Archive for the ‘nuclear’ Category

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IRAN: Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

November 16, 2009

Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

IPT News
November 13, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets

On November 12, 2009, the Justice Department dealt a major blow to Iranian nuclear ambitions and terrorist financing efforts. The announcement of an amended civil forfeiture complaint against the Alavi Foundation has the potential to cut off a significant source of funding to the Iranian government—funding which is absolutely essential as Iran continues to defy international efforts at curbing nuclear proliferation.

The amended complaint in United States v. ASSA Corp., now the largest civil forfeiture claim ever filed, is the latest in a series of moves taken by the United States government aimed at closing front companies funneling money to the Iranian government. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges, among other things, that the “Alavi Foundation has been providing numerous services to the Iranian Government,” including funneling money to Bank Melli, an institution which has been designated for its role in funding terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Bank Melli was designated under ***Executive Order 13382—aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction—on October 25, 2007. At the time of its designation, the Treasury Department explained that:

Bank Melli provides financial services, including opening letters of credit and maintaining accounts, for Iranian front companies and entities engaged in proliferation activities. Further, Bank Melli has facilitated the purchase of sensitive materials utilized by Iran’s nuclear and missile industry, and has handled transactions for other designated Iranian entities, including Bank Sepa, Defense Industries Organization, and the Shahid Hammas Industrial Group.

Following the designation of Bank Melli, the Iranian government began setting up front companies to hide its identity and continue sponsoring terrorism. Through these layers of front companies Bank Melli provided banking services to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) and the Qods force, a branch of the IRGC that has been designated under Executive Order 13224 for providing support to terrorist groups including the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Among the companies set up to mask Iranian activities were the ASSA Corporation and the Alavi Foundation, the two defendants in the recently amended civil forfeiture proceeding.

Assa Corporation is owned by Assa Company Limited, a UK entity which is wholly owned and operated by Iranian citizens who represent the interests of Bank Melli. Shortly after ASSA’s creation, on December 17, 2008, the Treasury Department designated ASSA as a terrorist financier, and the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint over ASSAs financial interests in the United States. At the time, senior Treasury official, Stuart Levey, explained “this scheme to use a front company set up by Bank Melli—a known proliferator—to funnel money from the United States to Iran is yet another example of Iran’s duplicity.”

Similarly, the Alavi Foundation has served as a front for Iran’s financing of terrorism. It began as the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit organization operated by the Shah of Iran and was later renamed the Mostazafan Foundation of New York and then finally the Alavi Foundation. Through each of these incarnations, the company has been used by Bank Melli and the Iranian government to finance terror, as detailed in the complaint. Along with ASSA Corporation, the Alavi Foundation maintains control over substantial assets and property within the United States. All would be forfeited should the government prevail at the upcoming trial in Manhattan.

The government’s action, undertaken under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, seeks forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets, including:

With Iran continuing to move forward in its plans to develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. government must use every tool at its disposal to dry up funding. The steps taken by the Justice Department this week are a strong indication that they are doing so. By closing down and seeking forfeiture of the assets of front corporations working on behalf of Iran, the U.S. can effectively curb not only the regime’s nuclear weapons program but also its continued support for terrorist organizations.

—————–

In a related news item, the Alavi-owned Islamic Education Center of Houston has featured its own support for Iran. In a speech for the “Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution” of 1979, speaker Ghulam Hur Shabbiri prays for the victory of Islam all over the world:

This is just an opening. May Allah (swt) bless us all and forgive all sins of all life. And may Allah (swt) give Islami-Inqilab [Islamic Revolution] victory in [sic] all over the world. And may Allah give us UI that we may make this Inqilab [revolution] successful and we can join with the Imam of the age… to have a complete victory in the world and Islam, then Islam is going to be a ruling authority in the whole world and we can see the flag of Islam in the top places in this world.


VIEW THE VIDEO RECORDING @: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets#video

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Cartoon: Iran’s Nuclear Program

November 13, 2009

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EDITORIAL: ISRAEL IS OUR ONLY FRIEND

October 8, 2009

Every American who is concerned about the threatening world around us knows that Israel is the only real friend that we have in the world. So ,when Mohammed ElBaradei unleashed his International Atomic Energy Agency’s diatribe against Israel –  Nuclear “watch dog” ElBaradei – demonized Israel for keeping it’s military capabilities quiet – we should pay attention.

When Mohammed announces to the world that “Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East because Israel has nuclear weapons – we should pay careful attention.

The only reason that Israel exists in the world today – and remains free, is because of those carefully protected weapons.  With the entire Muslim world constantly threatening Israel’s very existence we should pray that Israel doesn’t waiver for a moment.

We should wish that America had a Benjamin Netanyahu leading our foreign policy.  And, we should listen to his recent words describing his country as – “a democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.”  At least he pays attention – something all Americans should do when concerned about our “government”.
Just listen to the condemnation of U.N. Human Rights Council constantly condemning Israel.  This coming from a list of members who should all look in a mirror.  (When you read the list you will ask the same question that I do.  What are these nations doing on any list of people concerned with human “rights”?)

Americans should hope that Israel remains strong and will absolutely refuse to be intimidated.  Israel should never disclose anything to this disgusting “Rights Council” and it’s even more disgusting member States.

Israel’s amazing restraint toward its enemies should be recognized and rewarded.

America needs Israel.  Israel is our only friend and Israel is our only shield in the Middle East.

Don

The Real ElBaradei Unleashed

IBD: 6 Oct. 2009

Nuclear Proliferation: Watchdogs often bark loudest at those who pose no threat at all, such as the mailman. Mohamed ElBaradei, self-styled “nuclear watchdog,” is now barking at Israel.

The world will soon be seeing and hearing less from International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Those seeking to spare Western cities from nuclear terrorism won’t miss the Egyptian career bureaucrat.

As former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton noted in his book, “Surrender Is Not An Option,” ElBaradei “made excuses for Iran,” as it progressed toward building nuclear weapons “the entire time I was in the Bush administration.”

According to Bolton, Nobel Peace Prize-winner ElBaradei “was constantly hunting for ‘moderates’ in Iran’s leadership who did not want to pursue nuclear weapons, a nonexistent group, in our judgment, and more interested in trying to cut a deal than in faithfully reporting what IAEA inspectors were telling him.”

As early as mid-April 2003, as Bolton pointed out, ElBaradei’s IAEA knew that the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility contained uranium hexafluoride, a compound used to make nuclear weapons fuel.

In less than two months, ElBaradei will be replaced as IAEA director general by Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano. But as he packs up his office, is he giving the world a glimpse of the real motivations behind his softness toward Iran?

The Islamofascist regime in Tehran, with its illegitimately re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews and calling for the destruction of Israel, is one of the last governments on the globe that should be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction.

Yet speaking on Sunday in Tehran, the setting for talks with Iranian officials regarding their atomic program, ElBaradei said, “Israel is the No. 1 threat to the Middle East, given the nuclear arms it possesses.” In a joint press conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, ElBaradei complained about Israel’s 30-year refusal to allow nuclear inspections.

Of at least equal note, ElBaradei also remarked that President Obama “has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen” on Israel’s nuclear plants.

What are we to take from that? Has the president asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow IAEA inspectors into his country, or is he pressing him to admit that Israel has nuclear weapons? Is the argument that by doing either Israel would be advancing the Mideast peace process?

Contrary to ElBaradei’s outrageous accusation and the president’s increasingly intimidating policy toward the Netanyahu government, the most effective catalyst for Mideast peace has, in fact, been the nuclear arming of Israel.

The routine wars between Israel and Arab states have stopped since Israel reached nuclear capability in 1967. And Egypt’s frequent tit-for-tat threats to build its own nukes, made under both Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, fizzled out once the Jewish state actually possessed the bomb. Indeed, would the Camp David accords between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin have been possible without a nuclear Israel?

Looking back on the past four decades, the Jewish state’s policy of refusing to confirm or deny its nuclear arsenal is, as the Old Testament proverb goes, a wisdom “more precious than rubies.” The only fully free, Westernized country in the Middle East has been able to let its surrounding enemies know that it will defend itself with the deadliest of force if its existence comes under direct threat.

And yet, despite its regional nuclear monopoly, Israel has refrained from using it on adversaries seeking its destruction.

In return for its restraint, as Netanyahu pointed out in his speech to the U.N. last month, “a democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot” — a reference to the condemnation of his country by another U.N. agency, the Human Rights Council.

The London Times reports that a secret section of the IAEA’s account on Iran warns that Tehran “may already have tested a detonation system small enough to fit into the warhead of a medium-range missile.” Is there much doubt that what ElBaradei really wants is a Muslim member of the nuclear weapons club to offset the Jewish one? As he departs, and not a moment too soon, it’s an outrage to hear the nuclear “watchdog” bark in the wrong direction.

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The Real ElBaradei Unleashed

October 7, 2009

The Real ElBaradei Unleashed

IBD: 6 Oct. 2009

Nuclear Proliferation: Watchdogs often bark loudest at those who pose no threat at all, such as the mailman. Mohamed ElBaradei, self-styled “nuclear watchdog,” is now barking at Israel.

The world will soon be seeing and hearing less from International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Those seeking to spare Western cities from nuclear terrorism won’t miss the Egyptian career bureaucrat.

As former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton noted in his book, “Surrender Is Not An Option,” ElBaradei “made excuses for Iran,” as it progressed toward building nuclear weapons “the entire time I was in the Bush administration.”

According to Bolton, Nobel Peace Prize-winner ElBaradei “was constantly hunting for ‘moderates’ in Iran’s leadership who did not want to pursue nuclear weapons, a nonexistent group, in our judgment, and more interested in trying to cut a deal than in faithfully reporting what IAEA inspectors were telling him.”

As early as mid-April 2003, as Bolton pointed out, ElBaradei’s IAEA knew that the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility contained uranium hexafluoride, a compound used to make nuclear weapons fuel.

In less than two months, ElBaradei will be replaced as IAEA director general by Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano. But as he packs up his office, is he giving the world a glimpse of the real motivations behind his softness toward Iran?

The Islamofascist regime in Tehran, with its illegitimately re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews and calling for the destruction of Israel, is one of the last governments on the globe that should be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction.

Yet speaking on Sunday in Tehran, the setting for talks with Iranian officials regarding their atomic program, ElBaradei said, “Israel is the No. 1 threat to the Middle East, given the nuclear arms it possesses.” In a joint press conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, ElBaradei complained about Israel’s 30-year refusal to allow nuclear inspections.

Of at least equal note, ElBaradei also remarked that President Obama “has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen” on Israel’s nuclear plants.

What are we to take from that? Has the president asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow IAEA inspectors into his country, or is he pressing him to admit that Israel has nuclear weapons? Is the argument that by doing either Israel would be advancing the Mideast peace process?

Contrary to ElBaradei’s outrageous accusation and the president’s increasingly intimidating policy toward the Netanyahu government, the most effective catalyst for Mideast peace has, in fact, been the nuclear arming of Israel.

The routine wars between Israel and Arab states have stopped since Israel reached nuclear capability in 1967. And Egypt’s frequent tit-for-tat threats to build its own nukes, made under both Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, fizzled out once the Jewish state actually possessed the bomb. Indeed, would the Camp David accords between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin have been possible without a nuclear Israel?

Looking back on the past four decades, the Jewish state’s policy of refusing to confirm or deny its nuclear arsenal is, as the Old Testament proverb goes, a wisdom “more precious than rubies.” The only fully free, Westernized country in the Middle East has been able to let its surrounding enemies know that it will defend itself with the deadliest of force if its existence comes under direct threat.

And yet, despite its regional nuclear monopoly, Israel has refrained from using it on adversaries seeking its destruction.

In return for its restraint, as Netanyahu pointed out in his speech to the U.N. last month, “a democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot” — a reference to the condemnation of his country by another U.N. agency, the Human Rights Council.

The London Times reports that a secret section of the IAEA’s account on Iran warns that Tehran “may already have tested a detonation system small enough to fit into the warhead of a medium-range missile.” Is there much doubt that what ElBaradei really wants is a Muslim member of the nuclear weapons club to offset the Jewish one? As he departs, and not a moment too soon, it’s an outrage to hear the nuclear “watchdog” bark in the wrong direction.

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Obama: “Appalled and Outraged” By Violence In Iran — Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran Will Not Submit To “Bullying”

June 29, 2009

United Against Nuclear Iran

24 June 09

AP reported that “Dramatically hardening the U.S. reaction to Iran’s disputed elections and bloody aftermath, President Barack Obama condemned the violence against protesters Tuesday and lent his strongest support yet to their accusations the hardline victory was a fraud. Obama, who has been accused by some Republicans of being too timid in his response to events in Iran, declared himself ‘appalled and outraged’ by the deaths and intimidation in Tehran’s streets – and scoffed at suggestions he was toughening his rhetoric in response to the criticism. He suggested Iran’s leaders will face consequences if they continue ‘the threats, the beatings and imprisonments’ against protesters. But he repeatedly declined to say what actions the U.S. might take, retaining – for now – the option of pursuing diplomatic engagement with Iran’s leaders over its suspected nuclear weapons program.” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama)

The New York Times reported that “President Obama hardened his tone toward Iran on Tuesday, condemning the government for its crackdown against election protesters and accusing Iran’s leaders of fabricating charges against the United States…Yet beyond muscular words, Mr. Obama has limited tools for bringing pressure to bear on the Iranian government, which for years has been brushing off international calls for it to curb its nuclear program. After the news conference, administration officials said there was little they could do to influence the outcome of the confrontation between the government and the protesters. And more so now than even a few days ago, they said, the prospects for any dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program appear all but dead for the immediate future, though they held out hope that Iran, assuming it has a stable government, could respond to Mr. Obama’s overtures later in the year.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/us/politics/24webobama.html?hp)

The Washington Post reported that “Iran’s supreme leader told a group of lawmakers Wednesday that ‘neither the system nor the people will submit to bullying’ over the results of the disputed presidential election, which he has given a powerful supervisory body an additional five days to review. ‘Everyone should respect the law. Once lawlessness becomes a norm, things will be complicated and interest of people will be undermined,’ said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate authority over political and religious life in Iran. ‘We will not step an inch beyond the law: our law, our country’s law, the Islamic Republic’s law.’ Hours later, witnesses said, security forces used clubs and tear gas to disperse demonstrators protesting the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…The Iranian government had stepped up pressure on its opponents Tuesday, setting up a special court to try detained protesters, carrying out new arrests and launching a campaign to publicly vilify those calling for a new vote.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062400156.html?hpid=topnews)

Reuters reported that “The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a $48.8 billion spending bill for U.S. foreign policy and aid efforts, and tried to apply more pressure on Iran after the violence that followed its disputed election results…Lawmakers adopted an amendment that would prohibit the U.S. Export-Import Bank from extending loans, credits or guarantees to companies that supply Iran with gasoline or help the country’s domestic production. ‘While students are murdered in the streets of Tehran, we should not use taxpayer money to bolster the Iranian economy,’ said Republican Representative Mark Kirk of Illinois.” (http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2336577220090623)

AP reported that “President Barack Obama remains publicly hopeful that Iran will emerge from its political crisis more open to international concerns about its nuclear ambitions, but the administration is preparing on several fronts for a darker outcome…Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that any efforts by Iran to spread its growing nuclear technologies could be met by counterterrorism and interdiction operations…Gates laid out in stark terms what might be in store should Tehran’s cleric-led government refuse to budge in its pursuit of a nuclear program. In remarks Tuesday to the military chiefs of several Persian Gulf states, Gates raised the specter of Iran’s nuclear build-up, which officials fear is aimed at acquiring atomic weapons and could set off a regional arms race.” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iNA_rjexLDy25bFct-7osZ28_MtgD990L44G0)

The Washington Post reported that “In the first days after Iran’s disputed election, journalists covered it openly. Then, as government militias cracked down, they were told to stay in their offices. Now, many are being arrested — so far, a Canadian Iranian reporter for Newsweek, a Greek reporter for the Washington Times and several dozen Iranian reporters, including a group arrested en masse at their office. It is unclear why the journalists were arrested or what, if anything, they will be charged with. The detentions could, some experts say, be a scare tactic. Or, as with so much of what is happening in Iran now, they could be the beginning of a new phase in which old rules don’t necessarily apply.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/23/AR2009062303494.html)

AP reported that “Mir Hossein Mousavi is still nominally the guiding force of the fury over Iran’s disputed election. But there are ample signs his rebel stature is being eroded by his hesitation to shift from campaigner to street agitator as his supporters challenge security forces. The questions over Mousavi’s standing are part of a larger debate over the direction of the unprecedented assault on Iran’s Islamic leadership…’It’s not really about Mousavi anymore,’ said Ali Nader, an Iran specialist at the RAND Corp. ‘The population has expressed its unhappiness with the system. You could argue that Iran has reached the point where the population has said: Enough is enough.'” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5irFQnr5TZ41eoqFJ384_FVgezb4gD990JF202)

AFP reported that “Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign office said on Tuesday it would soon release a full report on “fraud and irregularities” in the June 12 presidential election. A Mousavi campaign committee ‘will soon release a full report of electoral fraud and irregularities to the people,’ a statement posted on Mousavi’s official website Kalemeh.ir said. The statement came after the Guardians Council ruled out annulling the results of the election, which showed Mousavi losing heavily to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i30Wbp3eRT-xz63x2Z0PYg_Ogyhg)

The Financial Times reported that “With the regime leaving no doubt that it will stamp out all forms of dissent, the city has, on the surface at least, looked calmer since Sunday. But no one knows what will come next – more defiant, but smaller protests and sit-ins or other types of civil disobedience. Several residents contacted by the Financial Times described a mounting sense of fear, combined with a collective depression setting in on the capital…’We’re in a state of shock, uncertainty, extreme depression and extreme rage,’ says one young businessman. ‘You can’t kill a few people and expect things to go back to normal.'” (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4ef2c51e-6013-11de-a09b-00144feabdc0.html)

Reuters reported that “European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana condemned on Tuesday violence that followed elections in Iran and said he was concerned about the situation. ‘We have seen violence that we have to condemn,’ he told a news conference after talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. ‘We expected that the election process would be something clearly positive for the international community. Unfortunately what we have seen today is something very different.'” (http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLN885348)

AFP reported that “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the situation in Iran in telephone conversations with her French, British and German counterparts, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said. The top US diplomat, who withdrew from the upcoming G8 summit in Trieste after breaking her arm, called British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier on Monday, Kelly told reporters at a press conference.” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g4z5vSZxrZ8OGI59ZD9P1TFiU7JQ)

Reuters reported that “Britain said on Tuesday it was throwing out two Iranian diplomats in response to Tehran’s expulsion of two British diplomats as relations hit a new low following Iran’s disputed presidential election.” http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Iran/idUSTRE55M5RX20090623)

Edward Luttwak wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal that “At this point, only the short-term future of Iran’s clerical regime remains in doubt. The current protests could be repressed, but the unelected institutions of priestly rule have been fatally undermined. Though each aspect of the Islamic Republic has its own dynamic, this is not a regime that can last many more years…What has undermined the very structure of the Islamic Republic is the fracturing of its ruling elite. It was the unity established by Ayatollah Khomeini that allowed the regime to dominate the Iranian people for almost 30 years. Now that unity has been shattered: The very people who created the institutions of priestly rule are destroying their authority.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124580553688545019.html)

David Ignatius wrote in today’s Washington Post that “On one side you have all the instruments of repression in Iran, gathering their forces for a crackdown. On the other you have unarmed protesters symbolized by the image of Neda Agha Soltan, a martyred woman dying helplessly on the street, whose last words reportedly were: ‘It burned me.’ Who’s going to win? In the short run, the victors may be the thugs who claim to rule in the name of GodBut over the coming months and years, my money is on the followers of the martyred Neda. They have exposed the weakness of the clerical regime in a way that Iran’s foreign adversaries — America, Israel, Saudi Arabia — never could.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/23/AR2009062303318.html)

Roger Cohen wrote in today’s New York Times that “Iran’s 1979 revolution took a full year to gestate. The uprising of 2009 has now ended its first phase. But the volatility ushered in by the June 12 ballot-box putsch of Iran’s New Right is certain to endure over the coming year. The Islamic Republic has been weakened…All the fudge that allowed a modern society to coexist with a theocracy inspired by an imam occulted in the 9th century has been swept away, leaving two Irans at war.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/opinion/24iht-edcohen.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=end%20of%20the%20beginning&st=cse)

Saad Eddin Ibrahim wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal that “The hotly contested presidential election in Iran between Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still unfolding, with uncertain results. But regardless of the outcome, the events in Iran are symptomatic of a larger change in the political landscape of the Middle East — the revival of a regional freedom movement, which stalled in 2006 after the election of Hamas in Palestine.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124580498089244981.html)

Robert Kaplan wrote in today’s Washington Post that “The Middle East has entered a period of deep flux, to be further amplified by elections in Iraq later this year and the seating of a pro-Western government in Lebanon. Because of its central geographic and demographic position astride the energy-rich Middle East — not to mention the attractive force of Persian culture seeping far into Central Asia — Iran, ironically, has a better chance to dominate the region under dynamic democratic rule than it has ever had under its benighted clerisy. And that could be very good for the United States.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/23/AR2009062303114.html)

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran should concern every American and be unacceptable to the community of nations. Since 1979 the Iranian regime, most recently under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s leadership, has demonstrated increasingly threatening behavior and rhetoric toward the US and the West. Iran continues to defy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations in their attempts to monitor its nuclear activities. A number of Arab states have warned that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons poses a threat to Middle East stability and could provoke a regional nuclear arms race.  In short, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is a danger to world peace.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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North Korea Ratchets Up Its Threats

June 29, 2009

IBD

25 June 09

Nuclear Terror: North Korea’s threats have escalated to new levels in recent days. Ordinarily, this might not be a big concern. But it’s an unstable regime with nuclear weapons, so we have to be ready to act — and fast.

President Obama doesn’t seemed too concerned about the North Korean threat, saying the U.S. has “dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s” on a potential response to the country’s increasingly hysteric provocations. On Wednesday, for example, it threatened to “wipe out” the U.S. “once and for all.”

It sounds laughable, since North Korea’s military doesn’t match up too well with ours. And yes, it could just be routine saber-rattling as we near the 59th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, which ended in a truce.

Still, there are signs of growing desperation in North Korea as family members and the military jockey to succeed the country’s ailing totalitarian despot, Kim Jong-Il. This raises the risks for us.

In April, North Korea tested a new long-range Taepodong-2 missile capable of hitting Hawaii and parts of the continental U.S. In late May, it conducted an underground test of an atomic bomb. After both the U.S. and U.N. condemned its moves, the North Koreans stalked out of nuclear disarmament talks and — what else? — again threatened the U.S.

Earlier this month, North Korea suspended its truce with the U.S. — in effect, saying the Korean War has restarted.

Just a week ago, the U.S. detected a ship leaving the North Korean port of Nampo. The Kang Nam is thought to be carrying illicit nuclear material and is being shadowed by the USS John S. McCain, a U.S. naval destroyer.

What’s it all mean? North Korea is emerging as a serious threat, even hinting that it might soon launch missiles at Hawaii.

Right now, of course, it’s doubtful they could seriously deliver a nuclear bomb to our shores. They’re still ascending the nuclear learning curve. But as their missile and nuclear technology improves, they’ll have know-how that will make them truly dangerous — like a mini-China during the reign of Mao.

This is already happening. In 2006, when North Korea’s test of a nuclear bomb yielded less than 1 kiloton of explosive power, many people shrugged it off. Last month’s test yielded as much as 20 kilotons. What will the next one bring?

We wouldn’t be in this spot if we had nipped it in the bud. Going back to the bogus disarmament deal signed in 1994 by the Clinton administration and its envoy, former President Jimmy Carter, the U.S. has had chances to stop North Korea’s nuclear program.

Unfortunately, the Clinton White House was in denial. In 1998, its military adviser even claimed the North Koreans didn’t have a nuclear weapons program. He was spectacularly wrong.

During this time, we were told repeatedly not to “provoke” the North Koreans. If we didn’t, they wouldn’t build nuclear weapons. Well, we spent the better part of two decades not provoking them. In fact, we gave them aid, provided them with millions of barrels of fuel oil and even helped them build a light-water nuclear facility.

All the while, North Korea’s government played us for patsies, starving millions of its own people, threatening neighboring South Korea and Japan with military attack and building up its nuclear threat to the point where, now, it’s quite serious.

You’d think such a threat to us would be met with resolute force. Instead, we’re cutting our missile defense budget — the best way to defend against rogue nuclear attacks — by 15%, or $1.4 billion.

There’s a lesson in this for us, if we’ll only pay attention. We’re going down the very same wrong-headed road today with Iran as we did in the 1990s with North Korea.

We appease, we bribe, we provide more carrots and remove sticks, and still the threats come. North Korea is now nuclear. If we had been smart, we would have bombed that country’s nuclear facilities into rubble a decade ago. We wouldn’t have this problem today.

Unfortunately, we didn’t. Nor are we likely to do anything about Iran’s nuclear weapons, either. But that too is a growing threat. As IBD noted last month, Iran has already tested a solid-fuel Sajjil-2 missile that can travel 1,200 miles — enough to hit Europe or Israel.

Why develop such a weapon unless you plan to load something truly devastating on it — like a nuclear warhead? Soon, Iran will be another rogue nation with nuclear weapons — just as President Bush repeatedly warned. The whole world will be less safe.

The bottom line is the U.S. needs at the very least to have the best missile defense in the world — one that works so well that none would dare challenge us. Better still would be a plan of zero tolerance for those developing nuclear weapons outside international law — enforced, if necessary, by America’s military.

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Eye on Iran: Ahmadinejad Tells Obama Not to Interfere in Iran — Iran Stepping Up Effort to Quell Election Protest — WH Rescinds Invitation to July 4th Celebrations

June 25, 2009

unitedagainstnucleariran.com

25 June 09

The Washington Post reported that “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned President Obama on Thursday to ‘avoid interfering’ in Iranian affairs, and his security forces arrested 70 academics overnight after using clubs and tear gas Wednesday to break up demonstrations over the disputed June 12 elections. ‘Do you want to speak with this tone? If that is your stance then what is left to talk about?’ Ahmadinejad said of Obama, who during a news conference Tuesday criticized Iran’s crackdown on protesters who have alleged fraud and demanded that the elections be annulled. Accusing Obama of acting like his predecessor, George W. Bush, Ahmadinejad said: ‘I hope you avoid interfering in Iran’s affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian nation is informed of it.’ His remarks were translated by Reuters news service.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/25/AR2009062500774.html?hpid=topnews)

The New York Times reported that “Iranian officials stepped up efforts to crush the remaining resistance to a disputed presidential election on Wednesday, as security forces overwhelmed a small group of protesters with brutal beatings, tear gas and gunshots in the air. Intelligence agents shut down an office of a defeated presidential candidate, saying it was a ‘headquarters for a psychological war.’ The nation’s leadership cast anyone refusing to accept the results of the race as an enemy of the state. Analysts suggested that the unyielding response showed that Iran’s leaders, backed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had lost patience and that Iran was now, more than ever, a state guided not by clerics of the revolution but by a powerful military and security apparatus.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/world/middleeast/25iran.html?scp=2&sq=iran&st=cse)

Politico reported that “The White House has rescinded its invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 festivities hosted at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday. No Iranian diplomats RSVP’d, Gibbs said, adding, ‘I don’t think it’s surprising that nobody’s signed up to come, given the events of the past days.’ Nonetheless, he said, ‘those invitations will no longer be extended.'” (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/24173.html)

The New York Times reported that “Throughout the Iranian crisis, Mr. Obama has tried to strike a difficult balance. On one hand, he has carefully modulated his response to minimize the chances that the Iranian government will cast the conflict as one driven by meddling from the United States, and to avoid closing off the possibility of talks with Iran over curbing its nuclear program, a signature element of his foreign policy since his election. On the other hand, he has had to avoid appearing tone-deaf to the potential emergence of a democracy movement in Iran and to keep his political opponents from casting him as weak in foreign affairs. The result has been a gradually evolving message that at times has seemed strained, drawing some of the harshest criticism, especially from conservatives, since he took office. White House officials counter that Mr. Obama has struck the best possible course so far, by keeping America’s national security interests paramount while still articulating his belief in the pro-democracy protesters in Iran and his support for them.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/us/politics/25memo.html?ref=us)

Pollster Frank Luntz discussed UANI’s first national ad “Unclenched Fist” last night on Fox.  He said “When the ad goes above a 50 it’s a home run. That ad was in the 70’s. That’s what you never have in politics today. Republicans and democrats never agree on anything. The line is going up. The green line was reacting to obama and then the red line, the republican line gets closer and closer as they talk about the problems in Iran. The American people are sending a message, don’t negotiate with this dictator.” (http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?stationid=130&DateTime=06%2F24%2F2009+21%3A24%3A28&mediapreload=14&playclip=false)

The Times reported that “The Iranian regime has appointed one of its most feared prosecutors to interrogate reformists arrested during demonstrations, prompting fears of a brutal crackdown against dissent. Relatives of several detained protesters have confirmed that the interrogation of prisoners is now being headed by Saaed Mortazavi, a figure known in Iran as ‘the butcher of the press’. He gained notoriety for his role in the death of a Canadian-Iranian photographer who was tortured, beaten and raped during her detention in 2003…Earlier this year he oversaw the arrest and trial of Roxana Saberi, the American-Iranian journalist sentenced to eight years for spying, and his name has appeared on the arrest warrants of prominent reformists rounded up since the unrest started, such as Saeed Hajarian, a close aide of Mohammad Khatami, the reformist former President. With more than 600 people now having been arrested, including dozens of journalists, many fear the worst.” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6570089.ece)

The New York Times reported that “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has maintained a markedly low profile since Iran’s disputed presidential election erupted into bloody street protests. But analysts said the crackdown now taking place across Iran suggested that Mr. Ahmadinejad had succeeded in creating a pervasive network of important officials in the military, security agencies, and major media outlets, a new elite made especially formidable by support from one important constituent, Iran’s supreme leader himself. Mr. Ahmadinejad has filled crucial ministries and other top posts with close friends and allies who have spread ideological and operational support for him nationwide. These analysts estimate that he has replaced 10,000 government employees to cement his loyalists through the bureaucracies, so that his allies run the organizations responsible for both the contested election returns and the official organs that have endorsed them.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/world/middleeast/25tehran.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Ahmadinejad%20reaps%20benefits%20of%20stacking%20key%20Iran%20agencies%20with%20his%20allies&st=cse)

The Financial Times reported that “Since the start of Iran’s presidential crisis, the regime has resorted to mass arrests, locking up politicians from the reformist camp and young Iranians who were protesting at what they believe was an election stolen from reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi. Some families have been turning up every day in front of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, which deals with security charges, seeking information about their relatives. State media has said 457 people were arrested during protests last Saturday. US-based Human Rights Watch says the security net reached much wider since the protests broke out 11 days ago, with possibly thousands detained nationwide, many denied communication with their families. The crackdown shows no sign of easing. According to local media, 25 members of the staff of a newspaper supporting Mr Moussavi that had been banned in the wake of the election were arrested this week.” (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b0167b2c-611e-11de-aa12-00144feabdc0.html

AP reported that “For years, women’s defiance in Iran came in carefully planned flashes of hair under their head scarves, brightly painted fingernails and trendy clothing that could be glimpsed under bulky coats and cloaks. But these small acts of rebellion against the theocratic government have been quickly eclipsed in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential elections. In their place came images of Iranian women marching alongside men, of their scuffles with burly militiamen, of the sobering footage of a young woman named Neda, blood pouring from her mouth and nose minutes after her fatal shooting. In a part of the Muslim world where women are often repressed, these images have catapulted Iran’s female demonstrators to the forefront of the country’s opposition movement. It is a role, say Iranian women and experts, that few seem willing to give up, and one that will likely present President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline government with even greater challenges in the wake of the recent violence and protests.” (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hkzosTgK3ner6HkyGtGYXjNNo9vQD9918E0G0)

The Guardian reported that “The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world. Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/24/neda-soltan-iran-family-forced-out)

AP reported that “In the latest sign of government attempts to silence dissent, 70 university professors were detained late Wednesday after a meeting with the main opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has alleged massive fraud in the June 12 vote…Mousavi, who last led a protest rally a week ago, described his growing difficulties for the first time Thursday, in a statement posted in his official Web site, Kalemeh. He said authorities were increasingly isolating and vilifying him in an attempt to get him to withdraw his election challenge. Mousavi said he would not back down. ‘I am not ready to withdraw from demanding the rights of the Iranian people,’ he said, adding that he was determined to prove electoral fraud.” (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_iran_election)

BBC reported that “Unrest in Iran is expected to dominate discussions between foreign ministers gathering in northern Italy to prepare for a G8 summit. The future of Afghanistan had been the original focus of the talks in Trieste, but Iran’s post-election violence has shifted the attention.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8117956.stm)

The Times reported that “At about 9pm each day Nushin, a young housewife, performs the same curious ritual. She climbs up the stairs to the roof of her Tehran home and begins shouting into the night. ‘Allahu akbar,’ she cries, and sometimes ‘Death to the dictator.’ She is not alone. Across the darkened city, from rooftops and through open windows, thousands of others do the same to form one great chorus of protest – a collective wail of anger against a reviled regime that no amount of riot police and Basiji militia can stop. ‘It sounds like the wailing of wolves,’ said one Tehrani…’It’s the way we reassure ourselves that we are still here and we are still together,’ says Nushin, a woman who has never dared to rebel before.” (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6572101.ece)

AFP reported that “Football’s world governing body FIFA wrote to the Iranian football federation on Wednesday to ask for answers over alleged punishments meted out to several of their players for wearing wristbands reflecting their support for opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Six of them wore the green wristbands during the 2010 World Cup qualifier 1-1 draw with South Korea last week, including two of their icons Ali Karimi and skipper Mehdi Mahdavikia. It has been reported, largely by English television station Channel Four News on Tuesday and the left leaning Guardian newspaper on Wednesday that they had been told they would never play for their country again because of their stance.” (http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/afp/20090624/tsp-iran-fbl-wc2010-fifa-47c0590.html)

Garry Kasparov wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal that “Regardless of what Mr. Obama says, the Iranian leaders will use all the force at their disposal to stay in power. There is no reason to withhold external pressure that can tip the balance inside Tehran. Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi is not an ideal democrat. But should he and his supporters win power they will owe their authority to an abruptly empowered Iranian electorate. It is reasonable to expect that the people will hold a Mousavi government accountable for delivering the freedoms that they are now risking their lives to attain. Millions of Iranians are fighting to join the Free World. The least we can do is let the valiant people of Iran know loud and clear that they will be welcomed with open arms.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124588821030550761.html)

Mona Eltahawy wrote in today’s Washington Post that “Do you hear the silence from the Arab world over events in Iran?…That silence is the sound of hearts breaking over the dream of political Islam. When the 1979 revolution swept away the U.S.-backed shah and his injustices, Iran held out the tantalizing mirage of rule by Islam, even for countries that were not majority Shiite. Thirty years later, Iranians are protesting not a secular, U.S.-backed dictator but a system run by clerics who claim to uphold democracy as long as its candidates are given the regime’s stamp of approval. What’s happening in Iran is not about the United States or Israel. It’s not about Ahmadinejad or Mir Hossein Mousavi. It’s not even about the poor or the rich in Iran. The demonstrations are about people who feel their will and voice have been disregarded. In Egypt, it’s our secular dictator, in power for almost 28 years, who disregards our will. In Iran, it’s a clerical regime in power for 30 years, hiding behind God.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062403014.html?sid=ST2009062403031)

UANI Advisory Board Member Henry Sokolski wrote in today’s National Review Online that “First, (the U.S. should) press Iran to obey existing U.N. resolutions that require it to suspend its nuclear-fuel-making activities. Even if Iran were to continue to defy these resolutions, such pressure would at least stigmatize its nuclear misbehavior. Second, the U.S. should push for new international rules that would automatically impose sanctions on any state that violated its IAEA or Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) pledges or withdrew from the NPT while still in noncompliance. Similar automatic sanctions should be spelled out for any non-nuclear state that might test a nuclear device. Finally, the U.S. and other like-minded countries need to deprive Iran of any political, economic, military, or diplomatic advantage it might gain by continuing to inch toward nuclear weapons. We can maintain our diplomatic channels with Tehran, but only if we are willing to pressure Iran as we did South Africa, Libya, and the Soviet Union (i.e., with international or multilateral sanctions). Under no circumstances, though, should the U.S. bargain away the consensus – supported by both the IAEA and the U.N. Security Council – that Iran must suspend its nuclear-fuel-making activities. Doing so would only make it easier for Iran (and other countries) to produce nuclear bombs – exactly the opposite of what we should bargain for.” (http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWFhNmYyYzRmYmYwZWQ0Y2Q4NGM1OTM2MTQ4MWVkZjE=&w=MA==)

UANI Advisory Board Member Irwin Cotler wrote in yesterday’s Cleveland Indy Media Center that “The incendiary hate language emanating from Ahmadinejad’s Iran – in which Israel is referred to as ‘filthy bacteria’ and a ‘cancerous tumor’ and Jews are characterized as ‘a bunch of bloodthirsty barbarians’ – is only the head wind of the gathering storm confronting Israel on its 60th anniversary. Indeed, we are witnessing, and have been for some time, a series of mega-events, political earthquakes that have been impacting not only upon Israel and world Jewry but upon the human condition as a whole.” (http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2009/06/44302.php)