Summary of Iran Stories in Today's BroadcastsBehnam NateghiWednesday, March 17, 2004
<b>IAEA Chief “Can't” Rule Out Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program</b>
• IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he could not rule out a nuclear weapons program in Iran. “The Jury is still out,” he said, speaking to members of a US House of Representatives' subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia. He said the reason Iran began producing enriched uranium is that “they know it is a deterrent. If you can enrich uranium, you don't need a weapon tomorrow.” (Maryam Ahmadi)
• Iran played down its brief suspension of UN inspections. President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that Iran will cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prove its nuclear program is peaceful.
• During meetings in Washington on Tuesday, IAEA chief ElBaradei suggested a US dialogue with Iran as a way of resolving a growing controversy over Teheran's nuclear program, US sources said, according to the Reuters. Reportedly, ElBaradei said the Islamic government was ready for a deal with the US on its nuclear program, but it would need to include a move toward normalized US-Iran relations. ElBaradei raised the idea of a US-Iran dialogue in talks with Deputy US Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who took the idea “under advisement.” It was unclear whether ElBaradei was communicating a message from Tehran, or was expressing his own opinion. (Bahman Bastani)
• A two-week suspension of UN inspection of its nuclear facilities “is a continuation of a pattern of delay and deception and denial,” US State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli said on Tuesday. “It's time to come clean, fully, unequivocally and completely,” he added. Ereli said it was “regrettable” that Iran had called off inspections for two weeks. Meanwhile, secretary of the supreme national security council Hassan Rowhani, who is visiting Japan, said “the US believes should giver the UN inspectors the address of what it believes we are hiding.” (Farin Asemi)
• Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA. Meanwhile, the Russian government's official news agency reported that the Bushehr nuclear plant project has faced financial and organizational snags. (Jamshid Zand)
• The IAEA board of directors can no longer tolerate Iran's policy of drip feeding information, Ambassador Kenneth Brill, US envoy to the IAEA board of governors, tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The outcome of lack of improvement in the situation in the next few months will be seen in June, he adds. (Ali Sajjadi)
• “The news of the suspension of the UN inspections was pleasant, and now the news that the inspections would continue is a cause of concern,” writes the Supreme Leader's daily <i>Jumhuri-ye Eslami</i>. Reformist daily <i>Aftab-e Yazd</i> ran the news of the resumption of inspections with a big banner headline on its front page. (AmirArmin)
<b>British Ambassador to Tehran Warns Businessmen of Iran Perils</b>
• In a talk to members of the Iran-Britain Chamber of Commerce, British Ambassador to Tehran Richard Dalton cautioned businessmen about investment in Iran. London-based opposition activist <b>Mehrdad Khansari</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that Dalton attempted to paint an accurate picture. Dalton said Iran was at a crossroads and the low turnout in the February 20 Majles elections was an indication of the depth of the problems faced by the Islamic regime. (Shahran Tabari, London)
<b>Expediency Council Increased Guardians Council's Budget</b>
• The Expediency Council, all 30 members of which have been appointed by the Supreme Leader, increased the budget of the Guardians Council by 60 billion rials, after the Majles and the Guardians Council did not resolve their budget difference, which had held up the final approval of the government's upcoming fiscal year budget bill. The Expediency Council reduced the total requested by the government from the oil income surplus fund from $6.5 billion to $5 billion. Majles reformists regretted that the Majles, which is the only elected body charged with approving the budget, has no control over it. (Fereydoun Khavand, Paris)
<b>Khatami Shelves Twin Reform Bills</b>
• President Khatami said his two bills which meant to check the power of the Guardians Council and the judiciary will be withdrawn after being rejected twice by the Guardians Council. He said he did not want to send the bills for arbitration to the Expediency Council, because he was sure he would lose even the tentative power he now enjoys. The Majles had approved both bills. “I withdraw the bills and declare that I have met with defeat,” Khatami said. Khatami's “election reform bill” would have ended the Guardians Council's vetting of election candidacy applicants. His “definition of presidential power” bill would have given the president the power to suspend “unconstitutional” court rulings. (Alireza Taheri)
<b>Islamic Government Commits a Human Rights Violation Every 8 Hours</b>
• A coalition of human rights activists in Europe charged in a statement that the Islamic government violates human rights once every 8 hour, based on reports the signers said they received from inside Iran. Paris-based human rights advocate <b>Abolkarim Lahiji</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that his organization, the society for defense of human rights, and several others, did not endorse that statement, however, he adds, the Islamic government's violations of human rights are so common that there is room for all kinds of interpretations. (Nazi Azima)
<b>Workers of Khuzestan Plumbing Manufacturer Block Highway in Protest</b>
• Workers of the Khuzestan plumbing manufacturer blocked Khoramshahr-Ahwaz highway for several hours to demand overdue pay and benefits. Local journalist <b>Mojtaba Gahestani</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b> that the protesting workers, who are owed eight months of salary, have threatened that they would organize a province-wide strike, if their wages were not paid. The government said 5 billion rials from a crisis fund would be used for this factory, but no payment has been made yet, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)
<b>US Stalls Iran's Offer of Talks, FT Reports</b>
• The US has been stalling an Iranian offer of talks on nuclear weapons, terrorism and Israel for the past 10 months because of divisions within the Bush administration, the <i>Financial Times</i> reports. US Secretary of State Colin Powell recently told an internal meeting that US President George Bush was looking for an opening with Tehran, it added. (Jamshid Zand)
• There are two arguments in the US against normalization of relations with Iran, London-based internationally syndicated columnist <b>Amir Taheri</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. They either consider the Islamic Republic a strategic enemy of the US, or believe that before any talks with the Islamic government, the US needs to better analyze and understand the developments within Iran. Meanwhile, there are two arguments in support of talks with Iran. Some in the US administration believe that the US and Iran are natural allies, and have common interest in seeing stability and rule of law return to Afghanistan and Iraq. Others argue for access to Iran's oil. On the other hand, Iran is in desperate need of investment, particularly to upgrade its oil and gas industry, which, due to lack of investment for too long, is suffering from decreasing capacity, he adds. However, there does not appear to be a government in Iran with a coherent strategy to either come to terms with the outside world or fight it. (Jean Khakzad)
• The normalization of the US-Iran relations is in the interest of both countries, Orange County- based political science professor <b>Kaveh Afrasiabi</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. The US officials and the media pay little attention to the stabilizing role Iran has played in the past 15 years, he adds. Without Iran's influence, the fall of Kabul would have been probably a bloody affair. In Iraq, Iran encouraged the Shiites to participate in the governing council. Iran engineered peace or cease fire agreement in Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, and the internal conflict in Tajikistan. The US and Iran can keep their disagreements and still normalize their relationship, just as US and China have normal diplomatic relations, despite their many fundamental disagreements. (Behnam Nateghi, New York)
<b>Court Extends Jailed Journalist Detention</b>
• The Tabriz revolutionary court extended the detention of journalist Ensafali Hedayat for another 20 days. He will not be permitted to spend March 22 new year day with his family, his daughter <b>Fatemeh Hedayat</b> tells <b>Radio Farda</b>. Hedayat was seen in the jail hospital by a specialist, who said his intestinal disease was curable, she says. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
مريم احمدي (راديوفردا): از محمد البرادعي، رئيس سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي، كه در كميته فرعي خاورميانه و آسياي ميانه مجلس نمايندگان آمريكا صحبت مي كرد، سئوال شد آيا روند توليد يك جنگ افزار اتمي را آغاز كرده است؟
البرادعي در پاسخ گفت ما هنوز شاهد چنين روندي نبوده ايم با اين حال من اين احتمال را رد نمي كنم. البرادعي افزود سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي در باره آنچه در رابطه با زراد خانه اتمي بالقوه يك كشور مي گويد بايد احتياط به خرج دهد. اظهارات ما مي تواند حدفاصلي ميان جنگ و صلح باشد و به همين جهت بايد محتاط باشيم.
هنگامي كه از رئيس سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي سئوال شد چرا ايران به جاي خريد اورانيوم، تصميم به استخراج و غني ساختن اورانيوم گرفته است، گفت ايرانيان مي دانند كه اين يك وسيله بازدارنده است و اگر شما بتوانيد اورانيوم را غني كنيد، فردا نيازي به اسلحه نداريد و اين موضوع مي تواند پيامي را برساند.
سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي در ماه نوامبر گذشته در گزارشي در باره ايران گفت هنوز به قرينه اين در مورد وجود برنامه اي براي توليد سلاح اتمي در ايران دست نيافته است. اين سازمان در گزارش ماه فوريه خود نيز اشاره نكرد كه آيا به مدركي در باره تسليحات اتمي ايران دست يافته است يا خير. گزارش ماه نوامبر سازمان بين الملللي انرژي اتمي خشم اعضاي دولت بوش را بر انگيخت و يكي از مقامات آمريكا گفت غير ممكن است بتوان نتيجه گيري اين سازمان را باور كرد.
روز چهارشنبه هم سخنگوي كاخ سفيد به خبرنگاران گفت ما در رابطه با ايران نگراني هاي جدي داريم و مسائلي هست كه بايد روي آن كار شود.
اسكات مكللن مي كوشيد ادعاهاي مربوط به گفتگوهاي تازه ايالات متحده با ايران و اين كه چنين گفتگوئي مي تواند به فيصله بحث هاي فزاينده در باره برنامه هاي هسته اي ايران كمك كند، كم اهميت جلوه دهد
سخنگوي كاخ سفيد گفت ما در گذشته گفته ايم هر گاه مسئله اي كه از نظر هر دو طرف مهم و قابل بررسي باشد پيش بيايد، كانال هاي ارتباطي وجود دارد. در حال حاضر تماس هاي ايران و ايالات متحده از طريق ديپلمات هاي سوئيسي انجام مي گيرد.
به گفته منابع آگاه، آقاي البرادعي موضوع تماس ايران و آمريكا را مطرح ساخته است. به گفته او، البرادعي به مقامات آمريكائي گفته است مذاكرات ايران و آمريكا مي تواند به حل بحران هسته اي ايران كمك كند و روابط دو كشور عادي شود.
آقاي مكللن روز چهارشنبه گفت سياست ما نسبت به ايران روشن است و ما بر تبعيت ايران از خواسته هاي سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي و تعهدات اين كشور بر اساس پيمان منع گسترش سلاح هاي هسته اي، رعايت حقوق بشر، عدم حمايت از تروريسم، عدم مداخله در امور داخلي كشورهاي همسايه، و تحويل اعضاي القاعده به دولت هاي متبوعشان اصرار داريم. محمد البرادعي، رئيس سازمان بين المللي انرژي اتمي، در كميته فرعي خاورميانه و آسياي ميانه مجلس نمايندگان آمريكا، گفت احتمال وجود برنامه تسليحات اتمي در ايران را نمي تواند رد كند. وي افزود ايرانيان مي دانند كه توليد اورانيوم غني شده، يك بازدارنده است و اگر شما بتوانيد اورانيوم را غني كنيد، فردا نيازي به اسلحه نداريد. البرادعي در ديدار با مقامات آمريكا گفت مذاكرات ميان آمريكا و ايران مي تواند به حل بحران هسته اي ايران كمك كند و روابط دو كشور عادي شود. اسكات مكللن سخنگوي كاخ سفيد گفت اجراي تعهدات منع گسترش تسليحات اتمي، عدم حمايت از تروريسم، رعايت حقوق بشر، عدم مداخله در امور كشورهاي همسايه و تحويل عناصر القاعده، انتظارات آمريكا از جمهوري اسلامي است.