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Thread: Nuke Crisis Looms With Hardline Iran

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    Jan 2005

    Nuke Crisis Looms With Hardline Iran

    Nuke crisis looms with hardline Iran

    By Martin Walker
    UPI Editor
    Published June 25, 2005

    WASHINGTON -- The landslide election victory of the hard-line mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sets the stage for a tense new confrontation between Iran and the West.

    Ahmadinejad, who won a sweeping 62 percent of the votes in Iran's presidential race, was the candidate of the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guard, in which he served as a senior commander, and of the Basij security service and militia. He also has strong backing from the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who barely bothered to conceal their partiality for him.

    The Pasdaran is the elite military force, founded by Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeni after the 1979 revolution that toppled the shah, to guarantee the Islamic regime's safety against the Iranian military which was suspect as packed with supporters or the former shah.

    The Pasdaran, which gets the best modern weapons, also controls Iran's strategic weapons systems, including the Shihab-3 ballistic missiles and the suspected nuclear weapons program.

    The Pasdaran also runs Iran's long-standing relations with militant Islamic groups overseas, and particularly the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which makes Iran into a "state sponsor of terrorism" according to the definition of the United States. The Pasdaran also provide the 50 tons of weaponry and explosives aboard the Karine-A, the Palestinian ship that was stopped by Israeli commandos before it could smuggle its deadly cargo to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israeli officials also claim the Pasdaran has trained and equipped militants of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

    Western intelligence sources have told United Press International that the new president served in the Al Quds Battalion of the Pasdaran, which was responsible for operations abroad. (Al Quds is the Arabic name for the city of Jerusalem, and signals strong commitment to the Palestinian cause.) The sources add that he is believed to have participated in operations in western Europe, saying in particular that he was one of a number of Iranians suspected of involvement in the killing of three Iranian Kurdish leaders in an ambush on the outskirts of the Austrian capital Vienna.

    Newly empowered by the oil price boom which has put an extra $30 billion into Iran's treasury in the last 12 months, the Iranian religious authorities have now swept away the remnants of the reformist civilian government that won the last two presidential elections. All three main arms of the Iranian state, the government, the Supreme Council of the religious leadership, and the Pasdaran-Basij security force and power base, are now in the hands of militant Islamic hard-liners who see the U.S. and Israel as their mortal enemies.

    Iran is now in effect becoming an Islamic-military state. One in three of the 290 elected deputies in the Majlis, Iran's parliament, now come from the Pasdaran, the Basij or the related military-industrial groups they run, and 42 of them come, like the new president, from the ranks of the Padaran.

    Western officials were dismayed by the result, which they see ending the slim chances of the ongoing negotiations with Britain, France and Germany to bring Iran back into compliance with the provisions of the Non Proliferation Treaty and to reassure other countries that Iran's secret nuclear weans program would in future be blocked by an international inspection regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    "This all but closes the door for a breakthrough in U.S.-Iran relations," commented Karim Sadjadpour, a Tehran-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, speaking to al-Jazeera TV. "I think Ahmadinejad is less amenable to compromise on the nuclear issue."

    The Bush administration is now likely to press its European allies for a swift reaction, demanding that the new Iranian president either commit to the negotiations and to the IAEA inspections, or face a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council and a demand for sanctions. Failing that, the prospect of some form of military action against Iran's nuclear sites, whether by the U.S. or by Israel, cannot be ruled out.

    The new President Ahmadinejad, 49, will take office in August. He campaigned on a conservative and populist Islamic platform, and came from behind to score a surprise success in the first round of voting by five other candidates to reach the run-off. In Friday's vote, he then defied the opinion polls and predictions of a close race, to defeat the more moderate former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who had campaigned on a promise of more reform, relaxation of religious controls, and a cautious re-opening of links to the U.S.

    Both the first round and the run-off vote have seen allegations of stuffed ballot boxes and fraud, of the rules being bent to allow certain polling stations to stay open for hours beyond the official deadline, and of intense get-out-the-vote efforts by the Pasdaran with military trucks and by the Basij militia in the poor districts on Tehran where Ahmadinejad is popular. Turnout in the run-off poll was 52 percent, down from 63 percent in the first round a week ago.

    Iran's Interior Ministry, still in the hands of the relatively moderate outgoing government, reported 300 complaints of electoral violations in Tehran alone, but the religious Supreme Council rejected the Ministry's request to have six voting stations closed for 'irregularities."

    Aides to the defeated Rafsanjani claimed "massive irregularities" in the voting. They said Rafsanjani said Ahmadinejad could only win by fraud.

    But Rafsanjani's campaign had been badly hit by a barrage of allegations against him and his family of corruption, with detailed reports of alleged wealth and secret bank accounts being leaked to the conservative press. Ahmadinejad pledged that "the war against corruption" would be one of the two hallmarks of his presidency; the other would be to resist Western "decadence".

    "We did not have a revolution in order to have democracy," he said last week.

    In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said the U.S. would judge Iran under President Ahmadinejad by its actions.

    "With the conclusion of the elections in Iran, we have seen nothing that dissuades us from our view that Iran is out of step with the rest of the region and the currents of freedom and liberty that have been so apparent in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon," she said. "These elections were flawed from the inception by the decision of an unelected few to deny the applications of over 1,000 candidates, including all 93 women."

    "In light of the way these elections were conducted, however, we remain skeptical that the Iranian regime is interested in addressing either the legitimate desires of its own people, or the concerns of the broader international community," she added.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    beltman713 Guest
    Sounds alot like our election in 2004.

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