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Iran

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It didn't have to be this way. But because of heavy-handedness and cultural insensitivity, the American occupation force has now lost the support of the three key Shi'ite leaders in Iraq - allies through circumstance until now. The Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani announced last Saturday the issuing of a fatwa against an "illegitimate" constitution... Read More
An extremely discreet and reclusive man, rarely seen in public, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, born in Iran's holy city of Mashhad, is the primus inter pares of four great marjas who lead the roughly 150 million Shi'ites spread around the world - including Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, the Saudi peninsula and Europe - through the... Read More
If We're Not Going to Abolish Them All...
Iran should be allowed to purchase or manufacture nuclear weapons without the interference of the United States. The flagrant hostility directed at Iran from the Bush Administration suggests that its survival is as threatened as any country on earth. If ever there was a case for the use of "nuclear deterrents" to evade "imminent" danger,... Read More
What would you do if your army was mired down in a country turned hostile by your invasion, forced to hide behind fortified positions, and only able to make an occasional foray to kill a few women and children along with an occasional insurgent? A plethora of reports are issued revealing that the reasons you... Read More
Having made such a smashing success out of its war with Iraq, the Bush administration now seems to be pondering the glories of yetanother one in Iran. In recent weeks, various administration officials and their amen corner in the neoconservative press have muttered and mumbled about theperils of Iran suddenly developing—guess what?—"weapons of mass destruction."... Read More
Fanning the Hysteria About Iran
When did "liberal" NPR become a champion of American aggression against Iran? Listeners to National Public Radio are increasingly apt to criticize the "rightward shift" in the station's news coverage. The August 30 "Morning Edition" program, however, reached a new low for slanted journalism and for making the Bush Administration's case for war with Iran.... Read More
The future of the global War on Terror
What will be the next front in the war on terror? I don't claim to be Nostradamus and I don't have a crystal ball, but I can confidently say that the current situation points to a wider war in the Middle East. That result has been sought and planned for by the American neoconservatives; it... Read More
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith is the neocon Likudnik who was tasked with cooking up the false “intelligence” that President Bush used to deceive the US public into supporting an illegal invasion of Iraq. With the US military now trapped in the Iraqi quagmire, Feith wants the US to attack Iran. President Bush falsely claimed... Read More
No matter what the spin from Time magazine's "man of the year", US President George W Bush, or defense chief Donald Rumsfeld, there's one overarching question facing the 83 entities - nine coalition lists, 47 political parties and 27 individuals, totaling more than 5,000 candidates - now competing for the 275 seats in Iraq's interim... Read More
In Najaf, the holy Shi’ite city, the grand ayatollahs are busy advancing a religious agenda: Ali al-Sistani, Mohammad Ishaq al-Fayad, Bashir al-Najafi and Mohammad Said Hakim compose the al-marja’ iyyah (source of infallible authority on all religious matters). They are unanimous: the Shi’ite religious parties, the big winners in the elections, must implement Sharia (Islamic)... Read More
A member of the Iranian diaspora summed it up, wryly, in just one phrase: "Welcome to the axis of lesser evil." The sophisticated Persian civilization invented chess. The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the EU-3 (France, Germany and Great Britain) is nothing but a game of chess. Iranians are now taking pleasure in reducing President... Read More
If only those "axis of evil" fellas were a little more ... cooperative. In Iraq, the Sunni Arab resistance insists on being on a roll, thus disturbing the Pentagon's plans of quietly building its 14 military bases. In Iran, the new game has not even started, but Tehran and Washington are already at each other's... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
An Iranian MP said Thursday that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds a grudge against Iran "because until today she hasn't gotten over her Iranian boyfriend dumping her when she was a university student." The MP, Shakrallah Atar, claimed the faithless lad was from Kazwin , some eighty miles west of Teherean. Atar said... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Iran may have the weapons-grade uranium out of three nuclear warheads dumped out of a B-52 back in 1991. Or so at least the US government might have some reason to believe, according to a seemingly well-informed person talking to CounterPunch last week. On February 3, 1991, this particular B-52G had been deployed to circle... Read More
In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be... Read More
Former B-52 Crewman Disputes Dumped Nuke Story
Concerning my weekend diary item about the possibility of nuclear warheads from a B-52 that crashed on February 3, 1991,ending up in Iran, John Vickers, a former B-52 flier and CounterPunch reader, offers some pretty persuasive criticisms on at least one part of the story. My weekend diary item, based on a conversation with someone... Read More
I just wanna watch Dylan live I won't fly into the Pentagon alive - My Sweet Little Terrorist Song, by Iranian rock band 127 TEHRAN - Scene 1. The brand new Imam Khomeini Airport - or IKA, its code in the travel industry - is spread out on a deserted plain near the Tehran-Qom expressway,... Read More
TEHRAN - "Nuclear power is our right," the boys go. And the black-clad girls immediately sing along: "Independence and freedom is the belief of our people!" It sounds great in Persian, flowing "like a poem", comments a smiling observer. This - how to call it, an Islamic revolutionary rap? - goes on for a while.... Read More
QOM - Secular voices in Tehran are adamant: Ninety percent of the political power in Iran is in Qom. One may be tempted to add that at least 70% of the political power in Iraq is also situated in Qom. It's only a small room, one of its walls plastered with blue cabinet files containing... Read More
"Iran is the country of Imam al-Mahdi." - Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of the Islamic revolution in 1979 (For Part 1 of this report, see Sistani.Qom: In the wired heart of Shi'ism) QOM - Shi'ism is an eschatological religion that has codified its own, complex (happy) end of history. Intellectually, from a non-Shi'ite point... Read More
ISFAHAN - It is one of the most sensitive sites in the world, a compound 15 kilometers north of beautiful Isfahan, on a back road skirting a rocky mountain. The blue panel, in white lettering, says "Isfahan Nuclear Production Research Center"/"Atomic Energy Organization of Iran"/"Nuclear Production Branch". Anti-aircraft guns are strategically positioned along the road,... Read More
TEHRAN - In the high-stakes nuclear poker game between Iran and the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany), Tehran has decided to call the EU's bluff and turn the game around. On top of it Ali Larijani, the new head of the Supreme National Security Council - appointed by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad - and now Iran's... Read More
TEHRAN - If only Iran's reformist movement had listened long and hard to Emadeddin Baghi, social sciences researcher, religious studies scholar, journalist, author of 20 books (six of them banned), former political prisoner and one of the country's foremost dissident intellectuals. He was certain former president and still head of the Expediency Council Hashemi Rafsanjani... Read More
TEHRAN - The black chador-clad secretaries behind rows of flat computer monitors at the Petroleum Ministry building in central Tehran are all smiles. Not to mention their bosses. No wonder. According to the ministry's latest estimates in August, Iran will export at least US$60 billion in oil in 2005 - more than $10 billion more... Read More
TEHRAN - Ibrahim Yazdi was the man who convinced Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to wear a bulletproof jacket on the chartered Air France flight that took the imam from Paris to Tehran to consolidate the triumph of the Islamic revolution in January 1979. He was one of the Westernized, Islamic non-turbaned princes of the revolution himself.... Read More
TEHRAN - Imagine the photo opportunity: US President George W Bush and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad meeting face-to-face in New York. But it won't happen. Blame the public relations machine in Washington and the Islamic guidance handlers in Tehran. Yet it would be so much easier if the two leaders would talk. Ahmadinejad, just weeks... Read More
TEHRAN - Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are crucial protagonists in the specter of a Shi'ite crescent, according to the Saudi royal family, King Abdullah of Jordan and conservative American think tanks. Once again, the facts on the ground are much more complex than a simplistic formula. Syria, although 86% Muslim, is a multiethnic and multiconfessional... Read More
The Arab League sent a 10-man delegation to Baghdad this past weekend to try to drum up support for a "national reconciliation" conference in Iraq - to be held after the referendum on the draft constitution Saturday. The welcoming committee included highway guerrillas armed to the teeth. Although no Arab League members were shot, two... Read More
or Israel bombs Iran: The US suffers the consequences
Israel?s political and military leadership have repeatedly and openly declared their preparation to militarily attack Iran in the immediate future. Introduction: Their influential supporters in the US have made Israel’s war policy the number one priority in their efforts to secure Presidential and Congressional backing. The arguments put forth by the Israeli government and echoed... Read More
"This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to [the Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country." - Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, December 14 "I called it [Iran] part of the 'axis of evil' for a reason. It's a real threat." -... Read More
The Bombs of March
Iran will defend itself if it is attacked by the United States or Israel. Defending one's country against unprovoked aggression is sanctioned under international law and is a requirement of true leadership. We would expect no different if either the United States or Israel was attacked. The Sharon and Bush administrations' have done an admirable... Read More
Iran has thrown down the gauntlet to the US and EU by resuming uranium enrichment laboratory tests. Tehran is not heeding a mounting chorus of warnings from its foes in the west and even its friends in Moscow. "We won't be bullied," said Iran's Persident, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, who denied Iran has nuclear ambitions and insisted... Read More
The U.S. and Israel are preparing to attack Iran's nuclear infrastructure, according to U.S. and European intelligence sources. The U.S. and EU are exerting maximum diplomatic and psychological pressure on Iran to prevent it from enriching uranium in spite of its legal right to do so. Tehran remains defiant, but may yet compromise by shipping... Read More
McCain Starts Bombing Run on Iran
Senator John McCain is on track for another rhetorical bombing run. In Munich, he's been squaring up to Iran, gravely telling the allies that the military option can't be ruled out if diplomatic efforts fail to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb: "Immediate UN Security Council action is required to impose multilateral sanctions, including a... Read More
The already frail nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was bombed to oblivion last week by US President George W Bush - immolated On the altar of a strategic relationship with India to counteract the emergence of China. Meanwhile, the US threatens to punish Iran because the Islamic Republic is a full member of the NPT. This is... Read More
TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki may have captured all the headlines when he announced that Iran would not use the oil weapon in the event it was slapped with sanctions by the UN Security Council. But in the world of Pipelineistan, the nuclear row waged by the US, the EU-3 (Britain, France and... Read More
"And if you are angry with us, then all I can tell you is to keep angry and die from this anger." - Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, March 14 TEHRAN - What was an open secret is now official: the Bush administration is after regime change in Iran - or "resistance to the theocracy", as... Read More
TEHRAN - March 20 was to have been the day that Iran was attacked by either the United States or Israel, according to countless doomsday predictions. The fateful date has come and gone, and there has been no replay of "shock and awe". March 20 was also meant to see the inauguration of the Kish... Read More
ISFAHAN - From Cairo to Qom, from Jerusalem to Peshawar, there is a widespread perception among 1.3 billion Muslims, Sunni or Shi'ite, that Islam is under siege. Persians pride themselves on molding Islam from the Arabs into a much more refined - and pure - faith. While Arab governments are basically mum, the Iranian government... Read More
TEHRAN and QOM, Iran - Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has been very quiet lately - at least for his standards. But may no outside observers doubt his popular appeal. After last Friday's prayers at the University of Tehran, he chose not to use the VIP exit and decided to mingle with the crowd, surrounded... Read More
TEHRAN - A day after the UN Security Council, in a non-binding decision, gave Iran one month to stop enriching uranium, the Nayeb restaurant, serving the best kebab in Tehran for the upper middle classes, was absolutely packed for lunch. In this worldly, secular atmosphere - no clerics, only two chador-clad women in sight, and... Read More
TEHRAN - When it comes to Iran, the widespread belief is that the United States cannot possibly occupy the country - it's the size of France, Britain, Italy and Spain combined - and thus exercise the avowed White House goal of regime change. The next best thing - from the point of view of armchair... Read More
"All options, including the military one, are on the table." - US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "I announce, officially, that dear Iran has joined the nuclear countries of the world." - President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, saying on Tuesday that Iran had successfully enriched uranium for the first time, a landmark step toward its quest to... Read More
It's both fascinating and dismaying watching the manufactured 'crisis' over Iran reach new intensity each week. Iran poses no real military threat to anyone, but listening to the Bush Administration or the US media one would think that Tehran was about to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world. What we are seeing is a... Read More
"Tehran appears hell-bent on defying the international community and pursuing a nuclear program that is of growing concern." - Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesman. This followed a rare press conference with the international media in Tehran on Monday in which Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad suggested that Tehran might withdraw from the United Nations nuclear... Read More
“Iran’s biggest threat since Nazis,” said Israeli defence minister Shaul Mofaz, according to the Guardian;“The world must not wait! Since Hitler we Jews have not faced such a threat” as presented by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who “further stirred international outrage by calling on Israeli Jews to be resettled in Europe” (...thus the Guardian). These guys are... Read More
SAO PAULO - Move over the "axis of evil". The time is ripe for the "axis of gas". Meet the Gran Gasoduto del Sur (the Great Gas Pipeline of the South) - the South American entry into Pipelineistan, soon to join networks from Siberia to both Europe and Asia as well as the American-inspired Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan... Read More
Iran's nuclear program is a danger to the entire world, U.S. President George Bush warned again last week as Washington pressed the UN Security Council to impose sanctions. The uproar certainly helped distract public attention from the Bush administration's mounting domestic and foreign policy woes. It also showed how few people understand the Iranian nuclear... Read More
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ruled - and expressly told Revolutionary Guard commanders - that nuclear weapons are against Islam, and cannot be used in war even for self-defense. For all practical purposes - and with International Atomic Energy Agency confirmation - Tehran is pursuing a civilian nuclear program. Virtually the whole country... Read More
Why did the Bush regime create a crisis over Iran? The answer is that the Bush regime is desperate to widen the war in the Middle East. What has Iran done? Unlike Israel, Pakistan and India, countries that developed nuclear weapons on the sly, Iran signed the non- proliferation treaty. Countries that sign this treaty... Read More
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