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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2006, 01:54:30 AM »

 Iran protests to UN secretary-general against US threats
United Nations, New York, March 21, IRNA

Iran-UN-Zarif
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif on Monday sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan protesting against recent US threats against Tehran.

Following is the full text of his letter:
"In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
"Your Excellency, Mr Kofi Annan,
"Upon instructions from my Government, I have the honor to enclose herewith the text of a note verbale dated March 13, 2006 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic addressed to the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran (United States Interest Section).

"In the past several months, various senior officials of the United States have used false pretexts to make public and thinly- veiled threats of resort to force against the Islamic Republic of Iran in total contempt of international law and the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

"Statements delivered at the AIPAC meeting in Washington on March 5-7, 2006 by the US Vice-President and Permanent Representative to the United Nations threaten Iran with `tangible and painful consequences' and the `use of all tools at our disposal' to make it abandon its nuclear activities.

"Rest assured that although we do not rely on the Security Council as the only tool in our toolbox to address this problem and are already beefing up our defensive measures, the statements and publications are simply the latest and more vulgar in US threats to resort to unlawful, unacceptable and dangerous use of force (against Iran).

"The statements, furthermore, show the US' contempt for the UN Security Council and other multilateral mechanisms, and its intention to abuse the very same mechanisms are self-evident.

"Regrettably, such dangerous words go beyond callous statements before single-issue constituencies and include documents officially articulating US strategy. The list includes the draft "Doctrine of Joint Military Operations" issued by the US Joint Chief of Staff on March 15, 2005 and the "National Security Strategy" issued by the White House on March 16, 2006, both of which defiantly articulate US policies and intentions on pre-emption, the use of force and resort to nuclear weapons in contravention of international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the NPT and other US multilateral undertakings on negative security assurances.

"These statements and documents, in view of past illegal behavior of the United States, constitute matters of utmost gravity that require urgent, concerted and resolute response on the part of the United Nations and particularly the Security Council.

"It is indeed regrettable that past failures have emboldened senior US officials and even others to consider the threat or use of force, both of which are specifically rejected under Article 2(4) of the Charter as violations of one of the most fundamental principles of the Organization, as options available on the table.

"The United Nations has a fundamental responsibility to reject those assertions and to arrest this trend.

"It will be highly appreciated if this letter and its annex were circulated as a document of the General Assembly under Agenda Items 9, 82, 87, 94, 95, 97, 110 and of the Security Council.

"Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

(Signed) M. Javad Zarif

Iran protests to UN secretary-general against US threats
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2006, 02:06:30 AM »

 U.N. Iran statement still elusive

Tuesday, March 21, 2006; Posted: 1:44 a.m. EST (06:44 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Russia, backed by China, blocked agreement on Monday on a U.N. Security Council statement aimed at quashing Iran's nuclear ambitions despite a ministerial meeting on Tehran's atomic programs, diplomats said.

Senior foreign affairs officials from Germany and the five veto-holding Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- met for more than four hours to exchange information on how to handle Iran.

Their U.N. ambassadors joined them for discussions on a draft statement the Security Council has been unable to issue for nearly two weeks telling Iran to stop uranium-enrichment efforts the West believes are a cover for bomb making.

Still, Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state, told reporters after the meeting, "We remain convinced that we will see a presidential statement. It just may take a couple more days."

Both Russia and China are wary of action by the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, fearing threats might escalate and prompt Iran to cut all contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Envoys close to the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Russia was toughest on provisions in a draft statement and that China backed Moscow.

France and Britain, authors of the draft statement, will take "another look at that text to see if we can refine it a little bit more," said Britain's U.N. ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, whose mission hosted the talks.

The full 15-member council consults late on Tuesday.

China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, was optimistic but his comments indicated no deal was reached yet.

"There are a number of areas where we have common points and these will be narrowed in the days ahead," he said. "We agreed to continue discussing it."

Nevertheless, Burns said the group had common aims.

"All agreed that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and is out of compliance with its international commitments," he said. "All agreed Iran is traveling down the road toward enrichment. All agreed that we should stay united, stay together, to send one message."
Next step

Envoys emerging from the talks said there had been no firm proposals from Britain and others on the next step.

The West has considered a resolution under mandatory Chapter 7 provisions of the U.N. Charter if Iran does not comply but only after a statement is adopted.

A statement needs the consent of all 15 council members while a resolution requires nine votes in favor and no veto from a permanent member. However, if there is no agreement on a statement, the Western powers could turn the draft into a resolution and dare Russia and China to veto.

Under a November 2004 agreement with Britain, France and Germany, negotiators for the European Union, Iran agreed to freeze any uranium conversion, enrichment and reprocessing activities in return for economic and political rewards.

That deal broke down last year and Iran restarted uranium conversion in August. The IAEA board agreed to report the issue to the Security Council, which received a dossier on March 8.

On the statement, Russia and China have objected to a section of the draft setting a two-week deadline for the IAEA to report whether Tehran has stopped enrichment activities, saying it is too short.

The Western powers, at the suggestion of China, also revised a text on Friday, saying that Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, would submit a progress report on Iran to the Security Council and the 35-member IAEA board at the same time. Earlier only the council was mentioned.

In addition to Burns attending the Monday session were political directors John Sawers of Britain, Michael Schaefer of Germany and Stanislas de la Boulaye of France. Also Sergei Kislyak, a Russian deputy foreign minister and China arms control director, Zhang Yan.

U.N. Iran statement still elusive
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2006, 05:54:17 PM »

02/04/2006            
Iran said set to respond to U.S. strike with global terror
By Reuters

Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes against its nuclear sites with global attacks by intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams, The Washington Post reported in an article on its Web site on Saturday, citing unnamed "intelligence and terrorism experts."

Iran would attack U.S. targets in Iraq and there is "growing consensus that Iran's agents would target civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere," The Post said.

"U.S. officials would not discuss what evidence they have indicating Iran would undertake terrorist action," it said.

But the article quoted one "senior official" as saying that the matter is "a huge issue" and another saying it "is consuming a lot of time" in the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

Intelligence officials declined to say whether they have detected "preparatory measures" by Iran's foreign-based operatives, such as more surveillance, counter-surveillance or message traffic, The Post said.

The Post article comes amid increased international tension over Iran's nuclear program, which some nations say is aimed at building atomic bombs. Iran says the program is civilian.

Iran said set to respond to U.S. strike with global terror
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2007, 04:19:51 PM »

Iran warns Argentina ahead of Kirchner UN speech
Sat. 22 Sep 2007

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) — Iran has warned Argentina against joining the enemy camp if Argentine President Nestor Kirchner criticizes Tehran at the UN General Assembly, the Iranian ambassador said in an interview Friday.

Kirchner is expected to mention Argentina's probe into alleged Iranian involvement in a deadly attack on a Jewish association in 1994, a leading representative of the Argentine Jewish community told AFP.

Authorities have yet to convict anyone for the bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association that left 85 dead and 300 injured.

But if Kirchner accuses Iran of wrongdoing, "numerous countries will understand that Argentina is in favor of war," the Islamic republic's ambassador to Buenos Aires Moshen Baharvand told the daily Clarin.

Highlighting that the General Assembly meeting was "very important" for Iran this year, Baharvand said the session would "reveal which countries are for and against Iran."

But a source close to the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association said on condition of anonymity that Kirchner had "committed to bringing up the matter of the attack" against the group during his address to the world body.

Four relatives of victims from that attack also planned to travel to New York and attend the session with members of the Argentine delegation.

"It will be a strong signal from the Argentine government to the international community that light must be shed and the guilty must be punished," the source said.

Leaders of top Jewish associations in Argentina were also expected to travel to New York for the annual UN session, and Baharvand accused them of organizing "parallel diplomacy" and trying to "blackmail" the Argentine government.

In 2006, an Argentine judge issued an international arrest warrant for Iranian ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other top Iranian officials in connection with the bombing.

Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral told AFP he had asked the government of Iran as well as Interpol to hand over the former president on a warrant issued for "crimes against humanity" in the bombing attack.

No one has ever been convicted for the bombing, Argentina's worst terrorist attack, which occurred on the morning of July 9, 1994.

Another attack in 1992 on the Israeli embassy, in which 22 people were killed and 200 were wounded, also remains unsolved.

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in South America with about 300,000 people.

Iran warns Argentina ahead of Kirchner UN speech
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2007, 04:22:58 PM »

Iran shows off new missile, taunts Israel

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran on Saturday warned the West of the "serious consequences" of launching any attack against the Islamic republic after showing off a new longer-range missile in public for the first time.

"Military aggression against Iran is no longer a case of 'you hit and you run away,'" said supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "Anyone who launches an aggression will seriously suffer the consequences of this aggression."

His comments, broadcast on state television, were the first such intervention by Iran's undisputed number one since French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned the world last week to brace for war against Tehran.

Iran earlier showed off its military prowess at the annual military parade to mark the start of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, taunting its arch enemy Israel with a host of slogans calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

A longer range missile labelled Ghadr-1 (Power) -- which had been said to be in development by Western experts -- was shown at the parade for the first time in public.

The official announcer at the parade told reporters that the weapon had a range of 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles), sufficient to put US bases in the Middle East and Iran's arch enemy Israel within reach.

The Ghadr missile, which has a "baby bottle" style nose for extra aerodynamic efficiency, is seen as an improved version of Iran's existing longer-range Shahab series, which was also paraded.

Officials have said in the past that the Shahab-3 could reach 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), but the announcer said it had a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) range.

The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Jaafari, echoed Khamenei's message: "My message to the enemy is that they will regret it (an attack). Do not do it."

The parade came amid growing tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, which the United States alleges is cover for a nuclear weapons drive but which Tehran insists is aimed solely at producing electricity.

Khamenei however brushed off the Western warnings of conflict, saying "they talk like an illiterate person who is showing their biceps and fists against a learned person."

"The people and the officials have never been afraid of the threats and have increased their preparation," he added.

The parade was marked by a litany of slogans calling for "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Western military attaches, apparently warned of this in advance, boycotted the rally for the second year running.

"Israel should be eliminated" and "No Iranian Muslim, no Muslim recognises Israel," were among the slogans borne on the back of military vehicles, quoting the words of Iran's revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

"Israel has to be wiped off the map," read another Khomeini quote which aroused worldwide controversy when it was repeated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.

Iran's military, especially its air force, has been hit by the US trade embargo, and General Jaafari admitted that the Islamic republic would need to outsmart its enemies using means other than technology.

"Their material capabilities are better than us, everyone knows it and we admit it. We are responding to technology not with technology but with special methods and tactics," he told reporters.

Officials said that only weapons built by Iran were shown at the parade, in a bid to emphasise the country's self-sufficiency in military technology.

The full panoply of Iran's armed forces were on display, with thousands of goose-stepping members of the regular army and the Revolutionary Guards saluting Ahmadinejad and top military leaders in a march-past.

The United States and its ally Israel have never ruled out using military action against Iran for its defiance in the nuclear standoff.

Iran has said it will never initiate an attack, but has warned of striking US bases in the Arabian peninsula, Iraq and Afghanistan -- as well as Israel itself -- as a response to any aggression.

Iran shows off new missile, taunts Israel
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« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2007, 04:24:01 PM »

Iranian shelling of Kurdish region of Iraq continues

Sep 22, 2007, 13:36 GMT

Baghdad - Iranian shelling of the border areas of the Kurdish autonomous region resumed Saturday at dawn in northern Iraq after a week-long cessation of fire, local Kurdish officials said.

No casualties have been reported so far.

In August and during the first two weeks of September, Iranian forces had systematically bombed the border areas with the Kurdish region, targeting the bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Party for Freedom and Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) from Iran.

However, officials and observers in the Kurdish region believe that Saturday's overnight shelling is in response to the arrest of an Iranian national who was visiting the northern city of Sulaymaniyah as a member of an Iranian trade convoy.

US forces had arrested the citizen claiming that he was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - Quds Force. The forces charged him with facilitating the smuggling of weapons into Iraqi territories.

Meanwhile, Gamal Abdullah, spokesman for the Kurdish autonomous region, told Deustche Presse-Agentur dpa Saturday that his government is engaged in efforts to secure the release of the Iranian citizen.

The Kurdish government deemed the arrest 'illegitimate' and called on the US forces to immediately set the man free.

According to Abdullah, the Kurds are already in contact with President Jalal Talabani urging him to negotiate the release with both the US forces and the US embassy in Baghdad.

Abdullah denied that the Iranian was a member of the Quds Force.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini had justified attacks on Iraqi territory last month by saying that Iran was hunting terrorists and weapons smugglers in northern Iraq who were responsible for the killing of a large number of Iranian border soldiers and for the illegal transfer of weapons into Iran.

The Kurdish parliament had called on the United Nations and the US-led coalition forces to exert pressure on Iran to stop bombing Kurdish areas.

Iranian shelling of Kurdish region of Iraq continues
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2007, 04:16:14 PM »

Iran President Ahmadinejad rips U.S.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 22, 4:52 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran - A day before flying to New York to speak directly to the American people, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a confrontational tone Saturday with a parade of fighter jets and missiles and tough warnings for the United States to stay out of the Mideast.

Three new domestically manufactured warplanes streaked over the capital during the parade marking the 27th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Iran, which sparked a 1980-88 war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The parade also featured the Ghadr missile, which has a range of 1,120 miles, capable of reaching Israel.

Some of the missile trucks were painted with the slogans "Down with the U.S." and "Down with Israel." The parade also featured unmanned aerial surveillance drones, torpedoes, and tanks.

Tensions are high between Washington and Tehran over U.S. accusations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and helping Shiite militias in Iraq that target U.S. troops. Iran denies the claims.

Washington has said it is addressing the Iran situation diplomatically, rather than militarily, but U.S. officials also say that all options are open.

"Those (countries) who assume that decaying methods such as psychological war, political propaganda and the so-called economic sanctions would work and prevent Iran's fast drive toward progress are mistaken," Ahmadinejad.

Iran launched an arms development program during its war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own jets, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

"Those who prevented Iran, at the height of the war from getting even barbed wire must see now that all the equipment on display today has been built by the mighty hands and brains of experts at Iran's armed forces," Ahmadinejad said.

He is expected to address the American people directly in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" airing Sunday, and through appearances at the U.N., Columbia University and several other events.

His request to lay a wreath at the World Trade Center site was denied and condemned by Sept. 11 family members and politicians. Protests against his Columbia appearance are planned at the university and the United Nations by demonstrators angry at his questioning of the Holocaust and declarations that Israel will cease to exist.

Iran and the U.S. have not had diplomatic ties since militants took over the U.S. Embassy following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Since then, the cleric-led regime has vilified the United States as the "Great Satan."

Despite Ahmadinejad's frequent anti-U.S. rhetoric, he has tried to appeal to the American people before. Recently, he told a live satellite television show that his country wanted peace and friendship with the U.S. Since coming to power in 2005, Ahmadinejad has also sent letters to the American people in which he criticized Bush's Mideast policy.

He is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Tuesday — his third time attending the New York meeting in three years. Last year, Ahmadinejad was harshly critical of U.S. policies in Iraq and Lebanon and insisted that his nation's nuclear activities were "transparent."

At the parade, Ahmadinejad repeated his demand for foreign forces to leave the region and urged the United States to acknowledge it has failed in Iraq. Outside the 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, there are 40,000 troops on U.S. bases in Persian Gulf countries and another 20,000 in Mideast waters.

"Nations throughout the region do not need the presence of the foreigners to manage their own needs. Foreign presence is the root cause of all instability, differences and threats," he said.

On the sidelines of the parade, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the event highlighted the "might of Iran's armed forces to its enemies," adding that Iran is ready to retaliate if attacked.

"Iran has drawn up plans to confront enemies in the face of any possible attack," the official IRNA news agency quoted Jafari as saying.

The Bush administration is expected to soon blacklist a unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, subjecting part of the vast military operation to financial penalties. The step would be in response to Iran's involvement in Iraq and elsewhere.

The U.S. is also leading a push in the U.N. Security Council for a third round of economic sanctions against Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes including generating electricity. The Security Council is not expected to take up the issue before October.

"Learn lessons from your past mistakes. Don't repeat your mistakes," he said in a warning to the United States over its push to impose more sanctions.

Iran President Ahmadinejad rips U.S.
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2007, 04:17:53 PM »

Iran shows off new missile, taunts Israel

by Stuart Williams Sat Sep 22, 8:06 AM ET

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran on Saturday showed off a longer-range missile in public for the first time and proclaimed a string of anti-Israel slogans, in a military parade held amid warnings of conflict with the West.

The missile -- labelled Ghadr-1 (Power) -- was said to be in development by Western experts, but its appearance at the annual military parade to mark the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq was its first public showing.

The official announcer at the parade told reporters that the weapon had a range of 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles), sufficient to put US bases in the Middle East and Iran's arch enemy Israel within reach.

"The Iranian nation is ready to bring any oppressive power to its knees," read a slogan from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei inscribed on a massive board on a truck.

The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Jaafari, warned bluntly: "My message to the enemy is that they will regret it (an attack). Do not do it."

The Ghadr missile, which has a "baby bottle" style nose for extra aerodynamic efficiency, is seen as an improved version of Iran's existing longer-range Shahab series, which was also paraded.

Officials have said in the past that the Shahab-3 could reach 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), but the announcer said it had a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) range.

The parade was marked by a litany of slogans calling for "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Western military attaches, apparently warned of this in advance, boycotted the rally for the second year running.

"The Western attaches did not come. It was because of the slogans about Israel and the United States," said one foreign representative who declined to be named.

"Israel should be eliminated" and "No Iranian Muslim, no Muslim recognises Israel," were among the slogans borne on the back of military vehicles, quoting the words of Iran's revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

"Israel has to be wiped off the map," read another Khomeini quote which aroused worldwide controversy when it was repeated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.

The parade came amid growing tensions over Iran's nuclear programme, which the United States alleges is cover for a nuclear weapons drive but which Tehran insists is aimed solely at producing electricity.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has warned that the world should brace for war against Tehran if it keeps defying the UN Security Council by pressing on with sensitive nuclear work.

Iran's military, especially its air force, has been hit by the US trade embargo, and General Jaafari admitted that the Islamic republic would need to outsmart its enemies using means other than technology.

"Their material capabilities are better than us, everyone knows it and we admit it. We are responding to technology not with technology but with special methods and tactics," he told reporters.

Officials said that only weapons built by Iran were shown at the parade, in a bid to emphasise the country's self-sufficiency in military technology.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile said in a speech that warnings of military action and further UN sanctions would have no effect on Tehran's nuclear drive.

"Those who think that with outmoded instruments like psychological warfare and economic sanctions they can stop Iran's march towards progress are making a grave mistake," Ahmadinejad said.

The full panoply of Iran's armed forces were on display, with thousands of goose-stepping members of the regular army and the Revolutionary Guards saluting Ahmadinejad and top military leaders in a march-past.

The United States and its ally Israel have never ruled out using military action against Iran for its defiance in the nuclear standoff.

Iran has said it will never initiate an attack, but has warned of striking US bases in the Arabian peninsula, Iraq and Afghanistan -- as well as Israel itself -- as a response to any aggression.

Iran shows off new missile, taunts Israel
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2007, 04:19:14 PM »

Iran has no need for nuclear weapons: Ahmadinejad

34 minutes ago

NEW YORK (AFP) - Iran has no need of nuclear weapons and is not on a path to war with the United States, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with CBS television to be broadcast later Sunday.

Ahmadinejad, who is due to arrive in New York Sunday for the United Nations General Assembly, said Tehran's nuclear ambitions were open and being conducted in accordance with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.

"You have to appreciate we don't need a nuclear bomb. We don't need that. What need do we have for a bomb?" the Iranian leader said in the interview, according to a transcript released by CBS television.

He added that there was no reason to think that the United States and Washington were on a collision course to war over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, which have been roundly condemned by the international community.

"It's wrong to think that Iran and the US are walking towards war. Who says so? Why should we go to war? There is no war in the offing."

"Our plan and program is very transparent. We are under the supervision of the agency. Everything is on the table. We have nothing to hide," he said, adding: "Our activities are very peaceful."

"The time of the bomb is passed," he added.

Iran's nuclear ambitions have been under international scrutiny and put Tehran under a raft of United Nations-backed sanctions, especially due to the Islamic regime's attitude towards Israel.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map and called into question the scale of the Holocaust.

Iran earlier bluntly warned the United States against launching an attack, saying that US forces in the region were well within the reach of its missiles.

"Today, the United States must know that their 200,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are within the reach of Iran's fire," said Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"When the Americans were beyond our shores, they were not within our reach but today it is very easy for us to deal them blows," he said according to the Mehr news agency.

His comments came at the start of an annual defense week, which Iran marked on Saturday by showing off its military prowess at a parade in Tehran -- including a new longer-range missile that could reach Israel.

The Islamic republic's arch foes the United States and Israel have never ruled out military action against Iran, although US officials say they want to solve the current crisis diplomatically.

Iran has no need for nuclear weapons: Ahmadinejad
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2007, 04:20:31 PM »

Iran promises missiles will fly if US attacks

By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 1:00am BST 23/09/2007

Iran has threatened to retaliate with missile attacks if Western forces launch raids against the Islamic state's nuclear programme — putting on a defiant show of military force to back up the message.
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressed a military parade in Teheran

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressed a military parade in Teheran and mocked threats from the United States, while the head of the Revolutionary Guards said Iran would "pull the trigger" if attacked.

Their bellicose intervention came as officials in Washington warned that time was running out for the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, to "get a result" from diplomacy or hand the initiative to White House hawks who want military action.

Mr Ahmadinejad spoke out as he led a parade to mark Iran's war with Iraq, which included a flypast by three Saegheh jet fighters and armoured vehicles, one of which bore the slogan "Death to America".

In a message directed at Western diplomats, he told the crowds: "Those who think that by using such decayed tools as psychological warfare and economic sanctions, they can stop the Iranian nation's progress are making a mistake."

The parade also featured medium-range ballistic missiles which are capable of hitting Israel or US bases in Iraq and the wider Gulf region.

Asked how Iran would respond if any country allowed its territory to be used as a base for an attack, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, said: "You have seen the -missiles. Just pull the trigger and shoot."

He added: "Our message to the enemies is: Do not do it. They will regret it, as they are regretting it in Iraq."

Mr Ahmadinejad today arrives in New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly where the US, Britain, France and Germany are drawing up plans for new sanctions against Iran.

Diplomats are conscious that firm action is needed this week to bolster the position of Miss Rice, who wants to show that diplomacy can isolate Iran and constrain Teheran's weapons programmes.

One official in Washington said: "Condi really needs to get a result to show other members of the administration that it's working."

He said that some officials believe the vice-president, Dick Cheney, has given her "just enough rope to hang herself" by pursuing the diplomatic route.

A state department source who wants the diplomacy to succeed, said that administration hawks had closely studied the international fallout from Israel's clandestine raid on Syria the week before — which US officials say was targeted at nuclear materials sold by North Korea — as a guide to how military action against Iran would be received.

"Their attitude is: where was the fuss? Some of them think they would get away with it in Iran," the source said.

UN Security Council members Russia and China have refused to back tougher action on Iran, so the Bush administration is assembling a diplomatic "coalition of the willing" — a phrase widely use before the war in Iraq — to set up US and European sanctions against the Iranian regime. These would punish banks and companies that deal with Iran.

A Western diplomat said: "The Americans are hugely frustrated that they can't get any more from the Russians and Chinese."

Iran promises missiles will fly if US attacks
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« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2007, 12:07:25 AM »

Iran criticizes Canada's human rights record
Steven Edwards, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, September 21, 2007

UNITED NATIONS -- In a bid to discredit Canada at the United Nations, Iran is equipping world diplomats with a 70-page booklet on Canada's alleged human rights violations.

Written by Iran "in the name of God," the document asserts that the Canadian government denies its people food, clean water and the right to work.

"Routine unlawful strip and beatings by Canadian police has been a matter of concern for international community," notes the booklet, entitled Report on Human Rights Situation in Canada, adding that "the practice of police is alarming simply because ... it is functioning as if there is no need to have judges."

The publication, which claims its allegations are drawn from "objective and factual information released by authentic and credible international sources," alleges that a range of human rights violation occur in Canada, especially toward aboriginal peoples, refugees and immigrants.

"To the great dismay of the international community, it is a great concern that the rights of women are violated, and no serious attention has been paid in promotion and protection of women's rights in Canada."

Moreover, the document concludes, "Canada's position as a self-declared standard-bearer on human rights has been demoted to a blind-folded-and-bullied follower of the new school of unilateralism and the axis of derailment of international human rights law."

The booklet emerges on the eve of the UN's annual summit, to be attended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier.

Part of the two men's efforts will be to convince other world leaders to stay on side with a resolution Canada drove through the UN General Assembly in 2006, denouncing Iran's poor human rights record.

Iran's anti-Canadian booklet signals that its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will also be in New York for the summit, will argue that Canada is guilty of hypocrisy.

"It may well [win Iran support], and Canada will have to stand in the General Assembly and explain its position," said Max Morrison, a former Canadian diplomat at the UN who is now president of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.

Other countries poor human rights records may also cite the Iranian publication.

"For those states that are only too happy to avoid closer examination of their disregard for such issues as freedom of speech and non-discrimination, the Iranian ploy provides an excellent opportunity to turn the spotlight elsewhere," said Anne Bayefsky, Canadian editor of the New York-based monitoring group EyeontheUN.org.

Canada has long led scrutiny of Iran at the world body, but tensions between the two countries erupted after the 2003 torture and murder of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in an Iranian jail.

Iran typically positions itself as the victim, and last year came within two votes of winning enough UN support to throw out the Canadian-led condemnation of 2006.

Attempts to reach a spokesman for Iran's mission to the UN were unsuccessful Friday.

In Ottawa, Bernier said he was unaware of the booklet but dismissed its charges. "We have a Charter of Rights and we respect the rule of law, democracy and human rights."

Bernier added that Canada is "concerned about the situation in Iran," and will seek support from other UN members to keep the spotlight on Iran's human rights record.

The booklet says Iran calls on the Canadian government to "comply with its international commitments before ... find faulting [sic] against others at the international community."

It draws from reports issued by various human rights and other committees of the UN as well as activist groups such as Amnesty International and even the Canadian government itself.

Canada and other advanced democracies submit their societies to scrutiny in numerous UN reports, in part to encourage other countries to do the same. Many of the world's worst human rights violators, by contrast, refuse to admit UN inspectors.

While there is an enormous gulf between Canada's and Iran's human rights records, many of the economic and social rights Iran highlights in the booklet are viewed by a significant number of developing countries as more important than civil rights.

Harper will address the UN's high-profile summit on climate change Monday. Meanwhile, the Iranian president is scheduled to speak at Columbia University after New York authorities rebuffed his request to lay a wreath at the site of the former World Trade Centers.

The next day, Ahmadinejad delivers an address at the opening of the General Assembly summit, while Harper speaks at the respected Council on Foreign Relations, where he is expected to argue that middle powers like Canada are regaining influence in the world.

Bernier arrives in New York Sunday for a high-level meeting on Afghanistan. He will speak to the General Assembly Oct. 2, also focusing on the need for the world to help Afghanistan.

Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, represented Canada at gathering Friday focused on Sudan and the crisis in Darfur. He'll do the same at a gathering today on international help for Iraq.

Iran criticizes Canada's human rights record
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« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2007, 12:09:02 AM »

Iranian president hits out at Israel, U.S.

By Claudia Parsons Mon Sep 24, 5:46 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clashed with an American university president who called him a "petty and cruel dictator" at a forum on Monday where Ahmadinejad criticized Israel and the United States and said Iran was a peaceful nation.

Ahmadinejad also said in an appearance at Columbia University that Iran's nuclear program was purely peaceful, and his country was a victim rather than a sponsor of terrorism.

Challenged over his past comments that Israel should be wiped off the map and questioning the Holocaust, he said his concern was for Palestinian suffering.

Ahmadinejad, who was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, received a caustic welcome at the Ivy League university, which had come under fire from critics who said it provided a platform to a Holocaust denier.

Security was tight at the hall holding around 700 people, 80 percent of them students -- dozens of whom wore T-shirts saying "Stop Ahmadinejad's Evil."

Introducing the Iranian president, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said Ahmadinejad behaved as a "petty and cruel dictator" and that his Holocaust denials suggested he was either "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

Bollinger asked a string of pointed questions, most of which Ahmadinejad ignored in a speech that dwelt at length on science as a gift from God and the importance of using knowledge and learning purely and in a pious way.

Asked about his views on the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad said "a different perspective" was needed given the impact on the Middle East of those events. Six million Jews were killed in the Nazi genocide of World War Two.

"I'm not saying that it didn't happen at all," he said. "I said, granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?"

Sen. John Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said: "Calls for 'research' and 'study' don't change the fact that this man is a Holocaust denier who trades in anti-Semitism. It is long past time for the world to renounce this bigoted revisionist history."

NO GAYS IN IRAN

Ahmadinejad also rejected criticism of human rights in his country, notably persecution of homosexuals: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country," he said, drawing loud laughter from the audience.

Protesters thronged the streets outside holding signs reading: "Pure evil" and "Hitler lives?" One man's sign said: "You liar, denier, I'm a holocaust survivor."

In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was among many who denounced Columbia for giving Ahmadinejad a platform to speak.

By opening its gates to Ahmadinejad's "hateful" ideology, "Columbia University is offering him a golden opportunity to spread it," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Esther Lifgotcha2z, 20, a Columbia University student and member of a campus Jewish group, said it was a "tragic irony" that Ahmadinejad was speaking at Columbia, while institutions in his own country don't have the same academic freedom.

Earlier, Ahmadinejad took aim at Israel.

"We do not recognize that regime because it is based on occupation and racism. It constantly attacks its neighbors," Ahmadinejad said in a video news conference from New York with the National Press Club in Washington, citing recent Israeli military action in Syria and Lebanon.

"It kills people. It drives people from their homes."

He also took a swipe at Washington: "We oppose the way the U.S. government tries to manage the world. We think this method is wrong. It leads to war, discrimination and bloodshed."

But the Iranian leader played down talk of conflict with the West over Iran's nuclear program, which the United States says it is using to try to build nuclear weapons.

"We think talk of war is a propaganda tool. People who talk have to bring a legal reason for war," he said.

Ahmadinejad is a vocal opponent of U.S. policies but ultimate responsibility for shaping Iran's nuclear policy lies with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

New York police last week denied Ahmadinejad's request to visit the World Trade Center site of the September 11 attacks. He said on Monday he meant only to pay his respects.

(Additional reporting by Stuart Grudgings and Mohammad Zargham in Washington, and Arshad Mohammed, Mark Egan and Michael Erman in New York)

Iranian president hits out at Israel, U.S.
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« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2007, 03:27:45 PM »

U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan Are Within Iran's Firing Range

Monday , September 24, 2007

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U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are being monitored by Iran using satellites and other technology and are well within range of Iranian missiles, a top Iranian military official said.

"The Americans should realize that the 200,000 troops they have deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are in Iran’s firing range,” Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, an advisor to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in remarks published by Iranian newspapers Monday.

Speaking on the 27th anniversary of the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, Safavi, the former head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, said Iran was now in a strong position to defend itself.

"Iran has now a strong intelligence system and missiles. We are closely watching the foreigners' moves in neighboring countries by highly advanced satellite technology and advanced radars. If they enter our airspace or our territorial waters, they will get a fair response," the Iran Daily quoted Safavi as saying.

Speculation about an attack against Iran has been spurred on by recent comments by French officials who have said a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable.

Safavi said the U.S. military situation in Iraq and the region had greatly diminished.

“If they think wisely and think about their interests, and if they want energy, political, and economic cooperation with Iran, they must recognize Iran as a power,” he said in comments published in the Tehran Times.

U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan Are Within Iran's Firing Range
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« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2007, 12:17:36 AM »

Iran strengthens South America ties

By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writer Thu Sep 27, 2:43 PM ET

LA PAZ, Bolivia - Vilified by world leaders wary of his nuclear ambitions, Iran's president arrived in Bolivia on Thursday to strengthen ties with South American leftists who are embracing him as an energy and trade partner and counterweight to U.S. influence.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in the Amazon region city of Santa Cruz, then shifted to a Venezuelan government jet and flew to the capital of La Paz to establish first-time diplomatic relations with the Andean nation.

The visit comes on the heels of a U.N. General Assembly appearance in which Ahmadinejad said Iran will ignore demands by "arrogant powers" to curb its nuclear program.

Morales, a strident leftist, joins Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as one of Iran's allies. He called the visit a historic event, saying the two nations "will work together from this day on, for our people, for life and for humanity."

Ahmadinejad called Morales his "dear brother" and said his trip will be "the start of deep relations between both governments."

Ahmadinejad and Morales were expected to sign accords that Bolivian officials say could help them better tap the continent's second-largest natural gas reserves after Venezuela's and drum up urgently needed agricultural investment.

Ahmadinejad then heads to Caracas to meet Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has defended Iran's claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.

Ahmadinejad's trip south underscores his strengthening links to Latin American nations that also include Nicaragua and Ecuador even as the United States tries to isolate him internationally.

"It's a connection that is growing stronger all the time," said Alberto Garrido, a Venezuelan writer and political analyst. "It's Iran's answer to the United States on its own home turf. The United States is in the Middle East, so Iran is in Latin America."

Energy experts doubt the new Bolivia-Iran alliance will let Morales deliver on his promise of using gas profits to ease grinding poverty in South America's poorest nation. But by opening diplomatic ties, Iran and Morales' "anti-imperialist" administration appear to be on the same political page.

The growing closeness between Iran and Chavez-allied governments is viewed with alarm by the opposition in Venezuela and Bolivia, and by Washington, which calls Iran a sponsor of terrorism.

The move reminds Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., "of the relationship that Fidel Castro had with Russia."

"Ahmadinejad recognizes that if he can get a foothold in Latin America, he can continue to spread his hatred for the United States," Mack said, adding that it is now imperative for Washington to reach out more to a region analysts say it largely ignored post-Sept. 11, 2001.

"You don't want to have your enemy at your backdoor."

Chavez has promised more than $8.8 billion in aid, financing and energy funding to Latin America and the Caribbean this year, prompting a group of U.S. senators and congressmen to back a bipartisan aid plan to counter Chavez.

The bill being introduced Thursday would establish a 10-year, $2.5 billion program aimed at reducing poverty. It would require recipient countries to contribute and encourages matching funds from businesses and non-governmental organizations.

While Morales' opponents say the stronger ties could threaten regional security, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia says his government doesn't endorse nuclear proliferation and the two nations simply want to build commercial ties.

Bolivia is forging "diplomatic relations with Iran to improve the country's economic situation, not to hurt or offend anyone," Garcia said while Morales was in New York this week at the U.N.

Bolivian and Iranian officials declined to offer details on what sort of energy agreements are in the works, but analysts say Iran alone can't give Bolivia the massive investment it needs to boost gas output in the face of potential domestic shortages and looming commitments to its big clients, Argentina and Brazil.

"I think the fact that Morales is talking to the Iranians is a sign of desperation," said Christopher Garman, who heads Latin American research at the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy. "Bolivia is not going to have a white horse saving its energy needs."

But Bolivia-Iran trade can hardly go anywhere but up.

Bolivia exported nothing to Iran between 2000 and 2006, and Iranian exports to Bolivia totaled only $10 million last year, according to government statistics, down from $24 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, ties between Caracas and Tehran are strong and growing. Iran and Venezuela have signed more than 180 trade agreements since 2001, worth more than $20 billion in potential investment between the two, according to Iran's official news agency, IRNA.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa also wants closer ties with Tehran, and Iran's PressTV reported last month that Iran will for the first time open an embassy in Quito.

President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua last month accepted promised Iranian aid of funding for 4,000 tractors, milk-processing plants, 10,000 houses, piers and the construction of a farm equipment assembly plant. In exchange, Nicaragua agreed to export coffee, meat and bananas to Iran.

Chavez is a vocal defender of Iran's nuclear program, accusing the United States of trumping up unfounded concerns about possible nuclear weapons as a pretext to attack a regime it opposes.

"Iran isn't making an atomic bomb, not at all," Chavez said Monday. "They just want to develop nuclear energy. Venezuela will do it also someday."

Iran strengthens South America ties
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« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2007, 12:20:09 AM »

Saudis worried Iran nuclear issue headed to 'confrontation'     (They are but not in the way the Saudi's think)
Sep 26 09:38 PM US/Eastern

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said here Wednesday that Iran's standoff with Western powers over its nuclear program is heading toward a "confrontation."

Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal met in New York with other Gulf foreign ministers as well as the chief diplomats of Jordan and Egypt, and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

"We talked certainly about Iran with the Secretary Rice," Prince Saud told reporters.

"Definitely what we are seeing is a confrontation in the making," the prince said.

"And we have pressed in our mutual discussions with the Iranians the question on them: 'Why such a precipitous move toward confrontation, what is your intent in this?' And their answer was that they are not looking for confrontation or building nuclear weapons."

He said Saudi Arabia is "very concerned" about Iran's nuclear program, which Western powers charge is a cover for building an atomic bomb. Tehran rejects the charge, saying it only seeks to produce energy.

Prince Saud said Tehran must prove its program is peaceful.

"We hope that, if anything, that this will be settled through negotiations," he said. "The region is volatile and a conflict in that region is the most dangerous thing to conceive and therefore we hope it can be solved diplomatically."

Saudi's worried Iran nuclear issue headed to 'confrontation'
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