iran and may be used to bombard northern Israel.

A Military Response?
London's Sunday Times (March 13, 2005) claimed that Israel has a plan to attack Iran's nuclear reactor and that the U.S. would not block the attack if diplomatic efforts fail to contain Iran's nuclear development. Both Israel and the United States denied the report though both are widely believed to be contemplating military action if diplomacy fails. Labor MK Ephraim Sneh said that military action would be a last resort and Israel was hopeful the international community would reach a diplomatic agreement to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons (Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2005).

Meanwhile, Iran was reportedly using reinforced materials and tunneling deep underground to store nuclear components in an effort to protect them in the event of an attack (AP, March 4, 2005). More recent reports have indicated that Iran is racing to dig a network of tunnels and upgrade its air defences to protect its nuclear facilities from possible attacks (Telegraph, January 25, 2006).

Masud Yazaiari, spokesperson of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, warned in the past that Iran would respond to any Israeli efforts to stop their nuclear program. "Their threats to attack our nuclear facilities will not succeed," Yazaiari said. "They are aware that Tehran's response would be overwhelming and would wipe Israel off the face of the earth" (Maariv, July 27, 2004).

Iran has also asked the UN to lift sanctions on the country's uranium testing and conversion that were determined by the Paris Agreement. Iran claims that the testing is for peaceful purposes only. The United States is concerned, however, that Iran will seek to advance its nuclear capability and with it, its potential threat to Israel and other countries (CNN, July 6, 2005).

Threats Against Israel and America
"The only way to confront the Zionist enemy is the continuation and fortification of resistance and Jihad," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying September 3, 2005, in a meeting with the militant group Islamic Jihad's secretary general Ramazan Abdullah (AFP, September 3, 2005). In October 2005, recently elected PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad quoted Ayatollah Khomeini and declared, "As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map." The president added: "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism" (AP, October 26, 2005).

President Bush said February 16, 2005, "Iran has made it clear that they don't like Israel, to put it bluntly. And the Israelis are concerned about whether or not Iran develops a nuclear weapon, as are we, as should everybody....Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel, and I listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded my security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon, as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if their security is threatened."

Iran's nonconventional weapons are not a threat only toward Israel, they also pose a danger to the United States and its interests around the world. And the American people recognize this danger. According to a January 2006 Gallup poll, 19% of Americans see Iran as an immediate threat to the United States and another 65% said Iran is a long-term threat.

On June 15, 2006, Iran's defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, signed an agreement with his Syrian counterpart, Hassan Turkmani, for military cooperation against what they called the "common threats" presented by Israel and the United States. "Our cooperation is based on a strategic pact and unity against common threats," said Turkmani. "We can have a common front against Israel's threats."

Islamic Republic of Iran and the result of it's rule in Kurdistan

The existence of the Islamic Republic for more than two decades resulted many set backs for the Iranian people. The political, economical and social devastation has been huge for the people of this country. The Iranian regime has imposed the a series of discriminative policies in Kurdistan, which has ultimately resulted in the military occupation of Kurdistan, widespread poverty amongst this massive population, the suppression of Kurdish culture, drug addiction (especially amongst youth), religious suppression, forced migration, imprisonment, terror, torture, and the Killing of whoever opposing these tyrannical policies.

In August 1980, the regime of the Islamic Republic following various unfounded accusations and phony justifications, out rightly rejected the legitimate demands of the Kurdish people and lunched a massive military offensive in Kurdistan. The cities and villages of Kurdistan have been bombed heavenly with thousands of people killed or executed. Since that time Kurdistan has remained an occupied land. However, systematic harassment and killing of Kurdish people by the Islamic regime has not been able to crush the resistance of our people. The Kurdish peoples heroically continued the struggle for their human rights and their national democratic aspirations.

We have witnessed in recent years, a new growth and formation of political and cultural consciousness among the Kurdish people all over Kurdistan. A broad section of the especially young people, who are fed up with the repression of their national rights, the growing problems of mass poverty and unemployment, have started a new political dynamics in Iranian Kurdistan. Young people, who do not see any future for themselves under the tyranny and military occupation in Iranian Kurdistan, are considering more and more the necessity of organizing resistance against the Islamic Republic. Thus, we are witnessing a changing balance in the relationship of the forces in Iranian Kurdistan. These changes have manifested themselves in dozens of popular uprisings in Kurdish cities and towns in the last few years.

The necessity of changing the political system of government into a federal republic of states in Iran

Decided at Komala's 9th congress, July 2001

Iran is not one nation, but a large and wide country with several nationalities, languages, cultures and contrasts. Iran har unregulated developed both economically and socially, and has its historical foundation from different empires through several centuries.

The central ruling power from Reza shah and the establishment of the Pahlawi family has been founded on suppression and discrimination of minorities through 80 years. And now, under the clergical government, has the authoroties functioned reactionary and has struck against fighters of freedom.

The process of democracy, the people's ability to participate in ruling their own country (right of joint consultation) and the consideration of different nationalities and minorities has suffered, and has been oppressed for decades.

The acknowledgement of the rights of other nationalities and the legalization of rights and laws which is able to guarantee these rights, is the way to go to avoid suppression and unjust treatment of other nationalities and minorities. Safety and participation of other nationalities in Iran supports brotherhood and prevents conflicts and dissatisfaction.

The Kurdish people in Iran has claimed their national rights and the end to suppression for a long time, especially after the clergyical government came to power and struck down democratic and cultural rights.

23 years of brutality and suppression, imprisonments, expulsions, forced removals and evacuations of the civilian population, especially in the border zones, military occupation of Kurdistan, discrimination as to who will be able to educate themselves or to have jobs, are all results of the Islamic clergical government.

Iran must guarantee a situation where local political discrimination has come to an end. It must also give guarantees that the people can participate in ruling their country, and these rights must be established by laws of the Iranian constitution.

A future socialistic government of Iran will be based on equal rights and duties for all nationalities. Their voluntary participation in a federation of states is a guarantee for just treatment of all nationalities.

The federation of states in Iran is an alternative which guarantees these rights and strengthens the solidarity and joint consultation among Iranian groups of people.

visit this link and judge for your self !:
Safa Haer:

Islamic Republic Has No Claims to Morality or Democracy

To read this article, visit:


Twenty years after the "Islamic Revolution" the human rights situation in Iran remains poor. The Government restricts citizens' right to change their government, manipulates the electoral system and represses political dissidents. . Systematic abuses include extrajudicial killings and summary executions; disappearances; widespread use of torture and other degrading treatment; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of due process; unfair trials; infringement on citizens' privacy; and restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement. Religious minorities, in particular Baha'is, have come under increasing repression by conservative elements of the judiciary and security establishment. The Government restricts the work of human rights groups. Women face legal and social discrimination, and violence against women occurs.


I strongly encourage redaers to visit this link and see for themselves the brutalities perpetrated by this dictator regime.

Framarz Ghareeblu:

To: Hassan Azari,

You are obviously not an Iranian Turk. The Turks in Iran do not refer to themselves as Azeri. Since, we consider this term as an unwanted label. We are Turks. We love Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan just like the way a person loves his mother and father.

Anyone can come to these forums and masquerade as whoever they want so that they could present their political agenda.

Paul, DC:


Very few Americans have heard of PMOI to begin with. How is it that you know "The PMOI are a great hope and democratic"?

Stop the charade and do tell us who you really are.

Mary copper:

Do not talk, Attack Iran

I've been on the fence about attacking Iran over its nuclear weapons capability. On the one hand, I think a war with Iran would be very different from a war with Iraq. The main reason the occupation has been so difficult is because of the tripartite makeup of Iraq. Iran is almost exclusively made up of a single nationality and religion. On the other hand, our troops are stretched pretty far already, and it would complicate even further our delicate international operations, at a time when they are starting to knit back together.

I think this document, discovered in the late Abu al-Zarqawi's hideout, has just about pushed me over the edge into the "do not attack" camp. In short, the operational analysis memo says: "we're losing the resistance; the Americans and the new Iraqi government have outsmarted us; we can't compete anymore under the current situation". In order to compete effectively, it recommends trying to highlight the divisions between the Americans and the Iraqi Shi'ites. To do so, it suggests manufacturing evidence of Iran's involvement in Iraqi resistance attacks, manufacturing evidence of Iran's possession of WMDs, kidnapping hostages and making it look like the work of Iranian Shi'ites, exploding bombs in the west and planting Iranian fingerprints and evidence.

If the terrorists want us to attack Iran, I'm for not. This memo provides an excellent opportunity to ask the Iranians to disavow the memo, disavow terrorism activities, and turn on Al Qaeda and all those who would attempt to use Iran as a pawn in their own affairs.

Suzan Shemoil:

That is precisely why the Bush administration is barking so loudly. It wants to convince the Iranian leadership that it is preparing to bite -- to attack, invade and destroy their regime, perhaps even with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. But it's not working. It is only causing the Iranian leaders themselves to bark louder; to exaggerate their progress towards completing a nuclear weapon and to threaten terrorist retaliation by its suicide volunteers if Iran were to be attacked.

The war in Iraq is a two-edged sword when it comes to Iran. One edge demonstrates that the US is willing and able to topple dictatorial regimes which it regards as dangerous. That is the edge the Bush administration is trying to showcase. The other edge represents the failure of Iraq -- widespread public distrust of intelligence claims, fear of becoming bogged down in another endless war, strident opposition at home and abroad. That is the edge being seen by the Iranian leaders. The US threat is seen as hollow.

That leaves the Israeli threat, which is real, but limited. Who could blame Israel for seeking to destroy the emerging nuclear capacity of an enemy nation whose leader, as recently as 14 April 2006, threatened to eliminate 'the Zionist regime' by 'one storm' -- a clear reference to a nuclear attack. His predecessor, the more moderate Hashemi Rafsanjani 'speculated [in 2001] that in a nuclear exchange with Israel his country might lose 15 million people, which would amount to a small "sacrifice" from among the one billion Muslims worldwide in exchange for the lives of five million Israeli Jews'. According to the journalist who interviewed him, 'he seemed pleased with his formulation'.

These threats of a nuclear attack are being taken seriously by Israeli leaders, even if they are neither imminent nor certain. Israelis remember apocalyptic threats from an earlier dictator that were not taken seriously. This time those threatened have the military capacity to confront the danger and are likely to do so if it becomes more likely. Even if Israelis believe there is only a 5 per cent chance that Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons, the risk of national annihilation would be too great for any nation -- and most especially one built on the ashes of the Holocaust -- to ignore.

The Iranian leaders understand this. They take seriously the statements made by Israeli leaders that they will never accept a nuclear Iran under its present leadership. They fully expect an attack from Israel when they come close to producing a nuclear weapon. Why then are they not deterred by the realistic prospect of an Israeli pre-emptive (or preventive) strike? For three related reasons. First, an Israeli attack would be a limited, surgical strike (or series of strikes). It would not be accompanied by a full-scale invasion, occupation and regime change. Second, it would only delay production of a nuclear bomb, because it would be incomplete. Some nuclear facilities would be missed or only damaged, because they are 'hardened' and/or located in populated areas. The third and most important reason is that an attack by Israel would solidify the Iranian regime. It would make Iran into the victim of 'Zionist aggression' and unify Muslims, both inside and outside of Iran, against their common enemies. I say enemies because regardless of what role the US played or did not play in an Israeli attack, the US would share the blame in the radical Islamic world.

I am not going so far as to argue that the Iranian leadership would welcome an Israeli attack, but it would quickly turn such an attack to its advantage. If matters get worse domestically for the Iranian regime -- if the nascent anti-Ahmadinejad 'democratic' or 'secular' movements were to strengthen -- Ahmadinejad might actually get to the point of welcoming, even provoking or faking, an attack from Israel. This is why the threat from Israel will not work as a deterrent.

So we have two threats: one from a superpower -- the US -- that can but won't bring about regime change. The other from a regional power -- Israel -- that may well attack but, if it does, will not only fail to produce regime change, but may actually strengthen the existing regime.

The Iranians will persist therefore in their efforts to secure nuclear weapons. Unless they are stopped or significantly delayed by military actions, they will become a nuclear power within a few years -- precisely how many is unknown and probably unknowable. Armed with nuclear weapons and ruled by religious fanatics, Iran will become the most dangerous nation in the world. There is a small but still real possibility that it could initiate a suicidal nuclear exchange with Israel. There is a far greater likelihood that it could hand over nuclear material to one of its terrorist surrogates or that some rogue elements could steal nuclear material. This would pose a direct threat to the United States and all its allies.

The world should not accept these risks if there are reasonable steps available to prevent or reduce them. The question remains: are any such steps feasible? Probably not, as long as the US remains bogged down in Iraq. History may well conclude that America and Britain fought the wrong preventive war against a country that posed no real threat, and that fighting that wrong war stopped them fighting the right preventive war against a country that did pose a danger to world peace.

Mike Tender:

Face it. Iran will get the bomb. It has already test-fired rockets capable of targeting the entire Middle East and much of southern Europe. And it claims to have 40,000 suicide volunteers eager to deploy terrorism -- even nuclear terrorism -- against its enemies. With a nuclear capacity, the Islamic Republic of Iran will instantly achieve the status of superpower to which Iraq aspired.

Nothing will deter Iran. Sanctions are paper protests to an oil-rich nation. Diplomacy has already failed because Russia and China are playing both sides. Sabotage, bribery -- even assassination of nuclear scientists -- may delay but will not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. That leaves military threats and, ultimately, military action.

First, consider military threats. They are already coming from two sources: the US and Israel. Neither is working, for very different reasons.

The Iranians would probably give up their nuclear weapons programme if their leaders truly believed that refusal to do so would produce an Iraq-like attack -- an all-out invasion, regime change and occupation. Leaders, even religious leaders, fear imprisonment and death. Only the United States is capable of mounting such a sustained attack.

But the continuing war in Iraq has made it impossible for the US to mount a credible threat, because American public opinion would not accept a second war -- or so the Iranians believe. Moreover, America's allies in the war against Iraq -- most particularly Great Britain -- would not support an attack on Iran.


Blair: Iran a State Sponsor of Terrorism

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there is "no doubt" that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, and he urged the Islamic Republic not to obstruct the path to peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Blair told a British parliamentary committee Tuesday that he agrees with President Bush's criticisms of Iran, saying it "certainly does sponsor terrorism."

Asked whether anyone would believe him if he said a military strike against Iran was needed because it possessed nuclear weapons, Mr. Blair said it "depends on what the evidence base is."

In Tehran, state media quoted a foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi who dismissed Mr. Blair's remarks as being influenced by what he called the extremist stance of Israel. The spokesman denied Iranian involvement in terrorism and said Iran has itself been the victim of terrorists.

The exchange comes as negotiators from Britain, France and Germany meet in Tuesday for a new round of closed-door nuclear talks aimed at persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear fuel production program.


Iran most active state sponsor of terrorism - US report

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department's annual report on terrorism, released yesterday, lists six countries as state sponsors of terror, subject to US sanctions.

The following are the countries and excerpts from the report:

. Iran: Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security were directly involved in the planning and support of terrorist acts and continued to exhort a variety of groups, especially Palestinian groups with leadership cadres in Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah, to use terrorism in pursuit of their goals. In addition, the IRGC was increasingly involved in supplying lethal assistance to Iraqi militant groups, which destabilises Iraq.

. Cuba: Cuba actively continued to oppose the US-led coalition prosecuting the global war on terror and has publicly condemned various US policies and actions. Cuba did not undertake any counterterrorism efforts in international and regional fora.

The US report also listed other state sponsors of terrorism as Lybia, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.


NO amount of talk will solve the Iran problem. The leaders of Iran want the world at their feet and once they have the nuclear bomb god help us all.

The only way to rid the world of the ayatollahs' evil is to stand on the side of Iran's opposiiton, the PMOI and the people of Iran. The PMOI are a great hope and democratic.

Fred, Bos:

To Nader Hawrami :

You and your thoughts are, not only insults to the readers intelligence here but to all the human beings too.
Since I have compromised myself significantly here by acknowledging a forlorn like you, I might as well bring some facts to your attention here. The folks in DC, specially the Neo cons , are fully aware of the US military capabilities and its superiority over the Iranian's .
However, They , much unlike you, are also aware that as soon as the first bullet is shot towards Iran the Iranians, filled with pride and dignity that comes second to none, likewise, possessed with an unmatched history, culture and heritage will cross any terrains sail any waters and fly any skies not only to repel the aggressor or aggressors but bring them to justice too, and not only that, but some of them have also acknowledged that attacking Iran will be met with two opposing forces. The Iranian gov who have a separate agenda and the Iranian people, young and old, weak and strong, who would not shy away from defending the Motherland with whatever it takes. If it should be any interest to you, some in DC have already acknowledged that a Nuclear Iran is inevitable and indeed Iran should be a fool try not to be one .

You might find it rewarding if you ever decide to find your way out of this long and dark cave you have caged yourself in and see the light of the day.

Larry Bernstien, Sliver Spring:

I also advocate engagement. The whole of Middle East is going down a very slippery road. Force should be an instrument of policy not the "policy" itself.

Unfortunately the Bush administration is coming around (if at all, one never knows with this incompetent man!), but sadly it has caused considerable damage already.

Also, it would have been nice if people could provide summery of their opinions rather than long and tiresome triads.

sick of it:

Actually, (when some poster pretending to be "christie" or "chris" who spouts the
hate everything Middle East stuff,) we all know it's an Israeli type. Usually yelling to get the US to bomb Iran, etc. The rest of the world, and increasingly Americans are coming to the conclusion that the
savage Israelis are the US biggest problem, and that if they aren't controlled from their constant land grab and brutality trying to use US treasure and blood, the US will continue to lose ground, in addition to the hatred we have
garnered worldwide for our ISraeli support. So...

Morteza Ostajlu, USA:


I am a Turk and I am also an Iranian. Sure, we will not cosider an Iranian.

You are not a Yalanchi are you?

Azad Golru, Tennessee:

To: Nader Hawrami

This is what you said:

"In my opining, I strongly believe that the US should wipe Iran off the map."

How is the above statement compatible with your proclamation that you are advocating civil liberties for all minorities in that part of the world?

The above statement shows that you are as impartial as that clown Ahmdinejiad.

How many Arabs have suffered in Iraq due to the criminality of Saddam? How many Persians has this regime killed in Iran?

Most of the manifestos published on this posting are by people who do not even have Iranian Kurdish names (including yours).

Why do you say that I show sensitivity towards Kurds when Persians consider the Kurds their kin?

Can you point to any negative statement I posted against the Kurds? I just said everyone has and is suffering due to the incompetence of established regimes in that area and that the Kurds are not unique. Kurds were gassed by Saddam. Well, my friend he also gassed close to 130,000 Iranians.

Maybe you and I could have a joint chat on CNN one of these days.

Nader Hawrami:

To Azad Gurlu,

First of all when I cited suffering and presecution of religious and ethnic minorities in my posting, I did imply in general. There is no disparity among us. Be it Baahi, Kurds, Jews, Azari, Baaluches, etc. But your look like having a lit bit of sensitivity about the Kurds. Secondly, if your opinion matters so much, why do not you try to get an interview on CNN or BBC. I am certain there are a lot of people out there willing to hear yourvaluable point of views.

Rashid Kermanshai:

To Fryer,

i agree with you. I am Kurdish but I love Iran more than you do. I love my country to death. I am first an Iranian then a Kurdish.

Long life my much-loved Iran.

Hassan Azari:

To all fanatic Iranians:

I am An Azeri and will never deny my real identity. Please do not call me an Iranian. I love to have my own country and would love to see an independent Azerbaijan. Sooner or later , this reality will occur.

Lonf life Republic of Azarbaijan

Enough is enough.

Morad Baahi:

To fryer,

How many people you are going to shoot? Or hang ? If force and repression was teh solution, then from the very beginning of the revolution, We would not have any political dissident.

Robert Alex:

Guys ! What about partitioning Iran?


Hanging caught on video reveals Iran's crackdown on dissidents,,1957249,00.html

An estimated 100,000 Iranians have been executed under the mullahs of Iran...

John USA:

Daniel Doran is spot on. The Iranians have waged war against us for over 27 years now? Are we going to fight back or wait until it's too late?

Azad Golru, Tennessee, USA:

To: Nader Hawrami

Friend; I have news for you. Your opinion does not matter at all.

I did not attack anyone in my post. I just mentioned that all ethnic groups have suffered at the hands of corrupt regimes in that area. Mention one ethnic group that has not suffered.

You obviously have a lot of suppressed self-hatred. If you have anything substantive to say, please do.

Repeating clichés and jumping on the bandwagon of hatred is useless.

Your Persian friend.

Azad Golru

Fred, Bos:

To Rob Mike:
RoxieAmerica USA is one of the writers above whom I tried to encourage to get off his or her high horse and look aroud a little bit .
Be well.

Fan of Kam:

Kamron Soroush gets my vote too. Iranians enjoy the rich diversity of their ethnic background and do not use it as an element or excuse to start a fight.

I make it short as I don't think there is room here to publish a 1000 pages of STUFF!!


Fry every separatist rebel. Hang every one that wants to agitate Iran into civil strife or separatist trial, no questions. Just shoot them! If they choose bullets over ballots, they deserve no better!

Babak Boston:


I am not surprised you want the Mullahs to stay. If they leave, people like you -- who have enjoyed a measure of success without facing competition from talent -- will be unable to enjoy the same status.

Isn't this why ultra-religious families like yours had their revolution? To create a sterile environment in which they and their no-so-smart kids could have their success.

Rob Mike:

To fred Boss
Do not even try to use one of those words words" Roxie". because I know for fact you are not one of them. I undrestand you have to make a living, too. Every one has bills to pay.

Naser Asad:

To Mohamamd Hassan,

I am from Azerbaijan. I do agree with you. Like the Kurds, Azeri's have always been persecuted. Any new Iranian government should take into consideration the rights of all citizens and be compromised of members of diverse ethnic and religious minority groups. we should be able to have a say in the future of our country. Otherwise, Iran will be partitioned. Same like 1946. History can be reiterated. Do not forget the Republic of Mohabad and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Biji America Roxhi Jashakan:

I forgot to cite about the hot prostitution market, the rampant drug addiction and unemployment rate.

Do not take this personal. But read some books. It will help. This is not something made-up. Trust me. It is there.


Stop the execution and torture of the poltical prisoners


please visit this website:


'Today the American people voted for ... Democrats to take our country in a new direction, and that is exactly what we intend to do," said Nancy Pelosi, expected to be the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, in the wake of Tuesday's midterm elections. "The American people voted for a new direction to restore civility and bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., and Democrats promise to work together in a bipartisan way for all Americans."

The call for unity and cooperation just after a hard-fought election is as American as motherhood and apple pie. For all our sakes, however, this pledge had better not be mere boilerplate. Speaking from a particularly precarious part of the world, we simply cannot afford a United States that, in the midst of global war, becomes paralyzed by partisan bickering.

Though there is a long history of midterm elections of second-term presidents being treacherous for the party in power, it is clear that President George Bush and, in particular, the war in Iraq, cost the Republicans dearly. It is equally clear, however, that Democrats have presented no coherent alternative to Bush's policies.

Pelosi, set to become the leader of the victorious House Democrats, has endorsed calls for an immediate drawdown of American troops in Iraq. Other prominent liberal Democrats, such as Senator Joe Biden, have not, and seem to agree with Bush that simply walking away from Iraq is unacceptable.

The real problem, however, is not the shallow and unconstructive debate over Iraq, but that Democrats and Republicans have allowed Iraq to become a distraction from the main threat looming, that of a nuclear Iran.

Imagine that the Democrats could agree that withdrawing from Iraq was a good idea, and persuaded Bush to do so. How would this advance US interests, particularly with respect to the threat from Iran? This country has tried to present unilateral withdrawals as victories; the results can hardly be considered worth emulating.

What the US needs, instead, is a bipartisan strategy for victory. Such a strategy must be centered on forcing Iran to abandon its nuclear path. As it happens, a successful policy toward Iran is critical to winning in Iraq, since it is almost impossible to imagine democracy prevailing in Iraq so long as Iran is increasingly able to support terrorism there, eventually under the protection of a nuclear umbrella.

It is much more important for Democrats and Republicans to agree that the coming Iranian bomb must be stopped, and on a strategy to do so, than it is to pursue a deal on Iraq. If the US is seen to be moving with united determination on Iran, there should be ample ground for a "compromise" on Iraq that would gradually transfer more US security responsibilities to Iraqis.

The Republican losses in the Congress could be a blessing in disguise for Bush's foreign policy. The Democrats, now that they have a share of power, cannot simply emasculate Bush's foreign policy and then complain about the results. Politically, such a strategy is unlikely to assist the Democrats in their principle goal of retaking the White House in 2008. For that to happen, the Democrats must demonstrate that they will make Americans more secure in an increasingly dangerous world.

The best way for Democrats to prove that they should be given the chance to govern is for them to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Bush on foreign policy in the two critical years ahead. The sight of Bush and Pelosi reaching agreement on Iran policy would itself send a powerful message to Europe that America is not willing to live with a nuclear Iran, and would embolden these nations to toughen their own policies.
As unlikely as this positive scenario may seem to be, the alternative to it is frightening, and would be disastrous for America and the world. A divided America following a feckless Europe is a recipe for deterioration across the board, including defeat in Iraq and the emboldening of the radical axis that emerged in the recent Lebanon war: Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas.

The Democrats must resist the temptation to dedicate their new found power to the sole purpose of bringing down their nemesis, George Bush. They will be more successful politically if they do what is best for their country and the world, and join together to confront the terrorist tyrants that threaten us all.

Fred, Bos:

" RoxieAmerica USA "
I am not surprised at all to see how miserably you have failed to come to appreciate this space here. You ignorantly point to Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism while the mother of all evils and terrorisms is sitting right under your nose here.
You state Iran has a history of political assassinations inside and outside of Iran. Well, would you like me to go through the list that the great Satan has compiled as well as other crimes it commits round the clock in every little corner of the world ? it would put Iran to shame instantly in that respect only. Even if I did go through the list which would take days if not weeks, I would not be disclosing anything anyone here did not know. Well, with the exception of one illusioned one.


Russia sends defense system to Iran

Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.

Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a US$700 million (€565 million) contract signed in December, according to Russian media reports.

The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely criticized arms deals with Iran.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop weapons.

The UN Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions on Iran for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment.

The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.

Russian officials say that the missiles are purely defensive weapons with a limited range.

According to the Interfax news agency, the Tor-M1 system can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Russian media have reported previously that Moscow had conducted talks on selling even more powerful long-range S-300 air defense missiles, but Russian officials have denied that.



A religious Iranian bomb

The leaders of Iran, the ayatollahs, keep threatening that Israel, the Little Satan, and its master, the Great Satan - America - will be vanquished before long (three to five years?) by a triumphalist, nuclear-armed Islam determined to establish Allah's rule even at the cost of martyrdom. Yet the world does not seem too exercised. In fact Russia and China lend Iran a helping hand.

How serious is this threat, and, if it is serious, how to face it? At least part of the answer to these questions may involve factors, religious, nationalist and economic, that are not commonly discussed. Living in a secular culture, most of us underestimate the determination of true believers. We forget that only recently a relatively civilized Europe was engaged for centuries in the most bloody religious - and then ideological - wars. So we do not fully appreciate how martyrdom-seeking fanatics may take extraordinary risks and ignore the restraints that a balance of terror imposed on atomic confrontations in the past.

ESTABLISHING Muhammad's law by the sword, a basic duty for many Islamists (the Islamic empire stretching from ocean to ocean was not won, remember, by turning the other cheek), demands that Shi'ite Iran not only vanquish the Dar El-Harb (House of War) of Christendom, but also the intolerable Sunni heresy. The ayatollahs are therefore cleverly leveraging their war against Christianity and Judaism to also undermine, and eventually vanquish, Sunni regimes. For Jihadist Shi'ites, Sunni control of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, by their most extreme sect, the Wahhabists, must be as outrageous as was the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem to the Crusaders. They must fervently feel that Saudi occupation has to be destroyed and replaced by Shi'ite rule.

But there are other, national and economic, reasons why the ayatollahs seek the destruction of Saudi Arabia, an ally of The Great Satan. A proud and racist (Aryan) nation, the Iranians have probably not forgotten nor forgiven Saudi support - and perhaps instigation - of Saddam Hussein's bloody war against them. It took decades, but the Iranians avenged America for deposing Muhammad Mossadeq's nationalist government. They killed hundreds of marines, kidnapped, tortured and brutally executed CIA operatives; they took American diplomats hostage and humiliated them. They will do the same, and worse, to the Saudis when they get a chance.

AS FOR economics: After having destroyed its prosperous agricultural sector by slapping on price controls that benefited its lower-middle-class supporters (the Bazareens), the ayatollahs have had to spend an annual fortune on the huge welfare system that supports millions of farmers who migrated to city shanty-towns. Welfare, allocated by family size, encouraged a population explosion that more than doubled Iran's population and created a huge burden on the national treasury.

The Iranians, who always pushed for higher oil prices even under the Shah, are now dependent for their survival on high income from oil. Saudi Arabia wants to curb oil prices to avoid development of alternative fuels and sources.

Control of oil prices is behind Iran's systematic military preparations to control the gulf's shipping lanes. It was behind the bloody Iraq-Iran war, and it is still a major Iranian objective. It made Iran occupy the islands in the gulf's exit and establish a base in the horn of Africa to stop US reinforcements coming through Suez. The possession of an atomic bomb will, at a minimum, neutralize Western resistance to Iran's gradual control of the flow and price of oil. Iran could counter any Western intention to intervene militarily against such control by a credible threat to blockade oil shipping or incinerate the gulf's oil fields and vulnerable loading facilities, thus plunging the West into a deadly economic crisis.

The West is not likely to confront a fanatic, nuclear-armed Iran over the price of oil. It will most likely compromise, namely, cave in. Iran will then be able to initiate a huge transfer of wealth that will gradually impoverish and strangulate Western economies and facilitate their "peaceful" domination by Islam (see what Arab oil money has already achieved in Europe).

If an opportunity arises then to demonstrate their determination and supremacy, the ayatollahs will no doubt try to annihilate Israel.

MEANWHILE, the Iranians cleverly exploit Arab, especially Saudi, hatred against the West and Israel, not only to distract attention from their ultimate goals but to actually assist them, as in Iraq, to gather jihad under the Shi'ite flag. Their sponsorship of worldwide terrorism, their undermining of any possible settlement of the Palestinian issue helps them rile up and distract Arab Sunni masses. They hope that, eventually, when the tsunami of Muslim anger finally breaks its bounds, as they predict, it will also sweep away corrupt Sunni Arab regimes and replace them and their by-then discredited dispensation, by a purer and triumphant Shi'ism.

This is an argument I made as long ago as the early 1990s (in The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The Jerusalem Post).

A strict oil blockade then, resulting in a severe cut in income, could have undermined the stability of the ayatollahs' regime, dependent on huge welfare payments. It would also have denied them the means for their costly atomic program.

Today it may be too late. However, it may still be worthwhile to test how the ayatollahs' welfare- and military-dependent regime copes with a severe drop in oil income.

Otherwise, military action seems the only alternative

Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan:
Human Rights Watch about Iran:
Shahansha of Iran:

The only way to salvage Iran is by returning "The shah Family "back to power.

Korosh Baahi:

I am a member of Iranian Baahi community. Without any legal reason, I was imprisoned, and my whole property was confiscated. Due to my religious belief and mainly because I was not concerting, I was kicked out of university. I was deprived form being able to obtain a government job, as well. Had I not escaped, I could have been executed, as well.

Most of the people of Iran are not content with the current regime. And the only solution is by regime change. Support the Iranian opposition aboard and lets change the direction of our country an future of our people.

Morteza Isfandiari:

I am sorry to say this but this is the truth. I am ashamed to call or even introduce myself as an Iranian. We have lost our esteem and we never be able to gain it back. Thanks to the Mulla's regime.

Nader Hawrami:

To: Azad Gorlu

In my opining, I strongly believe that the US should wipe Iran off the map. Iranian theocratic and a totalitarian regime if not more is not less than Saddam's tyrannical regime. Iran is a threat to regional and global peace and security. Iran's international file is replete with crimes, extra-judicial executions, massacres, genocides, killings, suppression, oppression, repression, discrimination, subjugation, humiliation, violence, cruelty, intolerance, inequity, unfairness, torture, persecution, prosecution and so forth. Words are not able to describe the nature and attitude of Iranian government.

Therefore, Yes, I believe the US should attack Iran.

Eric Jette , SantaFe , USA:

Excerpt of interview With Nadia Bilbassy of Al Arabiya TV
C. David Welch, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs

November 22, 2006

Source URL:

QUESTION: How will this complicate the administration's mission, they were talk
about a window opening here in terms of cooperation with Iraq, there was
recommendations of the Baker- Hamilton group. Yet, there is complete
destabilization on the expense of stabilizing Iraq. How will this affect it?

A/S WELCH: Actually, this is not a burden upon the administration, this is a
burden upon Damascus and Tehran, who fail to see the opportunity that lies
before them, to play a positive role in the region. This is what the
international community expects, it's not expecting the United States to do
anything. It's expecting positive behaviors on the part of these countries.
Regrettably, that's not what I see happening.

QUESTION: Does this mean you are not going to talk to them?

A/S WELCH: We talk to them all the time, we have an embassy in Damascus, the
problem here is not conversation, its cooperation. In the case of Iran, of
course, we don't have diplomatic relations, but we have an offer on the table
in any number of ways to speak with them about Iraq or their nuclear program.
For their own reasons, they don't see it appropriate to pick that offer up.

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


Fact is, there's no shortage of communication.

The soverign Iraqi gov. is fully capable of determining its relations with its neigbors, and does not need the US to broker some "Grand bargain" with Iran on their behalf.
Nor should we, as a nation, expect anything less from Iran than full acceptance of , and adhearance to:

International norms of behavior, UN resolutions, and IAEA protocols.

Nor should we, as a nation, realisticly expect the leadership of Iran to change their behavior and policy of destabilization in the region, its sponsorship of terrorism, their abysmal human rights practices nor their WMD ambitions and programs, simply as a result of diplomatic chit-chat with the US, as has been suggested by many desperate pundits without a clue as to a solution.

Diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar, and it will require more than talk to halt the agenda of those who consider Martyrdom as the highest form of artistic expression.

(See URL video link in my November 25, 2006 12:51 PM post above.)

If there is one thing about people that's a given, it's that they can only change themselves. You can try to understand them, change their circumstances, try to point the roads to peace, but in the end, they must want it for themselves, knowing what the alternatives are.

The IRI is fast pushing the free world to another alternative that could be far worse, if the IRI does produce a nuclear weapon before the people decide their own fate, and remove the threat both to them and the international community.

Now I hear a fair amount of talk that the US is just using this as an excuse to promote \"regime change\". But the reality is if the regime isn\'t changed soon, the mullahs who are willing to martyr 10 million recruits (as also noted in IRI statements), and is on record of having an agenda of obliterating nations off the map, would certainly be willing to use such a weapon on their own people to make it look for all intents and purposes as if the Israeli\'s or the US had just attacked them, thereby creating the needed justification for holy war (or un-holy war depending on one\'s mindset), and thereby create the apocalyptic conditions of prophesy to hasten the mahdi\'s return.

Regardless of flaws in US policy that one may perceive, the risk the Islamic Republic poses to the Iranian people far outweighs by orders of magnitude, the risk the US government poses to you.

Why is that?

Because for the last 60 years since we dropped 2 atomic bombs to end a war that took over 50 million lives, my government has done everything in its power to make sure not another one gets anyone.

However, given the Iranian government\'s intent and actions, it is apparent to many globally that in order to maintain global peace and security, the current government of Iran must go....either quietly into the night, voluntarily returning to their mosques never to participate in politics again. Or by removal at the hands of the people themselves and/or be removed by the will of nations and force of arms.

At present, the US government has still a policy of "behavior change" in effect, has made a generous offer to resolve the "nuclear problem" diplomaticly in concurrance with other nations and a UN resolution mandating compliamce with international norms.

The regime has turned it down, and is apparently unwilling to be a functional member of the family of nations.

Don't blame the US for the choices the regime makes, nor the results that the consequences will ultimately manifest.

Anu-Shirvan Bozorgmehr, LA, USA:

Although I despise this regime for what it is has done to Iran. I support a dialogue between Iran and USA.

A disgruntled Iranian-American from LA.

It is beautiful to be Persian!!!!

Azad Golru, Tennessee, USA:

To: Kawa Rajab,

Nobody here has attacked Kurds. The question here is whether US should talk to Iran or not.

What is the response, a whole bunch of pre-prepared Kurdish grievances?

You are not the only who has suffered discrimination. If people do not want to hear all these cries about victimization it does not mean that they are anti-Kurdish.

All people in that area have suffered. Kurds are not unique. The Arabs, Kurds, Persians and Turks have all suffered due to corrupt leadership.

I am a Persian. I have suffered a lot as well. What makes you unique?

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA:

To: Mohammad Hassan

You are my brother and racial cousin. I wish the Kurdish people realize their long held dream of freedom.

Every one of your Iranian cousins wishes the same. We share blood, history, culture and much more.

Your Tabari brother.

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA

Kawa Rajab:

I see a lot of people who can not tolerate others point of views. It is very unfortunate. They have no respect for freedom of expression.

I do not know why talking about the Kurds bothers some people so much. Some of them have also been complaining that many Kurdish authors are posting their articles and writing about irrelevant topics. They are shocked that how come their words are not censored. They have forgotten that this is America, not back home.

But to all of them, I would like to say that every body reserves the rights to express his/her opinion freely.


The dispossessed and underprivileged people of Kurdistan account for 20% of the total population of Iran. According to the latest statistics, there are some 12-15 million Kurds residing in Iran. Both prior and post revolution, the Kurds actively seconded the Iranian leadership and struggle with their Iranian fellow citizens. In 1975, it was the very Kurds who coerced Saddam Hussein to admit defeat to Shah of Iran. During the Iraq-Iran war, once again, the Kurds sided with Iran and became the victims of the most unabashed chemical shelling of its kind. Unfortunately, the Kurds had to pay that heavy price because of their collaboration with the Iranian government. "We did gas them because they sheltered the enemies", announced Saddam in the state-run Television.

The Kurds were ceded many promises but never were they fulfilled. The Iranian regime has begun assassinating and terrorizing Kurdish political leaders. Hundred of Kurdish political prisoners are detained, tortured and brutally killed. Poverty, unemployment and illiteracy are at its highest, in Kurdistan. Religious and ethnic discrimination against the Kurds has doubled. The Kurds are brutally battered and censored. These are some of the facts documented by Human Rights Groups. One can not and should not contradict this fact. This is what is exactly happening in Iranian Kurdistan.

Like Iraq, Iran is also vast and heterogeneous consisting of many groups divided along ideological, ethnic, racial, religious and geographical lines. We have Kurds, Baluchies, Azaries, Baahis, Christians, Jews and as forth. The situation of Iraq will have its affects on the neighboring countries, as well. Either the Kurds of Iraq will have to be repressed and ruled by another dictator which is totally impossible or the neighboring countries should grant their Kurdish population the same rights. This will not only apply to the Kurds but all other existing religious or ethnic minorities. Baahis are fleeing the current regime's persecution and prosecutions. Azeris and Bahuchiies are not content and are being regularly victimized. The number of Iranian opposition is growing significantly.

The Kurds of Iraq fought for a century against dictatorship and totalitarian. Until finally, they got their rights. In Turkey, the same mistake is being made. Turkey is denying its 20 million Kurds their fundamental rights. The outcome: A civil war and 38,000 thousand people killed on both side. God know how many more casualties and how long more it will take? But one thing that is for sure is that force and suppression has never been and is not the alternative.

The Iranian government has to respect and grant its 12-15 million Kurds their rights. A representative and unity government should be formed in Iran where all religious, racial, ethnic groups can participate with out any discrimination. The Kurds also respect the Iranian territorial integrity and sovereignty and always take pride in being members of this great family.

Mohamamd Hassan

James McMahon:


Who is Maziar sanjari? I think his name is: Maziar Bahari.

The Neocons:

Oh, it is funny. Ledeen, (above)Wolfowitz
Perle,Feith, the Wurmsers, ScooterLibby
et. al.,the Jewish Neocons, are now doing interviews claiming to be, not
Pro Israeli warmongers, but IDEALISTS!!!..bent on bringing democracy to the ME, and the Arabs they love SO much.
You have to laugh, except look at the damage done. And they have the guts to try to rise again to continue the long long plan for world domination. And Iraq
burns. Bush was such a patsy.

Persian who loves Jews, LA, USA:

To Armin,

This is amazing. The only people on this list or any other list that I visit who are against the US and Iran talking to each other are the right-wing Zionists.

Regardless of your name, are you one of them? Remember, most people in Iran like Israel and Jews.

Ask Amir Meneshe of the Israel Persian Radio!!!

Alan, Boston, USA:

Dr. Kamal Artin

Who do you work for? Mike Leeden? CIA? Don Romsfeld?

You say:

"A main purpose of invading Iraq by the director of the new world was to lead the Middle East toward adopting the universal civic values of this century. Mistakes are inevitable, yet, it will be very naïve to think that the experts of the most developed country did not know what they were doing."

This is disgusting and unbelievable.

Where do you come from my dear lad? Who is naïve? It is almost pathetic on your part. If you are advocating that this administration is handling of the Middle East in an enlighten way you must be on their pay roll.

It is a pity that this country gets a whole bunch of defunct and corrupt individuals like you on our payroll so that they can defend our defunct policy.

Is there no shame?

John, Australia:

Too late! Too late! Too late to gain the full benefit of competance in the form of Baker. Too late to hold Iran's feet to the fire. Too late to form a bond of mutual benefit for Iran and the US. Too late to save Iraq. This should have been done after 9/11. Iran was the key stone in Central Asia. And we blew it. There has never been such a ninny-headed disaster in US foriegn policy ever, as the debacle of Iraq. We should all be deeply ashamed by the dolt we allowed to enter the white house. He did everything wrong.

Armin, Vancouver, Canada:

No matter What Maziar sanjari or other Islamo fascism helpers say: Mullahs Understand one language well :FORCE,... Force and Only decisive Force will put them where they are belong.

This a shame a film maker and a person who got his life in Europe and defending mullahs. Mazar Bahari you are just a traitor to Iran and iranians

John USA:

Talking with Iran is not just chit chat: it's about getting Iran to sign off on Iraq, the price tag for which will be either a security guarantee or a nuclear bomb. And that doesn't guarantee anything either because I think at this point noone can help Iraq now but the Iraqis.

Clearly one important and dubious assumption is that the sectarian and factional war in Iraq (which for a long time has surpassed anything like an insurgency against the US) is primarily a function of Iranian and Syrian policies and not--as is much more likely--a consequence of the nature of Iraqi society itself. The regional version of realism which places the emphasis on an arrangement with neighboring states tends to minimize the significance of domestic Iraqi concerns: which is exactly why it involves dismissing "democracy." Instead of pursuing the establishment of domestic Iraqi institutions, this strategy implies ceding influence to Tehran and Damascus, in order to "solve" Baghdad. (As if the Yugoslav wars could have been solved by "talking" in Budapest and Athens.)

The question we should all discuss is that can we afford to become partners with the mob in the region or can we or should we trust them to stop their terrorist activities across the globe armed with a nuclear weapon? Is stability worth freedom and a long-lasting peace?

are rearming Hizballah as we speak:,8599,1562890,00.html

Paul, New York, New York:

To Ahmed;

Forgive me; I had a hard time understanding your incomplete sentences. I assume you were implying that Iran is the cause of all troubles in Iraq. Iran has had a hand in the Iraqi affairs like us, the British, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Egyptians and whole host of other folks.

Think my good Arab friend. You and people like you provide the fertile ground for all these people to operate in.

US administration helped Iraq during the war, not the other way around. The Baath agents have to reconcile themselves that they have lost power.

The root of cause of the problem is the occupation of Iraq, augmented by Iraqi people's role in this whole nefarious scenario.

Andy K, UK:

Mr Bahari's article is an excellent analysis of US-Iran relations and outlines practical solutions to the various problems.

In particular, the proposal that opening the barriers to Iran will bring about the one and only thing that will result in regime change in Iran - freedom of speech.

ahmed n:

the iranian regime has played through his agents like challaby a great game by giving false information to american to revenge for irag iran war in fact the american showed that they are not wise enough on that and now they are trying to make the mistake again by thinking they can solve the proplem in irag you american just help to get rid of iranian from iraq and you will see how things will improve

Zoltan, hungarian, Paris:

I vote for Kamran Souroush.

Yet I don't think Cheney and Co. will talk with the Iranians because that might bring peace and these guys don't want peace.

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA:

Dear Dr. Matin,

It is a pleasure to hear from you.

Here are some observations:

I mentioned that I am an ethnic Tabari so that whatever I say on this forum is not taken as an attack on Kurdish people. I am also a minority like the Kurds. I am an Iranian-American. I do not feel oppressed. The two Pahlavi rulers of Iran (Reza Shah and late Shah) were also Tabari yet they did not make the Iranian national language Tabari.

Let us try to put some issues into perspective. There are millions of Hispanic Americans who live in the US. Do they study in Spanish or English? Do the Basque people in Spain study in Basque or Spanish? Do the Basque people in France study in French or Basque? What about the Welsh and Scots? These people are both Gaelic speaking people. Do they study in English or Gaelic in Great Britain? My wife and I recently went to Argentina to visit my brother and his family. I was amazed at the number of various ethnic groups in this country. English, German, Italian, French, Arabs etc, they all spoke Spanish and did not claim that they were being oppressed. The biggest so-called democracy in the world is India which has hundreds of local languages. Do the Indians study in all those languages of just study in Hindi and English?

In republic of Azerbijian I met a large number of educated Azeris who complained about Iran. But, yet when one would remind them that the Talesh people (cousins of Tabari, Kurds and Persians) were not allowed to study in their language in Azerbijian or have representation in the Azeri parliament; they would change the subject!

Iran and Turkey have a system that one can designate as "controlled representation" i.e., there are overseers of the processes. In the case of Turkey the Army plays this rule and in the case of Iran the theocracy. To say that the northern Iraqi Kurdish system is ahead of these evolving systems is false. Northern Iraqi system is at the very embryonic stage.

Iran's march toward plural representation started a hundred years ago, as you know. In 1950's the Iranians elected a national parliament and a genuine PM. Everyone knows the history behind what happened next. The Turks have also come a long way. I am not supporting either one of these systems. They are also responsible for numerous human right violations. As US government employees in Iraq we were receiving a large number of complains by the local Arabs and Turkmen about the human rights violations committed by the Peshmarge. I am sorry, but that is a fact.

The Kurds have suffered tremendously throughout the 20th century. Kurdish regions like most other regions in that area were what the historians call "principalities" i.e., they had a semi-autonomous local prince who had pay court homage to the central ruler. This was the case in Tabarestan (Mazandran) also.

My only exception was to the people who post manifestos and claim that the Kurds a have "democratic" system in northern Iraq and they are fighting a war on behalf of the West. They are not. Forgive me, my criticism of the northern Iraqi Kurdish system is not a personal attack. It is very flawed system, but yet again the Kurds have started on their way.
By the way, when the beloved Iranian patriot and intellectual Dariush Foruhar and his wife were murdered by the henchman of this regime, the people of Iran wept for him as an Iranian patriot and a Kurd.

Again, I advocate the US-Iranian rapprochement. It will benefit the region.

Yours truly,

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA

Aja Malveaux, N. Britain, US:

The so called moderates have been sidelined already in US politics. If there was any hope for a dialogue between Iran, Syria and US over Iraq or any other issue, the chances of that are slim to none. Here is what I am seeing:

1. Ehud Olmert paid a state visit the same day Baker/Hmilton was consulting with White House. Why? To convice everybody how wrong the idea of opening a dialogue is with anybody especially with Syria and Iran.

2. Rice said she will meet with anybody anywhere if she thought dialogue will help resolve issues. We have not heard a word from her since. Isn't she Bush's foreign secretary? Instead, Checney goes to Saudia Arabia to strong arm the moderates into submission.

3. Blair Said he wants to open dialogue with Arabs. Tzipi Livni is on his doorsteps to convince him otherwise. Why Tzipi? Because for all his ranting and raving Blair is a has been when it comes to world politics.

4. Syria wanted to open dialogue with US. Pierre Gemayel in lebanon gets shot down and killed and evidence or not automaticaly all fingers are pointing to Syria and they are made the devil reincarnation no matter how absurd it sounds that they would have a hand in this killing. The only two set of people that can benefit from this is neo cons in US and Israel. Would either do anything less to ensure a dialogue does not take place? Absolutely becasue the people who can "out" their own operatives can kill hundred Pierre's to get what they want. US media has already tried, convicted, and are ready to hang syrians for Pierre's killing.

5. Iran wants to open a dialogue with US and Iraq. "Secterain violence" forces the closure of airport in Baghdad forcing Talabani to cancel his visit to Iran. How convenient. Althouhg what was Talabani going to acheive by meeting Iranians is unknown because he is a nobody in Iraqi politics.

Is there a chance for dialogue between US, Syria and Iran? Not as long as AEI, Weekly Standard, and Cheney are running loose and running American politics. Baker/Hamilton can present whatever they feel like or whatever they feel will resolve the issue, but the hard part would be to sell that solution to Cheney and his gang. Or for that matter sell any solution even hinting of moderation to Cheney and his friends. At this point neither Bush I nor Bush II can do a whole lot to control what is going on.

ALS Alabama:

Khomeinism is not Islam. Khomeinism doesn't represent Islam. Ask the one billion sunnis. Khomeini and his ilk have disgraced Islam. They are nothing but a bunch of brutal kelptocrats who use Islam to enrich themselves.

Darren7160, Neenah, USA:

I find it interesting... if a person is not "rational" then he is a terrorists/supporter of an Iran that wants to dominate the world... if a person is "rational" then he is a subversive of the Iranians.

So, there is absolutely no way that anyone is going to listen. Lovely. I guess that the best people to listen too are the ones that so knowledgably lead us into Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction?

Our universities... those poor places. They are inflitrated by "liberals", "Zionists", "Eco-terrorists", "Islamic provocatours" and God knows what else. Oh, "Feminists", "Affirmative Action Nazis", "Political Correctness Police" ...

Whether we want to do it or not, there are 1.8 billion muslims and the majority are not terrorists and they will want to become full players in the world. I guess we can continue to label them all terrorists, piss them off until they become terrorists and then "kill them over there to keep from killing them here." Good solution.

Roger Tempe, AZ:

Any human being be it Iranian or otherwise who supports the murderous and ruthless thug like Khomeini as this guy does has no shred of humanity or credibility.

Below is a MUST READ article:

The Price of Amorality in search of seeking Stability

Jane, Kansas, USA:

Mr. Bahari is what I call a pocketbook supporter of the regime who has a lot to lose if his employers are overthrown.

I agree with the commenter who uses the mob analogy, except that the mob had far more honor and far less power than these nations states of thugs.
Munich was a wonderful talkfest, as well. And the ever-eloquent Churchill had something to say about it, too:

...[T]he terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting". And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.

Greg, Philadelphia, PA:

Not one mention in Mr. Bahari's blog of the political repression, murders of opponents of the regime, homosexuals, bahai's, the canadian journalist beaten to death, the oppressed arabs and azari's, all this we are to turn a blind eye to with a "realpolitik" approach to a bunch of mullahs who are only concerned with maintaining their oppressive rule? Also, are the comments by Iran's president calleing for the annihilation of Israel just something to chuckle about, saying, oh, he doesnt mean it, it's just for domestic discussion?

Let's not gloss over the hundreds of thousands killed by this brutal regime and its continued oppression of so many in Iran, for some sort of bogus "accomodation".

The day I see all these mullahs pay for their sadistic crimes at the end of a rope will be a happy day.

Eric Jette , SantaFe , USA:

Maziar Bahari -


My answer to Ahmadinejad's wrong thinking-ness is that raising a family, growing old and watching your kids thrive and prosper in peace, and knowing the joy of this over time, having contributed to its manifestation , having created one's reality , a new generation, the ultimate artistic endeavor.

La Familia, Solidarity, question a man (or woman) would give their life to save one's family, but that would not be art, rather shear and tragic neccessity in extreme circumstance.

Antar (Ahmadinejad) is putting a cause above family to the extent that it appears that the leadership of a nation advocates national suicide on an artistic basis, for meglomaniacal ends, and those who advocate such lack of respect for life and Islam itself should be given a one way ticket to a padded cell in hell....the Islamic version of hell that the hands of the global umma itself.

This is the bit that really convinces me that he is a taco shy of a combination plate....Islam is already global....What exactly is this guy's major malfunction?....unless of course he is advocating a global purge of all non-Muslim people, then that is public advocation of Genocide on a global scale and will not be permitted to occur.
The incitement , inducement, rational, however you wish to characterize Antar's advocacy of Martyrdom in the context of this video... is in and of itself, evidence of, and grounds for inditement on charges of intent to commit mass murder, in an international court of law.

Those of the Muslim faith, as well as those Iranians who read this have my great sympathy and support for the choice that you must now make in favor of individuals, to preserve your families, nation and the umma itself from those who lead a great nation and people over oblivion\'s cliff.

Zahra, LA:

,No Wonder Maziar Bahri can have special help and access from Iranian government to make his movies.

Mr. Bahari, the more you defend Theocracy in Iran, the more worry-free movies you can make, who knows, one day you may become makhmalbaf.


The academia in the US is infested with all kinds of Iranian-born Sympathizers of the Islamic Republic. The IRI spends millions in recruting them to peddle their propaganda/agenda in the Western countries.


Let's face it. The US interests in the region doesn't dovetail with the Iranian interests. And talking to Iran is akin to talking to the mobs. It would be strategic suicide to have Iranian terrorist as a de-facto partners in the region or give them security guarantees.

Malleck Amode, Swift Current, Canada:

Maziar Bahari's analysis is impeccable except for one fatal mistake -- continuing to fall into the trap of the Sunni-Shia purported divide. The popular perception in Iran's bazaars as well as in the souks of the Arab and Sunni-Muslim world is that the peoples of the Muslim world are being denied an opportunity to attain economic development and materail well-being in the full respect of their Muslim identity, preceisely because it is in the interest of the consumption-obsessed Western public to exploit this Sunni-Shia divide to keep them undert US and Western knuckles.

These ingredients of the common Muslim Weal are ubiquitous in Bahari's analysis, as is the implicit argument that the US wrongly casts its standoff with Iran in terms of a 'zero-sum game'. What mars Bahari's analysis, and what led to the 'mini-min' outcome whereby, to use the phrasing of the title of Francis Wheen's book, Mumbo-Jumbo Conqured the World after 1979, was the eternal mistake, by the US and by the West, to give more credence to dissenting groups in exile than to new regimes with whom they had differences. This was the case with the Mujahidin Khalq in Iran, this has been the case with Ahmad Chalabi and Zalmay Khalilzadeh in Iraq, soon, I am afraid, there might be similar miscalculations with Benazir Bhutto/Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan, with illegitimate/people-disconnected dissident groups in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan as the current rulers lose their grip and play the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation card instead.

Bahari is right that the West needs to have a more enlightened. long-term view of its interests and be more modest in recognising that the best overall outcome is mini-max rather than maxi-max in favour of the US and the so-called freee world -- as Senotor Eugene Mc Carthy would put it -- other peoples have aspirations, too.

Bahari, on his part, should give more thought to the fact that Iranain poolicy-makers should not, figuratively, repeat the 1982 Iranian mistake of implementing a ceasefire after it had repelled Iraqu invading forces back beyond the Shatt-al-Arab into Iraqi territory. In case any group close to Hizb'Allah in Lebanon has anything at all to do with the Pierre Gemayel assassination, it would similarly be constructive for Hizb'Allah to sever realtions with such groups and, if necessary, Iran should use its influence to encourage it to do so. Finally, with regard to the uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons/nuclear energy issue, Iran should pursue clearly and unequically what the Arms Control Organisation calls the 'negative security assurances' options, namely that the US and EU-3 should provide Iran with a guarantee of no first-use of nuclear weapons against it and for nuclear energy cooperation along the lines agreed with India for Iran's total cessation of nuclear enrichment that might lead to weapons acquisition.

Unlike Bahari, I was not in Tehran in 2002 before the invasion of Iraq but I was there in 1979 when, daily ten MIGs at a time were flying at low altitude over Tehran to intimidate the population even as, every night, in deference to Khomeini's instructions, the whole people of Iran would climb on their rooftops despite a total blackout, sending loud chants of "Allahu- Akbar" to the heavens. Weeks later, those chants forced the Shah to leave the country. That would have been the golden occasion to "bring democracy to the Middle-East". Unfortunately, willful or unintended miscalculations allowed 'Mumbo-Jumbo to Conquer the World".

Let us intelligently conjugate efforts to prevent that kind of a tragedy to happen again.

Mehrdad Momeni, Baltimore,:

This guy, Maziar Bahari is blind and need to be helped. he need to read little bit about history of Islamic republic , if he knows mullahs, then he better be refereed to a mental hospital. Mullahs are smart in one thing create paid agents in all sectors of free countries.

Amir , New York, USA:

Islamic regime plays in two different fields, one is Ahmadinejad and his open talk style but the second one and more important is a covered and intelligent face that we can see in Maziar Bahari's article. For over ten years Iranian mullahs have tried hard to send their paid and unpaid agents in form of university lectured and academists to uses open society like the USA and help Iranian regime for its crisis. Maziar Bahari is saying nothing but same verses that Iranian mullahs and their followers preaching for past 28 years. Maziar Bahari talk about Iranian regime more like he is referring to Swedish government, in his article do you see a word what Islamo fascists in Tehran have done to their own people in past 28 years? Newsweek and Washington Post cares? We do not know how many mullahs agents have sneaked into Western Media but dealing with ruthless mullahs need more than helping them.

John, Seattle, USA:

Mr. Kamran Souroush wins the prize today for the most cogent comments. Regarding all the windy Kurdish manifestos, not only are they out of place and unhelpful in finding a way to unwind the fiasco in Iraq, it seems they are beating the war drums in alliance with the neo-cons and the Aipac affiliated pundits and lobbies.

Hey, we are currently loosing two wars at the same time, on which we are spending around nine billion a month, not paying for the war costs but largely borrowing them from the People's Republic of China, and building up a store of fury against us caused by the blood storm we have unleashed. We absolutely must resist the calls for further disaster. Mr. Maziar Bahari's wisdom should be heeded by the Baker Commission.

Dr. Amir Matin:

Dear Kamran Souroush,

Oppression occurs at different levels and aspects. You feel the need to explain yourself and define what Tabari is to your fellow homelanders. This is a sign of an repressed nation. Azeris can be oppressed by Azeris. You do not need to be oppressed by outsiders only. Azeris are oppressed because they do not have ethnic and language freedom and they do not have right to self determination. If Azeris truly do not wish these rights, it is not an oppression. I agree that Azeris have more than their share of power and budget. Kurds are oppressed at all levels and have been asking for them by all means.

Regarding your comment about the Kurdish government in Iraq, of course it is not perfect. But, it is operating better than most democratic-looking countries such as Iran and Turkey.

Sol, Boston, MA:

Where can I get to see Mr. Bahari's films? I saw Refugees of the Saint Louis and it's one of the best films ever made about the Holocaust. Now that I've read this article. I'd love to see his other films.

Iranian voice:

WHAT a shame, a clear Iranian voice from which a great discussion might have emerged. And information we don't get from the Jewish American press. But no, we get a few well intended, but overlong, esoteric manifestos and then the expected Israeli vitiole and screaming. It gets so old.

Darren7160, Neenah, USA:

While it is probaly best to ignore the comment comparing whether Iranian newspapers have American columnists and thus somehow equating that to whether American papers should have Iranian columnists... I just can't.

We are a nation of individuals... many come from previous and current "enemies" of America. What exactly about America is it that you wish to defend? The geographical borders only? Or the ideas of America that makes us a nation we are proud to live in?

The arrogance of ignoring people with an opposing or knowldgeagble view just because they don't agree with us lead us into the fiasco we are in right now! Groupthink is the result of the arrogance of knowing all the answers.

I, for one, wish to understand. To use my intellect to rise above the base "feelings" and prejudice. To reply on multiple sources of informaiton rather than the speeches of the administration and the talking heads on television.

Maybe if we would have listened to someone other than Americans from AEI and PNAC we wouldn't have been sold on the "Welcoming us with open arms!" commentary. But, hell, why bother with pointing out facts from the past. We do not wish to LEARN from them... that was then, this is now. Sigh.

Gentlemen, please continue!

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA:


As a member of a US government aid agency I have been to Northern Iraq. I have seen the corruption and the clan politics first hand. Kurdish society is very tribal. This does not make it bad. But, that is a fact. The so-called Kurdish parliament is very much a hand-picked entity.
As I mentioned I am an ethnic Tabari from the Caspian Sea region of Iran. I came here as a young boy. Ethnically and linguistically we are very close to Persians, Kurds, Gillakis and the rest of the folks in Iran.

This article talks about possible US engagement with Iran. Yet, we are bombarded with ethnic manifestos by people with dubious connections.

Just a passing thought. The supreme leader of Iran, Mr. Khamenie, was born in the city of Mashad in eastern Iran, but ethnically he is an Azeri. The commander of Iran's Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) is also an Azeri. The commander of Iran's Armed forces is an Azeri. The chief of Iran's intelligence service is an Azeri. Iran's current Empress, Frah Deibah Shah's wife, is an Azeri. During the last 500 years we have 3 mixed Azeri-Persian dynasties ruling Iran. Safavi, Afshar and Qajar. Two of these; the Afshar and the Qajar were initially Qezelbash tribes. During the Qajar dynasty the Iranian Crown Prince used to reside in Tabriz!

Now, if you open any newspaper in the Republic of Azerbaijan (I have been there as well) you will see a variety of articles accusing Iran of suppressing the Azeris in Iran!!!

Either people are completely ignorant of what is happing in Iran or they have ulterior motives.

Yours truly,

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA

Dr. Amir Matin:

What is all the fuss about staying on the topic. If you do not like to read a post, just scroll down. The panelist touched everything and nothing and mixed small professional issues to huge international issues, so it is hard to stay within the framework.


Point of contention. The Isrealis did not purposely target civilians, but terrorists your government supports. If they intended to target civilians as you claim they did, on purpose, they would have killed many thousands. Those that were killed were sadly unfortunate victums whose blood lies at the hands of the proxy military force Hezbollah you created and pushed to escalate a war with Isreal for your own good, and that good was the worlds attention being swept away from your nuclear progeam.

Yes the war in Iraq ia stalmated, with the terrorists and sectarian violence drowing in blood everyday, utilizing a poorly entrenched government to propagate their thousand year hatred. And we need to talk with Iran, in oder to facilitate an exit strategy compliant top all, but it amazes me that the Iranians view point even has to be considered being they have supported and maintained the terrorist cells now operating in Iraq. Was Iran next. I doubt it the Bush Admin only wants to take on issues they think they can solve. Afghanistan was a must, Iraq was a mistake and so is negotiating with the dubious realms og Syrian And Iran, but it must be done.

James,Los Angeles,USA!:

How many Americans are writing for Iranian newspapers ? Get Lost !

Amir, Paris:

It would be really sad if the Kurds run their country the same way they post comments here! While I agree with most of what Mr. Bahari says in his thoughtful piece I would have liked to see people discuss what they found wrong with his arguments. He doesn't even discuss the question of ethnicities in his article yet most of the comments are about the situation of Kurds. Please have respect for the context my friends and write within that framework. I would've loved to discuss the problem with the education system or press freedom here but this is not the time or the place.

Darren7160, Neenah, USA:

In regards to the Kurds in the discussion, people have an amazing ability to assign the same level of importance to whatever is highest on their list. In other words, they may rate their #1 problem as a 10 and their #2 problem as a 3, but once they clear up the #1 problem that #2 problem becomes the new #1... and guess what? They would rate it as a 10 problem. So, if the Kurds are not within an equation then they soon will be, and it is best to plan.

Now, these are some of the most insightful comments I have seen and I appreciate them immensely. However, what makes anyone think that Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan or any other middle-eastern country will ever achieve parity on the world stage?

I believe the last time a middle-eastern country was treated as an equal was back in the President Carter administration.

Look at Turkey. This is a constitutionally secular muslim country. Has been for almost 100 years. They have been a part of NATO for over 50! They fought with us in Korea, the cold war and they allowed us to use Incirlik AFB during the first Gulf War.

With all this history they are yet seen as "acceptable" enough to join the EU! The reasons given are many and Turkey is being made to look almost foolish dancing to the Westerners tune.

Papers can be written, discussions can be made, suggestions can be offered... but I do not see any indication that America and Europe are willing to accept a society that doesn't resemble themselves.

America is locked into a myopic view of the world and our place in it. The Republicans have invested such a stake in fear and misconceptions that they cannot openly address the problems.

They are not questioning their assumptions, they are questioning the execution! Somehow they have convinced themselves that this time they just need to do it better! More force, more strategically placed air strikes...

Sadly, their lies (of comission and omission) and the arrogance of their actions have completely spent any crediblity that this administration had, here and overseas. Like the boy who cried wolf, after talk of mushroom clouds from Iraq, no one is listening to them anymore. Well, other than the pundits on some stations. Which for them is a very safe bet... they don't risk anything by vilifying people... if we get his they can say they were right, if we don't get hit they can say that their screeching kept us safe. No solution required!

Nothing of substance will be accomplished until a new administration is elected.

Here we go again.....:

Here we go again! More talk in a very abrasive environment and a platform for book length comments about the Kurds.

The fact is quite simple: Iran and USA are acting like a divorced couple after a bad and long divorce proceeding. Both sides must understand that the other side is older and, presumably!, more mature.

But again, I am assuming that every one can act with maturity. For the time being, that is a bad assumption!


To Mr. Souroush,

I would have to agree that this forum is not a place for publishing the aforementioned manifestos. Nonetheless, you should visit the Kurdistan Region in Iraq before claiming that it is a "fiefdom of clans run by the Kurdish Mafia." While it is not a U.S. style democracy, the level of freedom present is far better than the surrounding regions especially when considering the conditions of the Kurdish people in the other three states. I sincerely hope that the Kurdistan Regional Government cleans up its act soon before losing another opportunity for the Kurds.

karl,montreal, CA:

Thank you Mr. Bahari for a fair opinion on the subject.
We are at a point that is very crucial in a long history of Middle East.
It's so crucial that not a single expert can forecast the outcome.
But let's examine what has been happening lately:
The neo -con's dream has evaporated .not because of the plan to redrew the Middle Eastern map but the awaking of some freedom loving American in the US that see their liberty threatened
The return of "the wise men" to teach Mr. Bush to listen to his dad.
The violence in Iraq and Lebanon.

I think for the situation to have a face saving solution for both sides they should engage in talk and the worse outcome would be that it will not lead to anything but it would be much better than attacking Iran which would have disastrous effect on the whole region.
We know from the example of Hezbollah that sheer force is not the answer to everything.
And like the author says the nuclear dossier should be put aside because even the CIA estimates that Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away form a bomb.

again some could argue that we cannot talk to mullahs for they are evil and they have terrorist links and human right issues and so on but if we wanted to base all American ties on these issues we should stop talking to china , Russia, Saudis , Egypt ,Pakistan and many more countries.
Americans should not forget that their officials brought this upon them for what they did with Mossadeq 60 years ago (Iranians have not forgotten it) and what they did in Iraq and many more that I will not elaborate.
Now the 2 men in the forefront of this entire situation Bush and Ahmadinejad who have many thing in common they were both selected and not elected, they are both out of touch with reality of their people, they are evangelists, and they both take orders from other people. We should not let ourselves be fouled by them.

DE Teodoru NYC, NY USA:

It is time to recognize that American hubris was defeated. In Vietnam's 105 degrees temperature we were sweating profusely but to no avail-- evaporative cooling cannot operate in near 100% humidity. In Iraq the humidity is almost 0, but we still can't gain from evaporative cooling because we are wrapped in Kevlar armor. In contrast, the enemy has only an AK-47 and the clips he can carry. There's no medical corps, no trauma surgeons. Our enemy fights on raw courage and even a willingness to die killing infidels. He assumes that the more of us he kills, the more gladly will God welcome him into Paradise. This is the "nuclear weapon" of the Jihadis. And this weapon assures that we cannot permanently base in Iraq to insure that its oil reserves will be fully plundered, making it the world's second largest producer.

Perhaps there are some oil barons crazy enough to be taken by the neocon swan song: we are losing in Iraq because we failed to take-over Iran. If you believe that, then the WMD and nuclear case of post-9/11 is as good for you as the alchemy of turning lead into gold. But if you are an American who sees every volunteer American soldier as his/her son/daughter, then you can't consider yourself a real American unless you will not allow to be done to these your sons/daughters what you would not allow to be done to your biologic kids.

The Bush Machine has proven to be as uncaring for others as it is greedy and corrupt. And it has proved as incompetent as it is mendacious. As a Republican who worked heart and soul for Bush's election in 2000, I devoted the next six years to putting that evil genie back in the bottle.
But he is president so he can continue to damage America as a global power and as a nation by presenting Congress with another fait accompli: an air attack of Iran. The cost would be devastating to OUR children fighting in Iraq. We cannot attack North Korea because of its ability to kill our helpless 50,000 troops on its border. In Iraq we have three times as many soldiers. Are you willing to make your kids there face Iran's retaliation? If not, then make your voice heard: NO WAR ON IRAN!

But then, is there reason to attack Iran....Answer: no more than the false WMD reasons for attacking Iraq-- there's no there there!

On the other hand, Iran is no more "un-democratic" than China. But we believe that by economic penetration we can produce political change in China...Why not do the same with Iran, they are ready to welcome our capital!

EJ Dionne once said it all: the Bush Administration has taken a long vacation from complexity. The results are clear in an endless array of failures to meet its responsibilities to the American people. Let us spend the next two years exposing why and how such imbecility ruled America. This is the job the Democrat Congress was elected to parade before us through hearings. As a Republican I demand it as harsh medicine we need in order to get better.

In the meantime, it is time to return the once Leninist revolutionaries, now right wing "neocons" who sought to prove themselves "mensch" by starting what they call "World War IV" to produce Israeli domination of the Middle East...It is quite clear that Israel doesn't want it. Instead it wants to be integrated in the Middle East, peacefully guiding the Arabs to economic survival through high-tech development once we are free of our fossil fuel dependency.

We could have beat the Islamic extremism that feeds Jihad through terror by a JFKesque marshaling of all science and engineering in America to make us oil independent in a decade. But we didn't; instead we gave Bush OUR children to suffer death or maiming in Iraq. Yet, every time we "fill-up" our SUVs, we contribute to the Jihadi....We thus have been funding BOTH sides, endangering our heroic children!

We must allow Iraqi Shia-Sunnis-Kurds to settle their national unity by themselves. In the meantime, we arm and train local units all over Iraq-- just as we did in Vietnam-- while we gradually withdraw. In the meantime, we owe Iran and Syria full diplomatic recognition and reward them economically for cooperation in helping us bring peace to Iraq as we withdraw on a clear commitment schedule. We are not Superman so we should cease the bravado and arrogance. Cooperation will get us the globalism we seek. Step one, Bush should make a surprise visit to Tehran, and with his winning smile extend his hand in peace to Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.

DE Teodoru NYC NY:

It is time to recognize that American hubris was defeated. In Vietnam's 105 degrees temperature we were sweating profusely but to no avail-- evaporative cooling cannot operate in near 100% humidity. In Iraq the humidity is almost 0, but we still can't gain from evaporative cooling because we are wrapped in Kevlar armor. In contrast, the enemy has only an AK-47 and the clips he can carry. There's no medical corps, no trauma surgeons. Our enemy fights on raw courage and even a willingness to die killing infidels. He assumes that the more of us he kills, the more gladly will God welcome him into Paradise. This is the "nuclear weapon" of the Jihadis. And this weapon assures that we cannot permanently base in Iraq to insure that its oil reserves will be fully plundered, making it the world's second largest producer.

Perhaps there are some oil barons crazy enough to be taken by the neocon swan song: we are losing in Iraq because we failed to take-over Iran. If you believe that, then the WMD and nuclear case of post-9/11 is as good for you as the alchemy of turning lead into gold. But if you are an American who sees every volunteer American soldier as his/her son/daughter, then you can't consider yourself a real American unless you will not allow to be done to these your sons/daughters what you would not allow to be done to your biologic kids.

The Bush Machine has proven to be as uncaring for others as it is greedy and corrupt. And it has proved as incompetent as it is mendacious. As a Republican who worked heart and soul for Bush's election in 2000, I devoted the next six years to putting that evil genie back in the bottle.
But he is president so he can continue to damage America as a global power and as a nation by presenting Congress with another fait accompli: an air attack of Iran. The cost would be devastating to OUR children fighting in Iraq. We cannot attack North Korea because of its ability to kill our helpless 50,000 troops on its border. In Iraq we have three times as many soldiers. Are you willing to make your kids there face Iran's retaliation? If not, then make your voice heard: NO WAR ON IRAN!

But then, is there reason to attack Iran....Answer: no more than the false WMD reasons for attacking Iraq-- there's no there there!

On the other hand, Iran is no more "un-democratic" than China. But we believe that by economic penetration we can produce political change in China...Why not do the same with Iran, they are ready to welcome our capital!

EJ Dionne once said it all: the Bush Administration has taken a long vacation from complexity. The results are clear in an endless array of failures to meet its responsibilities to the American people. Let us spend the next two years exposing why and how such imbecility ruled America. This is the job the Democrat Congress was elected to parade before us through hearings. As a Republican I demand it as harsh medicine we need in order to get better.

In the meantime, it is time to return the once Leninist revolutionaries, now right wing "neocons" who sought to prove themselves "mensch" by starting what they call "World War IV" to produce Israeli domination of the Middle East...It is quite clear that Israel doesn't want it. Instead it wants to be integrated in the Middle East, peacefully guiding the Arabs to economic survival through high-tech development once we are free of our fossil fuel dependency.

We could have beat the Islamic extremism that feeds Jihad through terror by a JFKesque marshaling of all science and engineering in America to make us oil independent in a decade. But we didn't; instead we gave Bush OUR children to suffer death or maiming in Iraq. Yet, every time we "fill-up" our SUVs, we contribute to the Jihadi....We thus have been funding BOTH sides, endangering our heroic children!

We must allow Iraqi Shia-Sunnis-Kurds to settle their national unity by themselves. In the meantime, we arm and train local units all over Iraq-- just as we did in Vietnam-- while we gradually withdraw. In the meantime, we owe Iran and Syria full diplomatic recognition and reward them economically for cooperation in helping us bring peace to Iraq as we withdraw on a clear commitment schedule. We are not Superman so we should cease the bravado and arrogance. Cooperation will get us the globalism we seek. Step one, Bush should make a surprise visit to Tehran, and with his winning smile extend his hand in peace to Ahmadinejad and the mullahs.

Winston Smith, London, Oceania:

James Baker's Double Life

[from the November 1, 2004 issue]

When President Bush appointed former Secretary of State James Baker III as his envoy on Iraq's debt on December 5, 2003, he called Baker's job "a noble mission." At the time, there was widespread concern about whether Baker's extensive business dealings in the Middle East would compromise that mission, which is to meet with heads of state and persuade them to forgive the debts owed to them by Iraq. Of particular concern was his relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake.

Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker's loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy--an unpaid position--has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker's influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.

The secret deal involves a complex transaction to transfer ownership of as much as $57 billion in unpaid Iraqi debts. The debts, now owed to the government of Kuwait, would be assigned to a foundation created and controlled by a consortium in which the key players are the Carlyle Group, the Albright Group (headed by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright) and several other well-connected firms. Under the deal, the government of Kuwait would also give the consortium $2 billion up front to invest in a private equity fund devised by the consortium, with half of it going to Carlyle.

The Nation has obtained a copy of the confidential sixty-five-page "Proposal to Assist the Government of Kuwait in Protecting and Realizing Claims Against Iraq," sent in January from the consortium to Kuwait's foreign ministry, as well as letters back and forth between the two parties. In a letter dated August 6, 2004, the consortium informed Kuwait's foreign ministry that the country's unpaid debts from Iraq "are in imminent jeopardy." World opinion is turning in favor of debt forgiveness, another letter warned, as evidenced by "President Bush's appointment...of former Secretary of State James Baker as his envoy to negotiate Iraqi debt relief." The consortium's proposal spells out the threat: Not only is Kuwait unlikely to see any of its $30 billion from Iraq in sovereign debt, but the $27 billion in war reparations that Iraq owes to Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion "may well be a casualty of this U.S. [debt relief] effort."


Dave!, Annandale, USA:

Dr. Karadzic is right on. Really, what is in it for the US? Could Iran really help us in Iraq? Have you listened to what Ahamdinejad says? Bush trying to work with the Iranians would be the single biggest mistake a US president has made since sending over some "advisors" to Viet Nam.

Eliane, Atlanta, USA:

Revolutions and wars have only ever lead to destruction and bloodshed with few or no positive consequences. Sanctions likewise have had no positive effect. As Mr bahari says, democracy can only come to Iran though peaceful change. There is already a very small seed of democracy within Iran. America can help it develop by starting a constructive dialogue with the Iranian government.

Kamran Souroush, Washington DC, USA:

This article is informative in the sense that it represents the thinking from the "other side". This is what most people in Iran have in mind. Whether this is what people want to hear in this country is another matter. The US administration should talk to Iran. It is a country of 70 million people with a lot of influence in the region. All the sanctions and threats have not worked.

I also find publishing of Kurdish manifestos very inappropriate on this forum. I am an ethnic Tabari from the northern Mazandran province of Iran. It is interesting that the Kurds claim that there are 10 million Kurds in Iran. The Azeris claim that there are 35 million Azeris. The Arabs claim that there are 5 million Arabs. The Baluch claim that there are 3 million. The Gliaki claim that there are 4 million of them. The Tabari claim that there are 3 million and the Turkmen claim that there are 2 million. That makes it 62 million non-Persians.

Well, we have to hand to the Persians. Only 8 million Persians subjected all the rest!!

I wish that the Kurdish people achieve their desired freedom. But, please spare us with the non-sense that northern Iraq is democratic. It is not, it is fiefdom of clans run by the Kurdish Mafia.

Christy, Los Angeles:

Iraq's Violence Spins Beyond Anyone's Control
Analysis: It has been clear for some time that the U.S. is not in control of events in Iraq. But the latest sectarian bloodshed suggests that even help from Iran and Syria may not be enough to stop the slide into chaos
By TONY KARON,8599,1562867,00.html

Don't let Iran and Syria milk the Iraq war because they can't deliver.

Dr. Amir Matin:

The only part that I agree with this panelist is his view on PMOI. PMOI exemplifies terrorism. They acted as professional militia in Iraq to help Saddam massacre Kurdish innocent people. They killed civilian Kurds on large scales in most brutal ways possible. An ex-member of PMOI reported that they used tanks to overrun bodies of old Kurdish villagers and could hear their scream while the were being crushed! There is a tape of Massud Rajavi reporting on these massacres with pride in a meeting with Iraqi officials. He was describing it as only fulfilling his duties and also saying "your enemies are my enemies". What buisness PMOI has with Kurdish people in Iraq?

Hossein, Amsterdam, Holland:


5,2 million iraqis support the PMOI!

Dr. Karadzic:

Talk to Iran? Yes, I agree, talk to them in the language of war. Iran is an enemy nation, and not just of the US but of every non-muslim. Should we talk to Iran because of their positive, moderate, and constructive role in Lebanon? Or Somalia? Or the bombs they planted in Argentina ordered by the "moderate" Iranian president Rafsanjani, now wanted by Interpol and the Argentine government? The author would be better served asking if Iranian emergency services are up to the task that sooner or later they will have to face.

RoxieAmerica USA:

Iran is a State sponsor of terrorism. Iran has a history of political assassinations inside and outside of Iran. President Ahmadi Nejad was considered so radical that the radical students who took over the U.S. Embassy refused to include him in the initial attack because he was considered too radical.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has made it clear, they seek world-domination, not peaceful co-existence. The Islamic Republic of Iran held a conference where they advocate a world without America and Zionism.

This nation represents a danger to the Middle East and to the world.


Bartering with Nothing
Why a regional conference won't solve our Iraq problem.
by Reuel Marc Gerecht

"Instead, let us consider the question at the heart of any negotiation: What can be traded and bargained? What in the world can the United States give the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Alawite mafia of Bashar Assad in Damascus that they do not have already? Or to put it in the vernacular of the region: Can the Americans actually hurt me, and will they refrain from doing so? What have Damascus and Tehran lost by the turmoil in Iraq? If the violence in Iraq diminished, would they lose or gain?

So what does the United States have to offer the Iranian clergy that might tempt them to compromise their interests in Iraq? Well, there's the bomb. However, this, too, makes no sense. There is zero chance the president would allow these negotiations. Besides, an American promise not to interfere in Tehran's nuclear-weapons program would mean nothing since the mullahs now think they've already won, in great part because they believe--and the U.S. media, prominent realists, and much of the Democratic party reinforce the view--that America is too enfeebled by Iraq, too fearful of possible Iranian retaliation inside the country, for the Bush administration seriously to challenge Iran's nuclear aspirations.

With the exception of its own survival, there is nothing the clerical regime cares more about than the bomb. If the United States wanted to persuade the mullahs to stop supplying money and weaponry to radical groups in Iraq, then a true realpolitician would threaten the regime's most cherished plans--its nuclear program. Yet in the Gates-Brzezinski colloquy on Iran, Gates conceded a nuclear weapon to the clergy. This is an odd position to take before even trying to enter into "negotiations."

(...)To negotiate successfully in the Middle East, you have to convince the denizens that you have and are willing to use power. To enter into a conference--assuming the Syrians and the Iranians would deign to participate--from a position of weakness is to guarantee that you exit weaker than when you went in. And the last thing the Bush administration needs now is to appear any more feeble. If for some reason the president feels compelled to try to convene such a conference or bilateral talks with Syria or Iran on Iraq, he would do America's diplomats a big favor by announcing first that 50,000 new troops are on their way to Mesopotamia and that we intend to slug this out until we win. Covertly but noticeably, the United States should also start high-altitude observation flights over Iran's nuclear facilities. More naval activity in the Persian Gulf would help, too. If the Syrians and the Iranians were entering negotiations with us, that's what they'd do.

anna, NY:

This guy is talking a whole load of rubbish.

We cannot talk to a brutal regime who is seeking to dominate the world with its fanatical ideology. This guy needs to tell us where his loyalties lie because it is certainly not with the free thinkers of this world or the American people.

Frank Austin, USA:

Iran's aim at hegemony in the region and the kind of world the schizoid Shia sect of Ahamdinejad envisions for the world are the antithesis of everything we envision for the future of humanity, freedom and liberty.

Iran has invested millions in Iraq for over 27 years to take over southern Iraq and its oil fields. (see Iran's presence in Iraq: )

The Islamic Republic of Iran considers Southern/Shia Iraq as a province of Iran because centuries ago, Southern Iraq was Iranian territory before the "Islamo/Arab Conquest of Iran". Most Iraqis in Southern part of Iraq are from Iranian descent and, hence, the immense influence of Iran over shia Iraqis.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's sabotaging strategies is a major contributing factor in not winning the war in Iraq. The Iranian strategy of sowing civil war and fomenting sectarian feud among the Shiites and the Sunnis has been appalling. The Shia death squads funded and trained by the Iranians are killing more Sunnis than the terrorist bombs are killing Shias.

While some Sunni towns and neighborhoods can organize private guard forces, even these are helpless against police or soldiers moonlighting as shia death squads. The government can not stop the death squads as they are very popular among the Shia Arabs, The army and police go after the well guarded Sunni leaders, and arrest them on "suspicion of supporting terrorism."

Iran wants to make Iraq a province of Iran but for the most the Shia want no part of it. It is not a matter of religious dictatorship but of getting rid of the hated Sunni.

So, after investing so heavily in Iraq to train the Badr Brigade and finance the shia militia and Shia TV satellite in Iraq (the first TV to go up after the shock and awe operation in Iraq reported by Riverbend; you need to search her archives), do you really think they're going to help us in stabilizing Iraq? Common sense tells me the answer is a resounding 'NO'.

They have nothing to gain by talking to us regarding Iraq. Contacting the countries who actively fund and back shia militias is the height of naivete. And if they really wanted to stop the carnage in Iraq and help their fellow Moslem brethren, why do they have to wait for us and anyone else for that matter?

Do you see Syria and Iran or any of the other Middle Eastern countries offering their help or making any form of assistance to stabilizing Iraq? Why do they need to talk to US or Britain?

Clearly, Syria and especially Iran already exert considerable influence over Iraq as if Syria and Iran had territorial rights on Iraq and at this point I see no incentive for the Iranians to help Bush and Blair.

What both countries, Syria and Iran, should do is to stop their interference on Iraq's affairs. And for that they don't need our permission if they are genuinely concerned about the killings and carnage of their shia and sunni Moslem brothers.

Frank Austin, USA:

The idea that we should entrust our national and strategic security to the good word of Mahmoud "A world without America" Ahmadinejad or Bashar al-Assad is a fiction that only Foggy Bottom could dream up.

The Iranian regime presents a global threat even without the Nuclear weapon.
Yet, White House, has wedded itself to a dangerously myopic and predictably doomed diplomatic process designed only to address one aspect of the threat, which is the Medieval Republic's nuclear program. Indeed, the current U.S. offer to Iran for an incentive package in exchange for the suspension of uranium enrichment contains no mention that Teheran has to get out of the terrorism business. This is in contrast to the 2002 negotiation between Washington and Libya. The administration's assumption is that a terrorist Iran would honor any agreement -- nuclear or other otherwise. International Tribune reported today that Ahmadinejad described U.S. President George W. Bush as "evil," adding that justice requires that Iran face down U.S. arrogance. An excerpt:

"We will first have to break the horn of the big head so that justice can be done," said Ahmadinejad.
The Iranian president described U.S. President George W. Bush as "evil" Wednesday, adding that justice requires that Iran face down U.S. arrogance, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
"We will first have to break the horn of the big head so that justice can be done," said Ahmadinejad, referring to U.S.-led Western pressure over his country's disputed nuclear program. To "break the horn of the big head" is a Fares expression for blunting arrogant behavior...


people stop posting nonsense that is fifty pargraphs long,and enough about this,just do a summary and post any additional website,incase someone is interested.iran has to becoe self reliant in energy and in all other areas.sure mullahs are out there but Iran can not wait until a change in govt.iran needs to develop now NOW!plus iran can support hezbollah,they are freedom fighters,america supported ocntras in nicaragua who killed 50,000 during the 80's ,including teachers,healthcare officials,priests,etc.if america can support death squads like latin america,or east timor,then iran can support hezbollah.most people in iran see it a freedom fighters,and also in lebanon.bush does not decide iran's faith.if want violence to stop,then reighn in on terrorist israel,and free the opressed palestinains,and give back shebaa farms to lebanon,and golan to syria,and america should stop supporting repressive regimes in mid east.stupis bush criticizes mullahs,but support repressive saudi arabia,and illegal nuke holder pakistan which supported taliban and is failed state.HYPOCRISY is abyss


A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE BLAMING IRAN FOR THE SUICIDE TERROR,LIKE KAVEH from teronto.nonsense.iran had the right to have a revolution,its none of america's about the suicide truck bomb in lebanon in 1983,there is no good evidence to say who did.casper weinberger,then reagan's secretary of state said the u.s did not know who did and still does no 100% which group did it.u.s had no business to go to lebanon,for most of the people do not trust the u.s,viewed u.s as israeli puppets and not peacekeepers,plus u.s was shelling hills around birut mercilessly,as admitted by president carter and colin lebanon was in a civil war,what idiot would in the middle of that.u.s was in a country they did not belong.about the taliban,iran helped the taliban and yet bush called it the axis of evil.u.s is the one after a war,not iran.about regime change,iran will have a regime change,but new opposition groups are needed,the monarchs are just stupid people who are mentally living in the past,and want the tyrannical shah back in power.we want iran to a democracy,federal or parlieamentary or etc.why would we want the shah's son back.and unlike some idiot here said,taliban problem is iran's problem,most of the middle east has nothing to with do not bring democracy to a nation by force,and plus iraq was not invaded by democracy but for geopolitical reasons,so i hope people admit this for others are not stupi.some iranians think that u.s really cares about them,nonsense!america is just angry that their puppet shah was overthrown and the oil was subsequently nationalized.iran derserves nuke energy,people who say has alot od oil and gas are stupid.iran can not export and domestically use its resources.iran has to start exploring other means.russia has more gas and it has nuclear,so can iran.iran can then use nuke energy for domestic use,and export oil and gas and use the profits to develop and expand their economy and refine the hydrocarbons to please stop this nonsense of iran not needing nuke energy.iran can not wait until the oil and gas runs and then start to look.iran has to expand and become more self iraninas who love their nation will want and support this program.i want iran to become scientifically self reliant,why should iran beg russia,china,america,or the europeans for uranium?iran signed the npt,and has the right.iran is a country and deserves to become more eficient in all areas.iran can not stay backwards for ever,i do not care mullahs are in power,iran HAS to start develpoing and can not wait until the govt changes.

Christy, Los Angeles, CA:

Talking to Tehran would be like casting the wolf as the grandmother. In Iraq, Iran is part of the problem, and cannot become part of the solution.

The syrians and iranians, like all ME folks are shrewd, and canny. Iran and Syria do not have as much pull as Baker thinks they do. There is an intra-shi'ite sectarian war going on too:The Shiites who are backed by Iran and the ones whoare backed by the Resistance.
The Iranians and their death squads have not gone unnoticed by many Iraqis... Read the excerpt below:

Every Iraqi I talk to says unambiguously that the resistance attached to the former regime would take out the Shiite militias with barely a fight, but that the resistance will not commit wholesale revenge against the Shiite population. They just want to get rid of the "carpet baggers" from Iran. '

The Iranians know that Baker does not know that they know. In other words they will get what they need from him, and then surprise, they can't deliver anything, because the Iraqi insurgencies has taken a life of its own. Having the syrians and the Iranians milk the the Iraq war in many ways is more disatrous than what we're facing right now.

Dr. Amir Matin:

Mullahs violated all international laws by killing, subduing and oppressing Iranians inside and by committing terror acts abroad. Assassination of Ghasemloo and Dr. Sharafkandi and the bombing in Argentine are few examples that have been proven in court of law. Iranian Mullahs do not have the credibility to be talked to and should not be considered as representatives of Iran. Path to dialogue with Iran should become an option only after Mullahs relinquished their grasp on the political activities in Iran and officially embraced political reform activities. Until then, UN and US policies should include organizing and mobilizing existing opposition and enabling Iranian people to push for a regime change. In addition, military strike on Iran should be an option to disable all nuclear activities and destroy the air force.

The only viable solution to establish a workable democracy in Iran is to establish a confederation of nations in Iran including Kurds (including Lurs), Azeri Turks, Baloches, Turcomans, Arabs and Farses. As part of the push to liberate Iran, these nations should be supported and included with equal participation in a parliament in exile. Kurds are the most experienced in this area and their expertise should be leveraged. Kurdish movement needs to be strongly supported and lead other nations in Iran to establish the confederation of Iran. Separation of state from religion, freedom of culture and language, right to self determination and mutual respect amongst Iranian nations should be the working principle.

ali, miami:

Chris from Atlanta seems to be as ignorant as many US politicians that this excellent article is addressing. Iranians are the most pro-American people in the region. They love American values and culture. But they don't like what the US government is doing. Only a radical policy change such as one that Bahar is suggesting can regain their trust.

Charles, Port Credit, Canada:

Praise G*d, what a lovely and informed discussion, even though, as with myself, we are mostly preaching to the choir.

The previous post by Chris, Atlanta is a mind-boggling example of this. From a gang of refugees to a two hundred year old country that sprang up in a verdant continent empty of any effective native resistance to the theft, Chris denigrates a culture that has existed and thrived in situ, through many upheavals, wars, empires, caliphates and the like for more than a thousand years as "a backward and primitive culture"

No wonder greedy, aggressive and ignorant America is despised around the world for what they do - and not what they are as the deceiver-in-cheif would have it. It is Planet Hollywood. Their "culture" is simply, literally too backward and primitive to even comprehend what a "culture" is. American power and a millenarian sense of exceptionalism do not a culture make.They merely ensure that they, as so many other powers, are a passing phenomenom. Good luck dealing with your decline and the RE-EMERGENCE of Asia as the power and cultural centre of the planet.

And I'm a person who despises and despairS of what passes for American foreign policy, but says if the U.S. did not exisit, it would have to be invented.

Chris, Atlanta, USA:

The article details a long list of thing America "needs" to do for Iran. At the same time, the author states that discussions regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program be put off to the future.

Well, what does America get for all of these "trust-building" measures? Iran CAN'T help in Iraq. They are hated there as much as the Americans and have a much weaker military.

Apart from Iraq and nukes, America has little use for such a backwards and primitive culture as Iran's.


Good, and necessary, to hear an Iranian voice, instead of the constant Israeli screeming for the bombing of Iran. The following attempts, long wordy
Israeli proganda, and the eternal infernal
"explanations" for Israel's savagery, the attempt to stop any voice counter to Israeli propoganda, is putrid, but to be expected.
More on what Iran is thinking, government or civilian would be good. What harm could education do?

Kaveh, Toronto, Canada:

This Article is totally non-sense. It tries to portrait how Iran was helpful toward U.S in the past. Example of Taliban is one of them, in Fact the biggest mistake of US was to let Iran to be part of that "Post Taliban Process" otherwise we shouldn't see all this mess in Afghanistan that NATO faces now. Iran fiercely opposed Zaher Shah which has credit among all ethnic groups in Afghanistan and because of Iran's "HELP" all those war lord and Islamic fundamentalist basically remains in Power and in Parliament. The story of PMOI that they was the first suicide bomber is another ridiculous example. All this suicide crap start after Iranian revolution in 1979 when a loaded truck from Hizboolah (Iranian puppet) ran into a US bracade. All teaching of Khomeini and everything you can imagine in Iran is about how great are those suicide bombers are, and how is great to kill yourself for the sake of Allah(read fat bastard Mullahs) children constantly are constantly brainwashed with all sort of this things.

Let me tell you something:

1)If West let Iranian Shiite mullahs get away from their arrogance and start spreading their hegemony in Middle-east, be 100% sure that West will pay a heavy price later. The more you give them, the more the they demands and the more they become stubborn.

2) Never trust those journalists whose home base are inside Iran, they and their family are systematically under constant threats/pressure or bribery from Security services of Islamic regime. Nobody who lives in Iran dares to publish anything's that challenge the fundamentals of Islamic regime Iran.

3) It will be no surprise to me at all if I hear this article is prepared by the cooperation of Islamic security/intelligence services

Sam, New York, USA:

i loved mr. bahari's article but who are these idiots posting their manifestos as comments on this page!?

Samuel Jones

By Jamal Ekhtiar:

Iran pressured by the International Community

Western states have been asking Iran to respect international obligations, accusing it of undemocratic acts like violation of human rights, prevention of the freedom of thought, discrimination against women and minorities, and much more.

The recent decade has witnessed a critical dispute in human rights between the European Union and Iranian authorities. The Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi's murder case is a paradigm for some of the things Iran has been condemned for.

On one hand, promotion of human rights was the EU claim. On the other hand, the Islamic government of Iran was simply a waste of time and an attempt to avoid responsibility. President Khatami and other governmental reformers could not bring about a notable improvement in human rights situation in Iran and the accession of Ahmedinejad to presidency overcame their hypocritical efforts, worsening the situation.

A recent evaluation of human rights records in Iran show that Iranian authorities are not in line with international standards.

"Respect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of _expression and opinion, deteriorated considerably in 2005. The government routinely uses torture and ill-treatment in detention, including prolonged solitary confinement, to punish dissidents," underlines The Human Rights Watch World Report 2006.

Human Rights Watch further reports that the judiciary is accountable to Supreme Leader Ali Khamene rather than the elected president.

"President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, elected in June 2005, appointed a cabinet dominated by former members of the intelligence and security forces. Some of whom are allegedly implicated in the most serious human rights violations since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established twenty-six years ago, including the assassination of dissident intellectuals," HRW report 2006 further explains.

HRW report in 2005 allocated responsibility for many serious human rights violations to former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.

According to Human Rights Watch parallel institutions known as Nahad-e Movazi, the Gordian Council, and Gozinesh obstruct reform processes and freedom for citizens.

The Amnesty International Report on Iran reads, "In November, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran. It drew attention to Iran's "failure to comply with international standards in the administration of justice, the absence of due process of law, the refusal to provide fair and public hearings and right to counsel"...and forms of systematic discrimination."

As Amnesty International underlined, last year Canada suggested a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly, which was successfully adopted.

Pierre Pettigrew, former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, believed that the international community had not seen any significant improvement in the human rights situation in Iran and tabled a resolution on Iran by the end of 2005.

"Given that Canada has seen no credible evidence of any improvement in the human rights situation in Iran, for the third year in a row, we will table a resolution on Iran's record on human rights," Minister Pettigrew told Reuters Wednesday October 5, 2005.

Further Pettigrew invited Iranian authorities to respect the concerns of global community.

"A membership at the United Nations is a privilege as well as a responsibility. In that regard, by virtue of its membership of the UN General Assembly, a country acknowledges that it must address concerns from the global community. Iran has not lived up to its international human rights obligations and has not conformed according to past UN resolutions on this matter. We believe this must change."

However Iranian authorities continue with violations against religious and ethnic groups, especially Kurds, whom have traditionally been the target of oppressive IRI policies. This policy is not acceptable for Iranian people. The international community and Iran will face a new phase of challenges as the 62nd session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights commences.

Commentators believe that after the newly established Human Rights Council begins within the first half of 2006, Iran will be one of the violator states to receive pressure from the international community for its policies that violate of human rights. Its case may potentially be forwarded to the United Nations Security Council. Recently IAEA forwarded Iran's nuclear case to the Security Council. The Mulla's violation case is pending, and is to be forwarded to the UN Security Council. How long are the Mulla tyrants able to ignore the demands of their people and views of the international community?

By Vladimir van Wilgenburg:

Iran is at war with US and Kurdistan

Someone should tell the U.S. government that America is at war with Iran, says American scholar Michael Ledean. He described how the Iranian government in March tried to transport vehicles with poison gas to South-Kurdistan. Ledean uses the right terminology for Iranian- and Iraqi-Kurdistan. Sadly America is on a reconciliation tour with Iram and is probable preparing to leave Iraq. Currently the Kurdish media is focused on "Intra-Kurdistan" affairs while Kurdistan is threatened by bigger forces outside South-Kurdistan.

I will quote interesting part of his article :

" In early March, to take one recent example, several vehicles crossed from Iranian Kurdistan into Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqis [Kurdish security forces] stopped them. There was a firefight. The leader of the intruding group was captured and is now in prison, held by one of the Kurdish factions. The Kurds say that the vehicles contained poison gas, which they have in their possession".

Sadly the Turkish government, the so-called ally of American didn't want the help the Kurds. Despite Iranian "terrorists" commited crimes in Turkey. " They [Kurdish] say they informed the Turks, who said they did not want to know anything about it (the Turks don't want anything to do with the Kurds, period, and they shrink from confrontation with the mullahs)" .

"The Kurds holding this man say that he confessed to working for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Apparently they have his confession. They say they are willing to make him available to U.S. military personnel.

But the Pentagon, which has all this information, has not pursued the matter. This is just one of many cases in which the Iranians believe they see the Americans running away from confrontation".

He also described the situation in Eastern Kurdistan as extremely tense and said western journalists aren't able to cover the events here. He only forgets that Kurds have their own new year, called Newroz. It's not only Persian.

"The city of Mahabad is now surrounded by the regime's military and paramilitary forces, following the eruption of anti-regime demonstrations on the occasion of Persian New Year's celebrations on March 20. It is impossible to get precise figures -- Western journalists don't seem to be able to cover such events -- but dozens of Kurds were arrested and many more were beaten up in the streets".

What's America up too? Has this to do with the coming elections and the end of Bush's as a president of the US? Is America too afraid to confront the radical Iranian regime? Why America talks with Iran about Iraq? Do they accept Iran's power over Iraq? Is US leaving Iraq what an Asia Times correspondent predicted here?

While Kurdish and pro-Kurdish writers are currently focusing on corruption in the Kurdish government, Dr. Kemal Said Qadir (1.5 years prison), Mariwan Halabjee (fled to Sweden), protests in Halabja (Alleged involvement by Iran), Hawez Hawezi (Faces court and probable gets a small fine), the Big Brother Iran is watching with joy to the division among Kurds and is transporting drugs, agents, weapons, chemicals and poison gas to South-Kurdistan.

In the meanwhile the brothers of the Southern Kurds in Mahabad, Urmiye are killed, imprisoned, poverty-stricken and poisened with drugs. Kurdish newspapers fail to report about their brothers on the other side of the border in fear of the Iranian regime.

"The sad thing is our own Kurdish media especially in South Kurdistan is too scared to broadcast even a little story about ruthless acts [against the Kurd] like these. I guess us Kurds always care about other people around us not our own race. I'm saying this cause I used to live in South-Kurdistan and as soon as a little thing happens in East-Kurdistan everyone know about it," said a sad Kurd from Iranian Kurdistan.

Recently a Kurd from East-Kurdistan was shot in Iraqi-Kurdistan by Iranian security forces. He was shot in Hajiomeran which is 5 km away from Iranian-Kurdistan.

The Iranian government accuses Kurdish people of being smugglers, but in real live they trie to feed their kids due to the poverty in their region, caused by the ineffective mullah regime.

I personally talked with the Dutch Journalist Judit Neurink and her Kurdish translator. They both said Kurdish newspapers are marked by regionalism. It's good that they are independent newspapers, but why only focus on your own part of Kurdistan? You are not tied to PUK or KDP. You don't have to be friendly to the Iranian regime like PUK or KDP newspapers, because of possible lucrative deals or fears for the Iranian regime. Sadly foreign writers like Michael Ledean and me have to show an example to the Kurdish newspapers.

I wonder what will happen with the Kurdish autonomous region if the US leaves Iraq. Let's hope the Kurdish media will report about the dreadfull events then.

Mustafa Hejri:

Road to Democracy: Full political and human rights in Iran

Mustafa Hejri, Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Pary of Iran (KDPI)
Mustafa Hejri is the Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Pary of Iran (KDPI), one of the major Kurdish political movements in Iranian Kurdistan. The following speech was delivered by Mr. Hejri at the "Road to Democracy: Full Political and Human Rights in Iran" conference, which occurred on 30 May at the Russell Office Building of the US Senate in Washington, DC.

Honorable Members of Congress, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

In the early days of establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the regime without any due regards for the international law, took the American embassy diplomats hostage for 444 days.

Today 27 years later, the overwhelming majority of the Iranian public are hostages of the regime. Women, journalists and free-minded people in general and oppressed nationalities in particular are amongst the worst. This extensive oppression and brutality are the direct results of the Islamic belief and ideology of "Velayete Motlaqe Fageh" or indisputable rule by Islamic jurisprudence, which is a peculiarity of the Islamic Republic regime.

The Islamic theology of the Velayete Motlaqe Fageh treat women as second-class citizens. Calls for freedom and democratic rights are portrayed as interference with the divine rules and are heavily punished. Any question of political rights is considered divisive and seen as weakening Islam. Demand for national rights is labelled as a separatist movment supported by America and Isreal and is most brutally suppressed.

So far, the regime has prosecuted thousands of national rights activists of Kurdish, Arabs, Baluch, Turkeman and Azeri's with separatist offences. They have been forced to flee their homes; their belongings have been confiscated; they have been imprisoned and even executed. To further illustrate the effects of the regime's policy towards nationalities, I refer to the Kurdish situation as an example.

The Kurdistan Democratic Pary of Iran (KDPI), which is at the forefront of the Kurdish democratic movement in Iran so far, has lost two of its general secretaries as the result of the regime's terrorist acts. First in 1989 in Vienna, Dr. Qasemlu was assassinated by the regime's diplomats while negotiating with them in search of a peaceful solutions to the Kurdish question. The agents of the regime also murdered Dr. Sharafkandi in 1992 prior to the meeting of the Socialist International in Berlin. Consequently, the Berlin court found the highest-ranking members of the regime, namely the supreme leader and president, guilty of plotting the murder of Dr. Sharafkandi and his colleagues.

The Islamic Republic regime has also ordered the murder of hundreds of other activists of the KDPI and other organizations both inside and outside Iran. It is quite normal in Iran for a peaceful demonstration by the people to end with the regimes forces up killing and injuring of tens of demonstrators. These are but a few examples of the brutality experienced by the people at the hands of the regime on daily basis.

These are all in a addition to the poverty, unemployment and abuse of narcotics, which is high, and on the increase particularly amongst the youth. The sense of hopelessness and lack of a bright future has resulted in a sharp increase in various psychological disorders amongst this group in the past few years.

In short, this is the general situation today in Iran, which is the direct result of a small group imposing their rule on society and taking over all the levers of power. As I mentioned previously, all of Iran's people, its wealth and fortunes are hostage in the hands of this group.

The internationl aspects of the regime's policies are probably clearer for my honorable friends. Interference in the international affairs of other countries, supporting and encouraging the extremist elements in Palestine and in other neighbouring countries, particularly in Iraq in the last few years, is the cornerstone of this policy.

The regime's unquestionable support for international terrorism and ultimately the nuclear energy standoff has put peace in the region in jeopardy. The implications of this policy are becoming increasingly more serious for the international community. In his speech of 11th of April, president Ahmadinejad informed the world of the news that they have been able to enrich uranium. We have no doubts that the ultimate intention of the regime is to acquire nuclear weopons.

What I have briefly explained is an accurate account of the Islamic Republic of Iran's policies in the past and present, which in my opinion will continue to the future. However, in each stage, the regime may implement the policy differently in the most cost effective way for them. This means that the government of Iran is determined in their strategic goals and not prepared to retreat from it. What may be in question are the tactics the regime uses to achieve their ultimate goals.

If we can analyse the actions and policies of the regime from the early days of coming to power up to now, both inside and outside Iran, their tactics will become clearer to us. From the early days of the revolution to the eight years war with Iraq and bringing to power of the so-called reformist group, from the stage-managed election for the parliament and presidency and appointment of Ahmadinejad to the post of president, these are all survival tactics of the regime.

The main problem for the international community and a section of Iranian society (this section is very much reduced in number lately) is the lack of understanding of the true nature of the regime. The main reason for this lack of understanding, in my opinion, is that the regime uses lies and deceit as the main pillar of its national and international policy. The Islamic Republic of Iran has theological justification for it. To prove my point, it is enough to listen over a period of a week to the contradicting comments made by various high ranking members of the regime concerning a key issue such as nuclear energy. These contradictions are not the result of various people expressing different opinion, but it is a deliberate and orchestrated effort by the highest authority, Velayete Motlaqe Fageh, to muddle the world opinion.

Now, I believe the world has two alternatives in dealing with this monster. The first alternative is for the international community to appease the regime as it has done up until now, resulting in an Islamic Republic, with nuclear weapons, destabilisng the region further and extending its violation of human rights inside Iran and support for terrorism outside the country. The above situation will also result in strengthning the separatist tendencies amongst the nationalities forming Iran. This could lead to the break up of Iran in a chaotic manner.

The second alternative is the complete and peaceful removal of the Islamic Republic and relieving the people of Iran from this regime. This will lead to establishing democratic process in Iran and will gurantee full support for human rights.

Internationally, the peaceful removal of this regime, which is the world's strongest supporter of terrorism, will benefit the Palestine-Israeli peace process and help to stablize the region, particularly in Iraq.

To achieve this, the international community particularly the West, must be united and speak with one voice. So far, the regime has gained the most from the differences in approach between Europe and America in dealing with Iran. In addition, they must redirect their support to the democratic opposition forces both inside and outside Iran.

In relation to the above, I would like to point out the necessity of helping the Iranian nationalities, including the Kurds, in achieving their autonomy within a united democratic and federal Iran. These nationalities could be the backbone of the united movement oppossing the regime.

We must not forget that the best solution to power sharing in post Islamic-Republic Iran will be to empower the Iranian nationalities in a federal structure based on ethnic geographic federalism. The Kurdish nation and other oppressed nationalities in Iran will totally support such a structure that will put and end to the inequalities of the past.

In conclusion, to move the democratic process in the region forward and to eliminate the threat of terrorism from the world will require the unity and cooperation of the international community with the nationalities in Iran.

We in the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, as the main player of the Kurdish movement in Iranian Kurdistan, consider ourselves as part of the front opposing terrorism and for democratization of the region and are fully prepated to fulfill our duties.

By Sirvan Kaveh:

Iranian Kurds and Kurds

There has always been a hidden debate among Kurds from Iran and Kurds from Eastern Kurdistan. Eastern Kurdistan has been long regarded as the "piece" of Kurdistan that lies within modern Iran's borders, which includes the cities of Sanandaj, Kermanshah, Mahabad and Ormiye just to name a few. Therefore, removing any intention of being political, one can assume that an Eastern Kurd is nothing more than an Iranian Kurd. This is quite opposite of the beliefs of Kurds living in, or who are from, this part of Kurdistan. To the Iranian Kurd, being regarded as an Eastern Kurd makes no sense because the notion of a united greater Kurdistan (including the regions within Turkey, Iraq and Syria) does not exist within their minds. To the Eastern Kurd, being regarded as an Iranian Kurd is the greatest insult to their identity and life-long struggle against the Iranian regimes.

One may wonder why there is a sense of Iranian nationalism among Iranian Kurds, and why those same Kurds believe first and foremost in the national unity and democracy of Iran. One may wonder why there is such a division among Eastern Kurds and Iranian Kurds when they are from the same cities and regions of Kurdistan. Why does one believe in the national unity of Iran, while the other believes in uniting with Kurds across the border? The answers are not so simple but they can be found in the arguments of those who advocate Iran's unity. Sadly, the same arguments are those that have placed Kurds in the powerless position they are in today. To understand the arguments of these Iranian Kurds, one must understand the history of Iran.

The creation of Iran is not well-defined. To many Iranians, the history of Iran dates back to the establishment of the Elamite Empire, and existed through the era of the Medes or Kurdish ancestors, who established the Median Empire. However, it was Cyrus the Great who successfully united the Indo-Iranian tribes, which includes Kurds, and created what has been continuously referred to as the "land of the people." This "land of the people" successively known as "Iran" under the Achaemenid Dynasty is a notion, which many different Iranians hold and believe to this day. However, the fundamental principles of human rights, which Iran was established under Cyrus is a much more loosely-held notion. Throughout the next few hundred year after Achaemenid rule, ethnic Persians and Kurds would keep themselves occupied with power struggles that the Kurds would more often lose. One must wonder why this so-called "land of the people" quickly became a "land of the Farsi people."

Back to the Iranian Kurd versus Eastern Kurd argument: The Iranian Kurd has based their argument of a united Iran on Persians and Medes who coexisted thousands of years ago. The Eastern Kurd on the other hand has based their argument on the empty promises of Iran and the oppression within Iran. To this very day, Iranists continue to speak of Persian and Kurdish coexistence, unity, and even brotherhood. However, these same Iranists have turned the blind eye in the face of oppression. The notion of brotherhood exists but the actions are lacking. Kurds have been treated unequally in Iran in terms of social, cultural and economic rights for decades, if not centuries. One may argue that the cultural rights in Iran have been better than those same rights in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, but what about the social and economic rights? What about the rights that affect peoples' daily lives? While Persian Tehran grows, Kurdish cities in the west of Iran are deprived and neglected by the central government; Kurds are discriminated against, not given the jobs they are qualified for, jailed and murdered for speaking up about it, and laws are enforced more strictly in order to contain the people living there. These are sad facts that existed throughout Shah's era and that exist today in the Ayatollah's Islamic Republic. And what about cultural rights anyways? Is it enough that the Shah of Iran granted Kurds the rights to publications in the Kurdish language when his claim was that Kurdish is nothing more than a dialect of the Persian language? And that it was unnecessary for Kurds to teach Kurdish since Persian or Farsi was the official mother tongue of all Iranians? Are these the Iranian rights that Kurds should be satisfied with? The arguments of the pro-Iranian Kurd say we should be satisfied.

The Eastern Kurd has been ridiculed, mocked and attacked by Iranian Kurds and non-Kurdish Iranians alike for their Eastern Kurdish belief of an independent Kurdistan. The Iranians tell the Eastern Kurds that they are separatists who will fail in their attempt to break up the glorious Iranian nation. However, to the Eastern Kurd, he or she is far from a separatist. He or she is not separating, but instead, unifying with Kurdish brothers and sisters across the border of Iran. The Iranian Kurd says an independent Kurdistan is nothing more than an unrealistic dream. History has, however, proved that a unified and democratic Iran in which all ethnic groups are treated equally is the unrealistic dream.

There was a recent comment made by an Iranian Kurd who claimed that PJAK, PDKI and Komala were going the wrong direction by mentioning Kurdistan in their policies. However, this Iranian Kurd must have been ignorant to the policies and discussions of the three mentioned parties. These parties have acted just like the Iranian Kurd and have called for a united Iran. Therefore, ironically, the Iranian Kurd was correct in his or her statement. The PJAK, PDKI and Komala are going in the wrong direction: Their focus should remain with Kurdistan, not Iran. The meaning of the "Iranian" has changed over the last few thousand years. Iranian Kurds today continue hold their nationality as Iranian and maintain their ethnicity as Kurdish. However, the Iranian Persian does not exist. The Iranian is the Persian. "Iranian" was once used to describe all tribes of Indo-Iranian decent, which included Persians and Kurds. However, throughout the course of history, "Iran" or "Iranian" has become synonymous with "Persia" or "Persian" identity. Persian identity based upon Persian culture, values and the Persian language. The "Iranian" has therefore left no room for the Kurd.

By Sirvan Kaveh:

Iran: Ethnic tensions and the regime's last stand

Amnesty International today expressed alarm at the cycle of violence in the Iranian province of Kordestan and neighbouring Kurdish areas
There is little new about the most recent events taking place in the predominantly Azeri areas of northwestern Iran where "ethnic" protests have been rocking the region. The protests began in the city of Tabriz and quickly spread to Zanjan and Ardebil, and then to the nearby Kurdish city of Urmîye, where large populations of ethnic Azeris also live. Iran's so-called Security Forces have opened fire on the protestors leaving at least 3 people dead. Many blame these protests on the recent publication of an insulting cartoon, which depicts the Azeri as a cockroach. However, these "ethnic" protests have more likely been another explosion of the forever escalating, ethnic tensions in Iran. Iran is composed of several ethnic groups from Azeris to Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen, and of course, Kurds. All of which lack basic cultural, political, economical and human rights.

April of last year, Arabs from the Ahwaz region in Iran held their large protests and were also met with repression and harsh punishment by Iranian "Security" Forces. The protests began when a letter started floating around, which called for the relocation of ethnic Arabs from the Ahwaz region. This stirred up some trouble for Iranian officials when Arabs reacted to the letter with widespread protest. Aside from denying the letters legitimacy, the Iranian Security Forces continued with their usual tactics and killed an unconfirmed 20 people and injured hundreds of others. Since April, unrest has continued in Ahwaz where explosions and protests rock the region and arrests and executions are, of course, an everyday practice.

And then there were the Kurds...

Thousands of people all over Eastern Kurdistan protested the Iranian government last summer, 2005, in the cities of Mihabad, Sine, Merîwan, Sino, Bane, Urmîye, Makû and Kirmasan, just to name a few. The protests were met with fierce repression by Iranian "Security" Forces and paramilitaries. Protestors were shot at from helicopters; tens were killed, and hundreds were arrested and are still imprisoned to this day. Finally, Amnesty International reported early August of 2005:

Amnesty International today expressed alarm at the cycle of violence in the Iranian province of Kordestan and neighbouring Kurdish areas, which has reportedly left up to 20 people dead, hundreds wounded. Hundreds of others are believed to have been arrested, including prominent Kurdish human rights defenders and activists.

Hundreds closed down their shops in Eastern Kurdistan and thousands more protested in the streets. It was reported by a number of different special sources and opposition groups that over 1000 people were arrested in what is known among Kurds as Eastern Kurdistan's capital city, Sine. The prisons in the Sine area had quickly filled up to capacity and over 100 prisoners were transferred to the Urmîye prison further north. Among the prisoners was Dr. Roya Toloyî; a Kurdish Women Rights Activist and the head of the Rasan newspaper. She was accused of leading the protests and was imprisoned and tortured for 66 days. Her case received more attention than the others and she was finally released but not acquitted.

Despite these events, the world remained relatively silent and not one major news outlet in the West seemed to pick up on these events. One must always wonder why the U.S. would not want to use such events to their advantage as a basis for justifying a future war on Iran. For most of us the answer to this question is quite obvious. And of course, we keep in mind that giving any group attention means also giving attention to the groups' demands; more particularly, the worst of fears: Kurdish demands.

Like the other recent "ethnic" protests, the events in Eastern Kurdistan were blamed on a single event that agitated the people. The murder of Sivan Qedrî, leader of the organized youth in Eastern Kurdistan, who was killed by paramilitaries. He was accused of organizing several anti-governmental protests and his murder came shortly after Kurds held celebrations in the streets of Mihabad for the appointing of Celal Talebanî as the first Kurdish president of Iraq. The later protests demanded that the Iranian Government give political rights, like those in Iraq, to their own Kurdish population. Consequently, Sivan was shot and his body was tied to a truck and dragged around the city of Mihabad for several hours. To this very day, people are forbidden to visit Sivan's gravesite. The last visit resulted in clashes between Kurdish mourners and Iranian paramilitaries.

There is clear involvement of opposition groups in the above protests. Protests that were initiated by civil unrest were further institigated by the opposition groups. Many opposition groups, particularly the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and Komala, maintain strong relationships and influence in Eastern Kurdistan. Their influence is most efficiently used in these restless circumstances.

In the meantime, other opposition groups and members of the protestors' ethnic groups have picked up their guns and small bombs to battle the Iranian Forces near their borders. While Jundallah, a Balûçî opposition group, sets off explosions in Iran's southeastern Balûçî region, the PJAK or Partî Jîyanî Azadî Kurdistan, has started a war in Iran's west, in Eastern Kurdistan. Reports have claimed that PJAK has killed over 120 Iranian police within a 6-month period.

Outside of Iran, opposition groups prepare themselves and campaign for international support to their cause. More particularly, United States support. Recently, a conference which included PDKI, Komala, Baluchistan Peoples Party, the Democratic Solidarity of Ahwaz Arabs, Organization for Defense of the Rights of Turkmen People, and the Diplomatic Commission of South Azerbaijan took place in Washington D.C. This is another move to secure a strong front against the Islamic Regime.

What does Iran have to say about all of this?

The Iranian Government no longer has a turning point to produce anything positive. There responses to each and every demonstation by the ethnic groups within Iran's borders have been more killing and more arrests. The aggressive strategies of Iran's first enemy, the United States and it's war on terrorism, lead to the destruction of two of Iran's neighbors. The Islamic Regime, faced with both international opposition and opposition within it's own borders, has become very weary and rising fear of it's demise is higher than it has ever been. Many see the hardliner, Ahmadinejad, and the Regime's strong and uncomprising demands for nuclear energy, or weapons rather, as very bold and strategic moves. However, these demands are simply the result of the Regime's Last Stand. Nuclear weapons is viewed as the Regime's last opportunity to secure it's existence and acceptance by both the opposition in Iran and the international community. This opportunity must be fulfilled before one of the two rid the people in Iran of this Regime that oppresses them.

By Sirvan Kaveh:

Stop undermining the Kurdish struggle in Iran!

Oftentimes, Iran seems like a dark hole and no matter the severity of the problems, most of the world is incognizant to the events taking place within the country. The leading cause of this is obviously the lack of freedom and the inability to establish and operate news agencies or human rights organizations that can keep track of all the problems. In addition, leading human rights organizations outside of Iran, such as Amnesty, often report too little too late and their reports never seem to give people a full understanding of the existing abuses by the Iranian government against the people. Therefore, we are usually forced to resort to small Persian TV stations and news media websites if we want to read about Eastern Kurdistan; and oftentimes those reports are only useful to those who can understand Farsi.

However, a less obvious cause of the lack of awareness is the continuous undermining of the problems and Kurdish problem in particular, in Iran by both Kurds and non-Kurds alike. Beginning with the Eastern Kurds themselves, many do not discuss the problems in Iran with others for various reasons. The most popular reasons often discussed in Eastern Kurdish circles is (1) the Kurd's fear of never being able to return safely to Iran if he or she were to openly discuss Kurdish problems with others in the free world; and (2) Iran's campaign to hide the Kurdish problem and to brainwash the general public that the so-called hoodlum Kurds (i.e. those Kurds who speak up for their rights) are the root of the problem. In either case, many Eastern Kurds stay clear of the political arena and remain silent in regards to the atrocities committed by the Iranian governments.

With enough research and in speaking to the right people, one may be overwhelmed with the number of horror stories and tragic events that have taken place both throughout the Shah's era and in the Islamic Republic. First, looking back, Reza Shah began a century of atrocious acts by introducing several brutal campaigns against the Kurds causing unnumbered displacements and severe economical losses for the Kurdish people. Reza Shah justified his campaigns against Kurdish civilians and tribes by claiming his right to protect Iran from the Kurdish revolts that were taking place during the time. However, Kurdish revolts were the result of social, cultural, political and economical inequalities for Kurds in Iran. Reza Shah banned Kurdish publications and schools that were established during the Kurdish Republic of Mihabad (which lasted for one year). While many speak of the better situation and rights that Eastern Kurds supposedly have, this is no more than a fallacy and limits placed on the Kurdish cultural and social activities are evidence of that. Later publications to the late 20th century were always under close observation by the Iranian government. Kurdish publications in Iran never lasted very long as a result of the prejudiced regulations enforced on the editors and writers. The false notions employed by the Shah that being Kurd is a sub-identity of the Persian race, and that Kurds are in fact Persians, is still maintained to this day by chauvinist Persians and political groups, and the current Iranian government. These notions were forced upon Kurdish publishers that refused them, and that were consequently shut down.

Today, the Kurdish struggle itself is further undermined by claims that it is simply a struggle for cultural rights. The most critical piece of the Kurdish struggle is the lack of economical and political rights, and the human rights abuses against the Kurdish people. In addition to the illegal confiscation of Kurdish lands from peasants and farmers by the central Iranian governments, Iran has been responsible for the imprisonment, torture and execution of Kurdish political prisoners without the right to any judicial processes. While some of the political prisoners have been active in the Kurdish revolts of the last century, many others were simply executed for their alleged affiliations with the outlawed Kurdish political parties. These types of executions were widespread during Shah's era, however, the most shocking pictures appeared during the present Islamic Republic when Kurds were blindfolded and shot in open fields. Some of those executed may be children, whether girls or boys, and often undergo brutal tortures and rape prior to their executions. To understand the severity of the situation for Kurds in particular, Amnesty International reported in late 2003, the most executions in Iran were carried out against the Kurds than any other ethnic group in Iran. Amnesty reported that the executions are carried out "apparently to intimidate political or ethnic groups such as Kurds..."

The Islamic Republic of Iran began its reign by declaring a jihad on the Kurds in 1979 attacking several key cities and villages in Eastern Kurdistan. In addition to the people's disfavored identity as Kurds, they are further alienated because the majority of Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan are Sunni Muslims. Throughout the Islamic Republic's existence, they have incorporated strategies to further destroy any Kurdish movements. The Iranian government sent their assassins to Europe in two different episodes, murdering Kurdish political leaders, Dr. Qasimlu and Dr. Sherifkandi, in 1989 and 1992. There are an unknown number of tortures of Kurdish people in Iranian prisons, and many face solitary confinement for months at a time. Those people who are released from the prisons often suffer from trauma and many die shortly after depending on the extent to which they were tortured. The unconfirmed 1000 people arrested during last year's Kurdish protests in Eastern Kurdistan are also subject to torture. In March of 2005, Amnesty International declared that "Threats against Kurdish human rights defenders must stop." Those human rights defenders were working towards rights for women and children in Iran and were subsequently threatened or arrested by Iranian forces.

Eastern Kurdistan is the one of the poorest regions in Iran where unemployment are higher than anywhere else in Iran. The Kurdistan Democratic Alliance reported, "The standard of living is below the poverty line." Although Kurds are considered equal citizens of Iran, they are not given equal opportunities as other groups in Iran. Kurds with high education fail to get jobs and build their careers. Following the American-led invasion of Iraq, many Eastern Kurds decided to leave Iran to seek jobs in Southern Kurdistan. However, with tightening borders and the limited number of jobs for the Southern Kurds themselves, this is also becoming less of an option.

Eastern Kurdistan also suffers from drugs and environmental issues. In March of 2006, a CFO tanker with twenty-two thousand liters of a chemical called, " MTEB", was exploded near the Qeshlaq Dam at the city of Sine in Eastern Kurdistan. It is should be no coincidence that this was the third time a tanker containing chemical waste was sent to the Kurdistan region. In addition, another form of chemical warfare is taking place in the Kirmasan province. Drugs are abundant throughout the province and young Kurds are quickly hooking themselves and destroying their futures. One can only assume why most of those drugs made there way to Kurdish cities from Afghanistan-Iranian border anyways.

The issues listed in this article are only some of the many problems facing Kurds in Iran. Writers, both Kurdish and non-Kurdish, continue to carelessly write about how much "better" Iran has been for the Kurds. These statements not only ignore the realities of the Kurdish problem in Iran but also disrespect the many Eastern Kurds who have risked their lives or who have been killed under the oppression. It is important that people pay attention to the facts on the ground and not to be misled by the biased reports of the Iranian media. The Iranian propaganda has also played a large part in portraying Iran as the only sympathizer and the only country open to the Kurds' cultural rights. These strategies have been successful in many cases but only to the blind eye. Those who advocate human rights for all people will best understand the Kurdish struggle in all parts of Kurdistan. For those, undermining the Kurdish struggle in Iran will be impossible.

Bob, Los Angeles, USA:

Amazing how refreshing common sense sounds like sometimes.

US media truely fails when it comes to describing all aspects of nuanced geopolitics. Then there are gems like this! Very thought provoking. Makes the US Iran hostilities what they are, two empires (ancient and modern) who want respect from each other.

Khalid Khayati:

The Iranian malaise Distorted nationalism and unknown future

When in 1997, more than 70% of the Iranian enthusiastic electorate voted for the reform programmes of Mohammad Khatami in the presidency elections, there was a strong conviction about the potential of the former president for wrenching the Iranian politics and society out of the grip of the conservative clerics of the country.

But after a couple of years, the Iranian body of voters who wanted fundamental reforms of the political and the economic systems of the country at that time, became very disappointed, when they had realised that Khatami had failed to deliver the coveted changes. Subsequently, the conquest of the Iranian Islamic Assembly (Majlis) by the conservative forces which was followed by the shock victory of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the last summer's Iranian presidency elections can be seen as very salient signs of the end of the governmental reformism and the definitive return of the hardliners to the power.

Taking into the account the geopolitical, ideological, demographic and economic signification of Iran in the Middle East and even the threats that it can present to some other nations in the region, this country has attracted much attention during these years. In these respects, issues such as the production of the atomic bomb, international terrorism, democracy and human rights have been frequently mentioned and discussed. The outcome of these intensive discussions is however an assumption which establishes a logical fact meaning that the country's internal circumstances are intimately connected to what is going on outside the country. According to many analysers and even those who advocate democracy for Iran, a positive evolution of the domestic politics can play a considerable role when it comes to the position of the country within the international community; at the same time that the recapture of the power by the hardliners and its specific development have become more than any time the subject of the interrogation and concern at the global level that can be posed as following: Which are the salient features of the Iranian national identity and nationalism that prevent the country to opt for a dynamic and productive discourse of identity and nationhood? Does the failure of the governmental reforms which were undertaken under Khatami's management mean the disappearance of all democratic forces in Iran? Which alternative discourse can be the real guideline for the Iranian people if there is a desire for achieving a cohesive and functioning nation, compatible with the democratic principles and the international norms?

The features of the Iranian nationalism
In order to answer these questions, it is imperative to discern three nationalistic discourses or ideologies in Iran which are periodically contradictive to each-other; at the same time that they co-exist in a concomitant way; at least it is the case of two of them. These three are however an ethnic essentialist historicist nationalistic discourse, an ethnic religious nationalistic discourse and an ethnic democratic nationalistic one.

It is important to underline the fact that the historicist and the religious discourses have been co-existed since the establishment of the new Iran which goes back to the beginning of the reign of Reza Shah in 1935.

As Abbas Vali (2003) has indicated the ethnic essentialist historicist nationalistic discourse uses the history in a perpetual way as a unique source of legitimating its nationalistic cause and the prevalence of its claim to power and authority. In the Iranian case, the Persian ethnie is the only "distinctive" group who has seized the historic opportunity to form the framework of the nation and its national institutions. For this kind of nationalism which was the dominant ideology until the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Iranian national identity is the product of the intersection of history and politics; a history which according to this kind of interpretation is more than 2500 years old and which irrespective of some short periods of decadences and external occupations represents nothing than glories and the glance of conquests and splendours for the Iranian people throughout the years. This nationalistic discourse claims a powerful unitary nation-state and thereby it is in its character highly anti-democratic and exclusionary and discriminatory vis-à-vis the non-Persian ethnic groups. Furthermore, it is inclined to use the violence as it did many times before, when there are claims for cultural and political recognition arising from other ethnic and religious communities. As indicated above, the ethnic essentialist historicist nationalistic discourse is not necessarily antagonistic to the ethnic religious nationalistic discourse. Under the rule of Shah there were perpetual references to the shi'a Moslem confession to such an extent that Mohammad Reza considered himself as the "shadow of God".

The second discourse which is the ethnic religious nationalistic one is characterised more implicitly by the preponderance of the Persian group; but at the explicit level it is covered by a global and totalising discourse with the reference to the Islamic ummah and the Islamic brotherhood, leaving no room for the ethnic and cultural diversity. The climax of this nationalistic ideology was the occurrence of the Islamic revolution of 1979 under the religious leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini which had enormous impacts on the international geopolitical reality at that time. Furthermore, the shock victory of Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the last summer's presidency elections can be apprehended as a readopting and renewal of the shi'a set of guidelines and ideology by the Iranian voters, which was abandoned partly during Khatami's presidency. At the level of the political and juridical system, the Velayet-i-Faghih (the supremacy of the clerical institution) takes its full legitimacy and its raison d'être from the shi'a doctrine, deeply rooted among the majority of the Iranian population. The ethnic religious nationalistic discourse in the Iranian case has at the practical level transformed into an anti-democratic performance which has affected violently and brutally thousands of political dissidents and many ethnic and religious groups; above all the Kurdish people. The internal national cohesion and the continuity of such nationalism are largely connected to its expansive character and to the existence of an imagined or a real external enemy which "threatens the values and the land of the Moslems". The ambition of producing atomic weapons can not be analysed irrespective of this ideology and its claims to power.

The third Iranian discourse is a democratic nationalistic one which is strongly limited not only by the lack of democratic traditions and values in the country but also by its own malady which arises largely from the non-ability of this discourse to free itself from the influence of the two other nationalistic discourses, presented above. For example, the project of the governmental reformists under the rule of Khatami and the other so called national-religious democratic forces to achieve restrictions on the power of clerical institutions and hardliner judiciary, was not based on a secular approach with the ambition to successively separate the religion from the politics but still on a religious perspective which endeavoured to attain gradual institutional reform in line with the Islamic constitution and the Islamic values. However, this project has failed because it did not contain substantial materials needed for its own initial objectives. Meanwhile, there are of course other forces who advocate democratic changes in Iran without referring to the Islamic constitution and the Islamic laws; but without being able at the same time to restraint the impact of the ethnic essentialist historicist nationalistic discourse, strongly exerted on them. When reading the political literature presented by this group, one can ascertain easily that they are rather concerned about the preserving the political and the territorial unity of Iran than a real democratic transformation of the country. In such a case, the notion of democracy has been reduced many times to a pure instrument. However, it does not mean in any rate that there are not real democratic actors and that we are facing to a situation of a total absence of substantial democratic forces and democratic social movements in Iran. The conclusion should be quite different.

There is a quite strong civil society and an increasing social movement that have been emerging and shaping since the last half on 1990s in Iran. The persisting struggle among women, youths, worker class, journalists, intellectuals, etc., the creation of many civil institutions and associations and the powerful ethnic movement that we can testify above all among the Iranian Kurds and Arabs are the very obvious signs of resistance vis-à-vis the Islamic regime and its authoritarian rule. In a global era when the events occur so rapidly that our imagination is not able to keep up with them, the time is right even for the Iranian nation to opt for a real democratic discourse. Practically, it can imply distancing from the two old-fashioned historicist ethno-religious nationalistic discourses and the "de-ethnification" of the state and its subordinated institutions. Furthermore, the political and institutional recognition of the multiethnic and multicultural reality of the country can be further features of the political development which can put an end to a long period of suffering for those ethnic and religious populations whose identities have been categorically denied since the establishment of the new Iran in 1935. A cohesive and functioning nation which is even compatible to the norms of the international relations can not be achieved through the use of the violence and the exclusionary racist discourses; it is possible to be realised through adopting the universal democratic values.

Sam Ghandchi:

Kurdistan, Federalism and Iranian National Sentiments

The topic of federalism may seem not to be much of an issue in a country like the U.S. but viewing the world as a huge federation has come up again and again in science fiction, as a possible global structure of future politics.

Some people think of bureaucracy of federal institutions in the U.S. as a reason to think of federalism, as a factor hampering post-industrial development, rather than acknowledging the significant role federalism has played, in creating the necessary checks and balances in the U.S.

In fact, dropping federalism in favor of centralism, because of issues of bureaucracy, is a grave error. The bureaucracy is the problem that needs to be fixed, and not the checks and balances. The inertia of state institutions is worse in centralized capitalist countries, in contrast to the federal states, although not as bad as the socialist countries.

To eradicate bureaucracy, post-industrial information efficiency and technologies is needed, to streamline the obsolete government procedures, that are the cause of bureaucracy and not the federal redundancies that ensure checks and balances, and do not have to be bureaucratic.

The issue of federalism is of paramount importance to the Futurist Iran. This is why I wrote a detailed paper about the history of development of central government in Iran and the role of Kurdistan. Kurdistan highlights the need for federalism better than any other area of Iran.

Although my paper on Kurdistan, reviews Iran's history, it was not written as a history text, and I wrote it to show why federalism is the only way to avoid a breakup like Yugoslavia, in Iran, and to spearhead Iran, to participate in the global development as a federation. Federalism could have saved Yugoslavia from getting torn apart, following its liberation.

We are not living in the 1940's, and the main fear from centralist states, is not that they can rule for decades after decades. On the contrary, the main fear from centralist states, is that they cause breakup of the regions they rule, by pushing people to the edge to choose secession. We are not in a world that national minorities would put up with dictatorship.

We are living in a world that minorities actually do *separate* their ways, and can easily enter a direct relation with the global economy without a need to go true a bigger nation state, and calling national minorities as "separatist", or similar remarks, only makes them more determined to secede, rather than scaring them away from proclaiming their rights.

For example, if Kurdistan of Iraq, which has oil, creates an independent state, and if Iranian regime remains a dictatorship like the Islamic Republic of Iran, I have no doubt that Iranian Kurds will feel attracted to the new Kurdish state, although historically, Iranian Kurdistan has developed as part of Iran, and not as part of other four sections of the Ottoman Kurdistan and Iranian Kurds share the market of Iran with the other citizens of Iran, and Kurdistan of Iran is *not* like Khuzestan that has oil.

In other words, even though it will *not* be to the advantage of Iranian Kurdistan to join a state of Greater Kurdistan, but dictatorship of the Iranian centralized state can force the Kurdish people to choose separation.

I should note that even Iranian Persian Empire's Satraps were more like a federalist system, than like a centralist state of France, and many of the authors, monarchist, leftist, and nationalist who still cannot come to terms with federalism, misunderstand Iran's history, and are not helping Iran's future. I have noted this in my papers on federalism.


I have reviewed the astute works of Madison on this topic, which are excellent studies on the subject matter. The protection in Madison's federalist papers is mainly against monarchy (British Monarchy). This is why he is so specific about nobility and even sees this criteria as the measure to call his respective system a republic.

There is no attempt by Madison to prove legitimacy for a federal system. The Confederacy is the reality, and the attempt is to show that this federalism is not *absolute*, and that it is also a *national* government. Thus the focus of Madison's paper is on how to implement the federal and state governments in a way to ensure the cohesiveness of the national government.

The issue that Madison is dealing with is the *implementation* of federal organs and state organs, and showing them *both* as necessary institutions, and rebuts claims that these organs of checks and balances are not needed because of being redundant, and he tries to show their existence as a guarantee against tyranny. For him the issue is implementation and not legitimacy, as federation is how the Union is, when it is formed, a conglomeration of separate states.

Now in our case for Iran, the legitimacy of a federal system is not a given. In other words, except for Kurdistan, we are not seeing separate states coming forward with their own aspirations for statehood, at least not at this time. This is why I have tried to substantiate Why Federalism for Kurdistan and Rest of Iran, from a theoretical standpoint.

Basically from the pre-Islamic shAhanshAhi system, which meant satraps each ruled by a king and all kings ruled by king of the kings (shah of the shahs), to the post-Islamic continuation of satraps in new forms, even thru the changes of Moghols era, we see a semi-federal development in Iran.

Even though in Iran, we never had such acceptance of legitimacy of federalism established, and although after mashrootia't, in Iran's 1906 Constitution, the French centralized model was adopted, I think a study like that of Madison's work on *implementation* issues, can still be done about Iran. From the first day of majles-e shorAy-e melli of mashrootia't to the present, the interaction of local and national organs can be reviewed.

Instead of looking at the states, one can review the anjomanhAy-e iiyAlati and velAyati, which were more of a French version of distribution of power in a central state (like the mayor elections in Europe), than federalism as one sees in the U.S. However, I think such review of distributed power in Iran, can help us to come up with constitutional guidelines for federalist local and national organs in Iran.

The work of Madison is a legal work about the structures of checks and balances. We need Iranian lawyers to do this kind of work about implementation issues of federalism in Iran. Unfortunately I have not seen any work of this kind in the Iranian political circles.

I think mostly, even those who claim to be OK with federalism, are content with electoral structures of France for Iran, which is a democratic election system in a centralized government, and is *not* a real federal system. In my opinion, theoretically two areas need to be tackled, with reference to the issue of federalism in Iran:

1. To continue to argue for federalism in the Iranian political circles, and groups, similar to what I have done in my papers noted above, and to add similar studies about various provinces of Iran, and not just provinces like Azerbaijan and Baluchestan, meaning specific studies of provinces like Khorasan, Mazandaran, Gilan, Khoozestan, Hormozgan, and others.

2. To do serious study of legal codes of Iran's past constitutions, and other civil laws, and implementation details of laws, as relates to the branches of government, and their interaction at local, city, provincial, and national levels.
I may differ with many people on details of Iranian history, which is fine. Even centuries after the French Revolution, the French historians and politicians hardly agree on detailed analysis of the French Revolution. But being able to come to terms with calling for a federal state for future Iran, is not an argument about history, and it is a practical issue.

Missing to stress on the important issue of federalism, in any political platform for future Iran, can cause what its opponents fear most, and that is the breakup of Iran, like what happened in Yugoslavia. It is important to create the consensus on federalism among Iranian political thinkers, before it is too late, to avoid the fate of Yugoslavia, in many parts of Iran that are populated by the Iranian national minorities.


The issue of Kurds and federalism is one of those issues that touches on the region, and IRI wants to broadcast a view that non-Kurd Iranian political groups do not want federalism, and tries to depict the proponents of federalism as separatists, whereas the majority of Iranian opposition today is beginning to side with federalism, and the Fars ultranationalists are a very small minority.

As I have explained on numerous times, those acting as nationalists calling the federalist programs as separatist, are more Islamic Republic proponents rather than being Iranian nationalists, and their fear is that accepting federalism, would open the way for asking for more democratic rights for the whole of Iran by all Iranians.

It is IRI misusing ultranationalist facade, just as they did during the Iraq War, to justify the IRI despotism. Ultranationalist slogans are a preposterous flag for Islamists, when they have had no respect for national demands of all Iranians all these years, and when they have been pushing Islamism on Iran trying to eliminate even Norouz from Iran, a New Year celebration that Kurds celebrate, as much as any other part Iranians, if not more.

Recently in Iran, the Islamic Republic agents issued a fake communiqué, against the rights of Iranian nationalities in education, forging the signature of Jebhe Melli leaders . The forged document has been condemned by Jebhe Melli leadership inside Iran. Thus it is important to know how IRI is trying to attack the Kurdish movement with such despicable ultra-nationalist fabrications.

As I have explained in the chapter on globalization, nationalism in this day and age, is as obsolete as Communism. Of course this does not mean that national sentiments will die away or are undesired. As I have explained in a paper on Iranian National Sentiments, national sentiments will continue to exist the same way that love of family has continued to exists although the political power of family and tribe has faded in human civilization. National sentiment is not the same as nationalism, which is a phenomena of Modern Times symbolized by the Napoleonic Wars.

The reality is that the slaughter of leftists by IRI in 1981 and 1988, and the murder of leftists by the Shah's regime, were because the left had been the most ardent part of the opposition to monarchy in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, and to IRI in 80's and 90's. This is why they killed even the activists who only had one year jail terms, and were inside the IRI prisons in 1988, by Khomeini's decree.

IRI despondently accepted the peace with Saddam, on Saddam's terms. Khomeini committed a mass murder of the leftists and others in September 1988 to ensure to keep the society silent after signing the peace accord. And IRI did not stop at killing the leftists, and even slaughtered Foruhars and others later, people who were never leftists.
Let me note that my own disagreement with the left is not because of their struggle against IRI and Shah's despotism. In fact, in that regard, I support them fully, and I think they have given the most number of sacrifices in Iran's movement for democracy, both during the Shah and during IRI, and this is why the intelligence agents of Shah and IRI have the most hatred for the leftists.

My disagreement with the left is because I think their program is obsolete at the time of post-industrial development and globalization. I have written my views about the left in the past, in details and do not need to repeat. Nonetheless I should note that one of the main forces in Iranian pro-democracy movement that has worked hard for federalism has been Komala, which I explained in Komala and Kurdistan.

Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,

Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher


Nahid Bahmani:

Kurds in Iran: A History of Oppression and Resistance

Historical Background

Kurds have lived in their land for thousands of years. Kurdistan, or land of the Kurds, very rich in minerals, oil, and perhaps most important of all water, is now divided between four countries, namely Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Mountains of Kurdistan with their heavy snow have been a main source of water in the Middle East, as well as a natural barrier against invaders.

Until mid nineteenth century, Kurds enjoyed a certain degree of self rule. Kurdish "Mir"s, or local princes, ruled their land and their people. It was under the Qajars of Iran in the nineteenth century, that the last Mirs were crushed and replaced by the government appointed governors.

But at this stage nobody denied their existence, their culture and their language. It was under the Reza Shah, the founder of Pahlavi dynasty, who ruled from 1925 to 1941, that any appearance of Kurdish culture, their customs and their costume, their language and their history were denied. A process of political and administrational centralisation, which had had begun in the nineteenth century, now had gone as far as the denial of Kurdish identity.

Reza Shah, himself almost illiterate, propagated the modern education system by which means he suppressed and forbade other languages. Not only education in languages other than Farsi was forbidden, but any written material in Kurdish and other languages was made illegal and those who committed the crime of writing poems or letters in their mother tongue were persecuted. Even speaking Kurdish language in pubic places considered against the law. "To speak other than Farsi is forbidden." Thus were civil servants in every public office in Kurdistan were instructed. Wearing national clothes was detected and people who disobeyed were fined and punished. The Kurdish national movement rose at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of twentieth century. A pattern of rebellion and brutal suppression has shaped modern Kurdish history. The most well known is the short-lived Kurdish Republic of Mahabad, 1945-1946, which was crushed and its leaders hanged by the second Pahlavi.

Present Kurdish Movement in Iran

Although not as harsh and primitive as under the Reza Shah, but the main elements of national oppression are still at work in Iran. The 1979 Revolution in Iran, which put an end to the monarchy and brought to power the Shiite Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, opened a new chapter of the Kurdish movement in the country. Kurds saw in the Revolution an opportunity to end to their plights and to improve their economic and political life and they took part in the process of the Revolution enthusiastically.

However, it must be pointed out that the Revolution in Kurdistan had a different taste right from the beginning. While Mullas and Ayatollas had a prominent role and from a certain stage dominated the Revolution and turned it into an Islamic Revolution, in Kurdistan the clergy hold no key positions in the political movement and the movement remained a secular, civil, and political one. The nature of the movement in Kurdistan was in sharp contrast with the so-called Islamic Revolution. For instance, a large section of the Kurdish society boycotted the referendum of 1979 which resulted in establishing an Islamic state in Iran. In a sense, Islamic Revolution never took place in Kurdistan. This has remained the case up till now.

Kurds hopes were dashed when Khomeini ordered a total onslaught on the Kurdish people only a few months he came to power. This gave way to a Kurdish resistance movement that is going on for twenty five years. This has formed a new stage in the Kurdish liberation movement in Iran

In the last decade Iranian Kurdistan has experienced a deep cultural and political change. While Kurdish language is still banished from official education in Iranian Kurdistan, parents send their children to private Kurdish classes. Twenty years ago only a political or literary elite could read and write in their own mother tongue, but nowadays reading and writing in Kurdish is very common. Literary societies and circles, theatre groups, green societies, women's circles, workers meetings, seminars and debates and so on have sprung up .Modern concepts such as democratic values, social and individual rights, political pluralism and cultural diversity, social justice and equal rights for women have made their way into the minds of a new generation of Kurds in Iran.

What are the problems of the Kurds in Iran?

Kurds are discriminated against in many ways. They are economically unprivileged; they are systematically and intentionally deprived of big development projects. Non-industrialisation of the Kurdistan is a state policy. Kurdistan has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country and one of the highest rates of drug related prisoners while twenty years ago drugs were almost unknown in Kurdistan. Kurds are discriminated against in employment, they never get high positions. They are discriminated against in education. Their mother tongue is not taught in schools. Kurds are absent in history textbooks, and if mentioned at all their history is distorted. Kurds are denied any form of self rule or autonomy. They are politically suppressed. No political parties are allowed. No Kurdish newspapers are allowed. (There are a few Kurdish magazines and some Kurdish books are published in a very restricted and controlled manner.)

Kurdistan is the only region in Iran where political executions are still widespread. Killing and torturing dissidents and political figures is still the norm in Kurdistan, carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran, sometimes taking the form of mafia like kidnapping and killing people in secret. There are several instances of political execution and political murder by the authorities in the last two years.

In short Kurds in Iran are under a systematic and widespread national oppression.

What do the Kurds want?

Kurds in Iran, with a population of about 10 million, want an end to the patterns and practices of national discrimination. They want arbitrary arrest and torturing, kidnapping and killing to be stopped and their human rights respected. Kurds want their national, cultural and political rights to be recognised and respected. They want to enjoy their right to run their own affairs and have the opportunity to develop and advance their society and their culture. They want to have a fair share in the power structure in the country.

Most of the Kurds advocate a federal, democratic political structure for Iran in which Kurds make one of the local governments. Iran is vast country with huge ethnic, linguistic, cultural and ecological diversity, left from its imperial past. With its six different sizable nationalities (Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Arabs, Baluchis and Turkmans together with the Fars), Iran is perhaps the best candidate in the Middle East for a federative system.

Abdulla Mohtadi:

Iran's new regime: Hostile to its people, incompatible with the world

Nowadays Islamic Iran appears to challenge the world. What kind of phenomenon is this regime and how it must be treated? This issue has been the subject of hundreds or perhaps thousands of discussions and reviews. The short review below is a humble attempt to shed some light on this issue.

Defeat of the reformists in the seventh parliamentary elections and later in the presidential election last June and the coming to power of Ahmadinejad and his men, marked the beginning of a new phase in Iran's political life. The so-called reformist movement had lost its momentum long before they suffered defeat in the hands of this new brand of Islamic conservatism. The reformists lacked the political will to mobilize and fight back, they let down the various social movements, let the initial enthusiasm evaporate, and thus they deprived themselves of any effective popular support and paved the way for their own defeat. But the defeat of the reformists did not bring about a new unity and internal harmony within the power circles as expected. In fact those who came to power were not conservatives in the conventional meaning that world has been familiar with, but they are a particular faction called fundamentalists or more literally "believers in principles". Today the power struggle in ruling circles is not carried out between the conservatives and reformists as it was a few years ago but between the conservatives and these new fundamentalists. It seems that conservatives are getting pushed to the margin as well.

Ideologically, the fundamentalists stem from "Hojatieh Association" and its predecessor the "Anti-Baha'i Association". Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the fanatic head teacher of "Haqqani Seminary" who preaches the harshest form of fundamentalism and intolerance, is their spiritual leader. A number of the cabinet members and those who hold sensitive posts in the new government are graduates of this seminary.

The fundamentalists are extremely dogmatic, intolerant, and violent who openly advocate killing of the opponents and critics; they not only denounce democracy and human rights and label them anti-Islamic, which is more or less common in the Islamic system of Iran, but openly declare that the legitimacy of the state only comes from God and therefore the Islamic state is only responsible to God and answers to Him.

They are messianic, or to name it by its Iranian version, pro-Mahdi; they believe in the resurrection of Mahdi. For Mahdi to reappear, as the ideology states, the world must be filled with injustice and tyranny. Thus they consider the current conflict between themselves and the West as a sign of the coming of Mahdi and a god given opportunity to get rid of injustice and un-Islamic behavior.

To give you a picture of what this creed is about in everyday reality, let me give you a few examples. After attending the General Assembly of the United Nations a few months ago, president Ahmadinejad clearly stated in a meeting that during his speech there was a halo of light surrounding him and some of the Ayatollahs nodded in agreement and said this was a sign of the approval of the government by the God. When he recently wrote his letter to President Bush, one of those Ayatollahs called it a miracle and likened it to the letters Prophet Mohammad wrote to the Kings of Iran and Ethiopia that apparently caused the demise of those empires. Very recently another high official praising Mr. Ahmadinejad claimed that if there were to be anymore Prophets, Ahmadinejad would be the one!

Whether these people really believe their stories is not that important, what is important is that they preach it and act upon it. It is interesting to know that Mr. Ahmadinejad has hired an ethics teacher for his cabinet members so they get preached on Islamic ethics every morning before they start their day. It has also been known that some of his ministers are writing their wishes on pieces of paper and throw it down into the Jamkarn Well near the holy city of Qom where Mahdi is believed to be hiding in the wish that Mahdi is going to open those letters and fulfill their wishes. It is also interesting to know that even based on the Shiite religion tales, Mahdi is hiding in a well in Samara in Iraq and not in Qom! This excessive extremism has angered even some Ayatollahs and members of the Majles or the Iranian parliament.

Aside from these things that are the subject of ridicule amongst the majority of people and especially the young generation, there are other characteristics of the new government that are much more serious and troublesome. It is not funny to know that some of the ministers have directly been involved in killing and torture of dissidents. The minister of interior, Mr. Pour-Mohammadi, is one of the three people who in the summer of 1988 killed thousands of prisoners per order of Ayatollah Khomeini. This crime was so shocking that Ayatollah Montazeri wrote a letter condemning the massacre and called it an atrocity worse than those committed by Shah's regime. That letter, as is known, caused him his position as the number two in the hierarchy of power.

A number of ministers in Ahmadinejad's government who have come from the infamous ministry of Etela'at or Iranian Intelligence have been involved in the so-called serial killings. It was a wave of political assassinations organized by the top ranking Etela'at officials during the first year of Khatemi's government in which a number of poets, authors, and political dissidents were kidnapped and brutally killed.

Another important feature of this new government is its increasing dependence on Pasdaran or the Revolutionary Guards. The military- financial complex of Pasdaran is getting control of huge assets in the country. It is getting lucrative contracts from right and left. For instance, $ 1.3 billion contract of gas pipelines was given from the ministry of petroleum to the Pasdaran. This way the loyalty of the powerful heads of this fearful military and security apparatus to the president is secured and at the same time the institution gets the upper hand in the power struggles to com. To pay justice, one should admit that authorizing Pasdaran to get involved in business activities and getting them lucrative contracts started during Rafsanjani administration.

In the struggle for absolute power, the fundamentalist faction is trying to take over the Council of Experts and get rid of Rafsanjani in the Council's next election, obviously with the help of the Council of Guardians and their notorious disqualification process. Mr. Rafsanjani, who is the influential head of the Council of Expediency, was able in his time to deceive Europe for years and sell himself as a moderate. In reality, Iran's secret nuclear programs started and developed under his presidency and he has, in numerous occasions, criticized Khatemi as being too lenient with Europe about Iran's nuclear rights.

Other aspects of the new government are well known in the world: irresponsible and venturous foreign policy, provoking tensions and blackmailing, ambition to dominate the region, the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and supporting terrorism. It must be said that these policies have, more or less, been followed during the entire rein of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, Ahmadinejad is pursuing these policies more intensely and more openly. The pursuit of nuclear weapons is one result of such a policy. The Islamic Republic sees the nuclear weapon as the best means of their survival, as the guarantor of the regime. One can say that the dominant belief among mullahs in Tehran is: "I have atomic bomb; therefore I am".

Confrontation and violence is not pursued only in foreign policies. This regime cannot live in peace neither with its own people nor the outside world. In the internal affairs, Ahmadinejad's regime has intensified the policy of repression, intimidation, and persecution. The tolerance of dissent has become virtually zero; the pursuit of joy by young people is repressed, public transport workers of Tehran who only wanted to form their union and presented their economic demands are brutally hammered; student associations are attacked; professors are fired; women are subjected with even more discrimination and repression and their peaceful demonstrations are brutally attacked; national minorities are repressed more harshly than before and so on. In general, the new government has closed off all the ways of peaceful expression of dissent in the society and thus is creating an atmosphere prone to violence and internal implosion.

The problem with these policies, however, is that they are completely out of tune with the basic needs and aspirations of the Iranian people. Iranian society has changed dramatically and cannot reconcile itself with the way of life preached by Ayatollahs. The majority of Iranian people are more aware and more assertive of their rights, they stand up more frequently, they speak out more loudly, and they defy and fight back. Ahmadinejad's government has clearly exposed how out of tune it is with its own society and with the world. That is why it looks ridiculous and dangerous at the same time.

What is lacking is a credible alternative, a cohesive and powerful opposition front that can unite and lead the people in their fight for a better future. Fortunately, there have been some positive movements to remedy this huge shortcoming. The biggest task facing the Iranian opposition, both inside and outside the country, is the formation of a broad democratic coalition that fights for democracy, secularism, human rights, women's rights, nationalities rights, etc.

What can Europe and the West do in this process? The policy of critical dialogue by Europe did not succeed; neither is military attack the solution. The real alternative is uncompromising support for democracy, secularism and human rights in Iran.

The Iranian nuclear issue has created an international consensus towards the Islamic regime, which is fine. But this issue has had the opposite effect for the Iranian opposition. What can unite the opposition is the prospect of a democratic, secular and federative Iran that strives to bring social justice to all. This is a project that Iran deserves and the Iranian opposition has every right to ask the world to support.

Abdullah Mohtadi is the Secretary General of the Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan

This is the text of a speech given at a conference held in the French Parliament on 16 June 2006. The conference "Where is Iran heading to?" was organised by the Institut kurde de Paris. The Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party - Iran (KDPI), Mr Mustaf Hejri, was also a speaker in the conference

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

The Iranian nuclear program crisis

Iran claims that they started to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. But the Western World, the United States in particular, contradicts this Iranian claim and asserts that Tehran's intent is to make an atomic bomb, and demands that the Iranian nuclear program be suspended. This difficult development surfaced at the worst possible time, at least for the US.

Iran is one of the major oil and natural gas producing countries and it has bountiful oil and natural gas reserves at its disposal. The obvious question is: why does Iran have to invest billions of dollars in atomic energy to generate electricity, as they claim? It's preposterous, and economically a poor investment. So, the suspicions that the Iranians are pursuing uranium enrichment to make an atomic bomb are plausible. So far, the Iranian President Ahmadinejad has not been flexible and imperiously defies the world's demand to discontinue his nuclear programs.

Iran's possession of an atomic weapon would exacerbate the peace and stability in an already problematic Middle East. Ominous and acrimonious anti-Semitic remarks by Iranian authorities against Israel have made Israelis uneasy. Israel is a small country, and striking Israel with one or two atomic bombs could incapacitate Israel to the extent that they would be unable to strike back. Additionally, Iran has been a state sponsor of terrorism for decades; with its Islamic fundamentalist government, possessing an atomic weapon could have grave consequences to the Middle East region and beyond. How then can Iran be subdued and convinced to suspend its nuclear programs? What are the alternative options the world can exercise should Iran proceed with its agenda?

Permanent members of the United Nations Security Council haven't been unified as to how to handle the Iranian crisis. The US adamantly favors economic sanctions. Let us examine economic sanctions and their viability. Economic sanctions are imposed to create a financial crisis for the government targeted. The logic behind this action is to jeopardize the economy as an embargo drastically reduces commerce, which leads to higher unemployment, a lower standard of living and the government's difficulties to finance social programs effectively. This should result in political instability, social disturbances, disarray within the ruling party, and eventually the ousting of the targeted government. This action makes common sense, and that is why the US in the past has tried to rally the world behind its economic embargoes against many nations. But history contradicts the expected results and proves this option faulty. Take Iraq for example. While under an international embargo, Saddam's regime remained in power until it was ousted by force. Innocent civilians were the victims of the embargo; the main target, Saddam and his cronies, were well fed, clothed and sheltered. Almost a million Iraqi children suffered from malnutrition; in fact, the Iraqis blamed America for their insuperable difficulties more than Saddam. Libya is another country that was subject to economic embargo, yet the embargo didn't cause any social or political disturbances to topple Khadafy's regime. If economic sanctions were declared against Iran, it would backfire on the US, and the little support America has among the Iranians would be uprooted, and it would not produce any better results than the sanctions imposed on Iraq post Gulf War. Moreover, the US has imposed economic sanctions against Iran for years, but the lack of diplomatic and economic ties with Iran leaves the US without any effective leverage in this matter. If the US had a better economic and diplomatic relationship with Tehran, the US sanctions would be more influential. Also, it should be recognized that economic sanctions could succeed if Iranian oil and natural gas were to be banned in the world market, but that cannot happen since Iran's oil is essential and there is no surplus of oil as all the oil-producing countries are pumping oil at maximum capacity.

Bombing Iranian atomic facilities and major army posts is another option. This option is the most dangerous choice given the Middle East's current problematic affairs, and undoubtedly this would open another tragic and bloody chapter in the most strategic energy region in the world. The consequences would be extremely dangerous to the world's peace and economy. Cunningly enough, Tehran has chosen to reveal their clandestine nuclear program at the worst possible time for the US. They have taken advantage of the vulnerability of the US in the wake of the Iraq and Afghan war. Iran has a long border with both Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries with heavy US military involvement. The Taliban's activities have been on the rise recently, and US military action would result in further Iranian support of the Taliban and therefore the escalation of Afghanistan's chaos. At the same time, the Iranians have been emboldening and aiding terrorist organizations in Iraq surreptitiously; however, an open war between the US and Iran would make Tehran openly aid insurgencies, possibly sending Iranian Jihadists, and subsequently worsening the already deteriorating pandemonium in Iraq.

The diplomatic options and providing of incentives the US has already set in motion is the safest course. Ironically, the Iranians through their trickery will exhaust the incentives to their benefit and will in the end bring the world back to the boardroom. The reality is that the Iranians are determined, and they will pursue their nuclear weapon program notwithstanding opposition for fearing little retribution from the world.

Dr. Kamal Artin:

Pacifism might save Iranian people!

A main purpose of invading Iraq by the director of the new world was to lead the Middle East toward adopting the universal civic values of this century. Mistakes are inevitable, yet, it will be very naïve to think that the experts of the most developed country did not know what they were doing. To initiate change in the region, obviously the US administration could not first target the main Middle Eastern players, Iran and Saudi Arabia, since these fundamentalist regimes still serve the American interests one way or the other, and the cost of their elimination would have been too high at this stage. Based on calculation of the available data, directing the change in the Middle East seemed easier from the weakest points of entry into the region, Afghanistan and Iraq. The intellectually and morally handicapped leaders of these countries had already turned their territories into horrifying zones justifiable to be rescued by the international police force!

Now since the rescue mission seems prolonged, many Neo-Chamberlains who have forgotten the price of liberty during other major wars, question the cost effectiveness of expanding freedom with this war without giving a reasonable alternative! Despite its ugly face, this war will end soon one way or the other, and ideally the American troops should be moved to the welcoming area of the region, Southern Kurdistan. This peaceful region is learning to develop mutually beneficial relationships not only with its new friends such as US and possibly Israel but also its old enemies such as Iran, Turkey, and Arab countries. One might ask which country will be the next target for change and how such a change should come about. The behavior of some Iranian leaders, who lack the capacity for change, might remind the terminators of Saddam and treat them the same way as the next candidate; I hope this does not become necessary. However, change is inevitable and creation of a livable and lovable Union of Iranian Democratic States is the dream of many of those who escaped from the hell or still are burning in it! Meanwhile considering that passive movements such as Gandhi's could be as successful as eliminating monsters with war, I will argue that instead of expecting change from outside, Iran has the potential to be transformed to a civic society through three goal directed passive methods within its current borders.

First, what the fanatics of many countries hope to impose on others, the fundamentalists have already imposed on Iranians. Although for a few years the Afghanis suffered too, only the Iranian people have remained doomed to experience the hell that was promised to be the heaven before the revolution in 1979. Because of the behavior of Islamic Republic and Hezbollah, Iranian Shiites have not been able to convince other religious minorities to trust the justice of the grand ayatollah, Velayat e Faghih. The fanatic leaders of the rival sect, the Sunni Talibans and Alqaidas, proved to be untrustworthy to them either, when they had a small portion of power in the region. The horrifying consequences of mixture of religion and state has now led the Iranian Shiite and Sunnis alike to question the validity of what they have been told by some of their preachers. Even the image of mystics, whose purpose might be to serve an unknown higher power in their private life, has been damaged in the society! It is not surprising that some faithful, moderate, and even ex-fanatic Iranians are worried about the end of Islamic faith and try to convince the world that positive elements of any faith deserve to be preserved. Such questions and worries were the sign of enlightenment that led to European renaissance. We might be observing the early signs of an Iranian renaissance, in which the people finally recognize that a creature is too limited to define and set the rules of its possible creator! Since in Iran only those who believe in imposing religious values on others by making them state law are nominated for elections, Iranian people could throw a blank ballot in their boxes next time. Such a passive measure could only expedite the inevitable renaissance and peaceful change!

Second, Iran is a heterogeneous country, yet has only one official language that other Iranian nationalities can not fully identify with in their ancestral homeland. The majority of Iranians speak a different language at home before they are mandated to learn Persian (also partially Arabic) in public schools. No doubt that Persian and Arabic languages are valuable and rich. However, the discriminatory attitude of the dominant cultures toward other languages could not keep the enlightened minorities satisfied with their second class status forever! If the minorities stop speaking the mandatory language in their work place or do not send their children to any school that does not recognize their own identity and language, they will shake the validity of the state's discriminatory and homogenizing policy! The regime could not incarcerate millions of people for such a passive yet progressive boycott and the minorities would finally enjoy the same cultural rights as Persian and Arabs. In the long run a Union of Iranian Democratic State could be born, in which no nationalities might impose their own values on others, even if it means having a Persian monarchy, an Islamic Arab state, or democratic Kurdish, Azeri, Balochi, and Turcoman republics. Other states in the Iranian plateau might join such a union voluntarily based on common interests and cultural values instead of through expansionism of a fanatic ideology that might have been foreign to all of them in the first place!

Third, Iranian fanatics have mandated that half of the population covers themselves form head to toe preferably with a large black cloth! They might argue that such a cloth will prevent fanatic males from becoming aroused, lose control, show their true nature, and like less evolved creatures attack their female counterparts. They have declared any natural romantic partnership without marriage even masturbation as sins and legitimized a prostitution policy that allows hypersexual males to temporarily marry as many wives as they desire! Enlightenment about these discriminatory policies could encourage the women to discard their dark black cloth and scarves; such an action could shake the foundation of the state! Unlikely the regime could incarcerate all females, if this simple, passive, and self liberating trend continues. This way the domination of the superficially powerful gender will end, and with it the whole population will be liberated!

In summary, I believe if the Iranian people recognize the power of self-liberation through enlightenment and goal directed pacifism, they might not need to go through the bitter experience of Iraqis. With three radical passive measures they might be able to rescue themselves; otherwise I am afraid the international police force might consider a more radical plan for Iran in the name of rescuing even one person, one gender, or one ethnicity at a time regardless of the cost and world's public opinion. As the live supportive columns carrying a suppressive ceiling, Iranian people could let the structure of the regime collapse by not doing what they are forced to do. They have the potential to transform their fanatic country to a civic society by: 1) Voters' refusal to elect politicians that impose their religious values to be the law of their land. 2) Minorities' boycott of the state mandated official language, and 3) Women's rejection of mandatory dress code.

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