27 November 2006

Getting to today on Iran, starting in 2000

We have been seeing some events these past few months that give pause as to what, exactly, is going on in the world. Now, as there are a couple of central Nations involved, lets take a look at some of their past activities. Most of these are 'fill-in' specifics on the Transnational Terrorism concept which I have covered before to show how the interconnected Terrorist organizations work as an internetworked organizations with different end points, but common means and contacts.

What, you never read my Template of Terror and Web of the Supernote? For shame!!

Anyways, most of this is taken from the GlobalSecurity.org archives on Iran, and I am using their year 2000 archives as a starting point. Free information for those starved of context. See how Iran deals with Russia! See how Iran expands terrorism in South America! See the non-response of the Clinton Administration!

Realpolitik in action.... or inaction as the case may be.

Some lowlights of interest in the year 2000, possibly more to be added later.

This report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 3 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 1, from GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN EXAMINES CHECHEN CONFLICT. Russia is now using fuel-air explosives to eliminate its opponents in southern Chechnya, the "Moscow Times" reported on 29 December, and on 1 January it used Scud missiles. In Grozny, the Chechen capital, Russian forces are trying to minimize their own casualties by using Chechen Interior Ministry troops and Russian Spetsnaz special forces.

Faced with these developments, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi on 28 December "expressed deep concern about escalation of fighting and bloodshed in Grozny," IRNA reported. Some Iranian concern also was expressed when Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Sredin and Iran's Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Safari met on 27 December, according to ITAR-TASS.

Official Russian statements shed no light on how long the conflict will last. Pro-Moscow Chechen politician Malik Saydullayev said the battle could take months rather than days, while Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said the Chechens are running out of ammunition and the campaign is proceeding as planned. Meanwhile, Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev estimates that there are 25,000-30,000 civilians in Grozny, according to RFE/RL Newsline.

Tehran's criticism of Moscow is still mild, and it continues to provide humanitarian aid. A shipment of 40 tons of food was sent to Makhachkala, according to a 20 December IRNA report. It was the third such shipment to the region. In general, it seem that there is little criticism or demonstrable disapproval of Moscow's actions. According to an editorial in the 29 December "Moscow Times," the World Bank just approved a $100 million low-interest loan for Russia.

Some Tehran newspapers are now blaming the U.S. for the Chechen conflict. The 27 December "Tehran Times" -- affiliated with the conservative Islamic Propagation Office -- cited an anonymous "foreign diplomat" who said that the Taliban and Qatar have been aiding the Chechens for "a long time" and "now NATO is also there, but through a secret mission." No further details were provided.

"Iran Daily", IRNA's English-language newspaper, said on 20 December that Russia's behavior is to be expected from a weakened superpower. It is, therefore, natural for Russia to resent American criticism of its behavior. For Russia, "Iran Daily" suggested, fighting in Chechnya is a proxy conflict for fighting "so-called American and international pressures." (Bill Samii)
Ah, so the United States is taking part in the Chechen conflict and fueling it! Remember, this is coming from that Nation that the ISG wishes to have take part in 'negotiations' over Iraq.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 17 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 3, GlobalSecurity.org:

NOBODY'S HAPPY: IRAN'S STANCE ON CHECHNYA. Russian armed forces entered Chechnya on 30 September, a week after its air force started bombing the Chechen capital, Grozny. And now, Russian troops are telling Western reporters that hundreds of soldiers are dying in the attempt to capture Grozny. Russian military analyst Pavel Felgengauer said, according to "The Guardian" on 11 January: "The Russian military is losing the initiative and the other side is taking the initiative. We're seeing a drastic change. The guerrillas are highly mobile. The Russians are making tactical mistakes and are too thinly spread."

This is not how the Russian military sees the situation, preferring instead to blame the presence of foreign mercenaries. The press center of the Russian Eastern Group of Federal Forces reported that "emissaries sent by [rebel field commander Shamil] Basayev and [rebel leader Movladi] Udugov are continuing to recruit mercenaries in the Near East. In the past week alone about 200 citizens of Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have arrived in Chechnya...[as have] several citizens of Ukraine and Pakistan," according to a Russian public television broadcast on 7 January. The Russian military also claimed that unofficial Chechen spokesman Movladi Udugov and Chechen Vice President Vakha Arsonov visited the Republic of Georgia to recruit members of the paramilitary Mkhedrioni with the promise of future assistance in settling the Abkhazia conflict (Chechens allegedly fought on the Abkhaz side in that conflict).

The Iranian Embassy in Moscow called these reports a "flagrant lie," Interfax reported on 7 January, saying: "Iran had expressed its respect for Russia's territorial integrity on many occasions and views the Chechen problem as Russia's internal affair." The Russian claims were rejected as slanderous and unfounded by the Georgian Foreign Ministry, also, according to Caucasus Press and "RFE/RL Newsline" on 7 January. Mkhedrioni Political Secretary Tornike Berishvili, furthermore, denied that any of his organization's members intend to fight on the side of the Chechens.

But the Russian military is not the only source suggesting there is an Iranian hand in the Chechen conflict. Lebanese officials learned, according to the 9 January "Sunday Telegraph," that many of Hizballah official Imad Mughniyah's operatives are going to Chechnya to fight and provide training, and Chechen commanders have visited Hizballah facilities in the Bekaa Valley. Also, Mughniyah, who was involved in many of the suicide bombings and kidnappings of the 1980s, was identified as the person responsible for a 3 January attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut, according to the "Sunday Telegraph."

The lone attacker was killed, but Lebanese security forces somehow learned that he was trained by Mughniyah. Mughniyah himself was to participate in the attack, but his paymasters in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards persuaded him to keep a low profile. The "Sunday Telegraph" goes on to say that Mughniyah is in contact with Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, and unnamed "Western intelligence experts" are concerned that these two will work together to aid the Chechens.

So far there is no reliable evidence of an Iranian hand in the Chechen conflict, although Iranian criticism of Russian conduct is still mild to non-existent. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi did say on 5 January, according to Iranian radio commentary the next day, that "the innocent Muslim people of Chechnya were the main victims of the bloody conflict. State radio expressed concern that even if the Russians succeed in capturing Grozny, the conflict will just become a guerrilla war. Iranian deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani visited Moscow from 11-15 January. Beforehand, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that it "accepts the balanced position of the Iranian leadership on the issue of Chechnya," Interfax reported on 10 January. And even after the General Victor Kazantsev said all Chechen males aged 10 to 60 would be taken to a "filtration camp," the Iranian position remained unchanged.

While Russia may be satisfied with the Iranian position on Chechnya, other observers, such as former Hizballah official and founder of the "Revolution of the Hungry," Sheikh Subih Tufaili, are not. According to "Al-Mustaqbal" on 8 January, Tufaili addressed the issue by sending a message to "the resistance fighters and their supporters, 'particularly our people in Chechnya, who are being killed and exterminated before the eyes and the ears of all the peoples in the world, and we do not hear any word or protest or objection, not even from the Arab and Islamic capitals.'" The UK's "Al-Muhajiroun" condemned the Iranian regime's list of "crimes perpetrated against divine law," including its failure to support Muslims in Chechnya. (Bill Samii)
Ah, yes, Hezbollah the other 'voice of Iran'. So that puts in Iran, Hezbollah, Lebanon and one outraged Sheikh who, if that last paragraph is read correctly is castigating Iran for not doing ENOUGH to supply them. Why, yes, I am so gladly soothed that Iran is a rational Nation....

From RFE/RL, 7 February 2000, Volume 3, Number 6, GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN AT ODDS WITH ISLAMIC COMMUNITY ON CHECHNYA. Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov told an 18 January press briefing at RFE/RL that despite Moscow's massive propaganda effort, Chechnya is gaining international understanding and support. But this claim is undercut by Tehran's relatively subdued reaction to the war. Russia's official RIA-Novosti agency said it all on 14 January: "It is very important for Moscow that Iran has again confirmed its pro-Russian position on Chechnya... and recognizes its right to punish terrorists and bandits."

Tehran's stance stands in sharp contrast to criticism of Russian conduct from other parts of the Islamic world. For that matter, Iranian media and religious officials have not been taken in by Russian propaganda, although RIA-Novosti claimed on 27 January that "Iran's leading news media approve of [Tehran's] stance on the Chechnya problem." Yet Tehran's financial and military interests are overriding its humanitarian--and, as head of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, religious responsibilities.

Some of the sharpest criticism came in an editorial in "Al-Sharq al-Awsat," an influential, Saudi-owned London daily whose editorials reflect official Saudi foreign policy views. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi is guilty of "stabbing the Chechen Republic in the back," the Arabic daily said on 27 January, referring to his statements that the conflict is an internal Russian affair. As for the OIC trip to Moscow to review the humanitarian situation, the daily said it was timid and Kharrazi should have stayed home.

Commentary from other sources in the Islamic community was gentler with Tehran, but they obviously saw through Russian propaganda. Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, told Baku's ANS TV on 8 January that despite Russian statements to the contrary, "from the very beginning up to now the Russian empire has been against the Muslim religion and Muslims."

The Cairo-based World Islamic Council for Call and Relief condemned what it called Russian troops' "use of Chechen civilians as human shields in Grozny," and it appealed to Muslim countries and major powers to help bring about a halt to the fighting. Egyptian Islamic scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi urged Arab and Muslim countries to expel their Russian ambassadors and to recall their ambassadors from Moscow, Qatar's Al-Jazeera television reported on 17 January. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa commented on Chechnya after he met with Kharrazi in Davos, Switzerland, IRNA reported on 28 January. In what can be interpreted as a criticism of Iranian leadership of the OIC, Musa said that "In the future meeting of the OIC foreign ministers, top priority should be given to the Chechnya crisis, and it is essential that the Islamic states should adopt united stances on this issue."

From Kabul, Afghan Voice of Sharia radio said, "The Muslim country of Chechnya...is subject to fierce attacks by the barbaric Russians...The Russians...cannot tolerate the independence of the Muslim people of Chechnya." Kabul officially recognized the government of Chechnya in mid-January, and Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Motawakkil urged the rest of the Islamic community to do the same in a 27 January interview with "Al-Sharq al-Awsat."

Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel Meguid told journalists that "an urgent political settlement to the Chechen crisis must be reached," AFP reported on 28 January. He called for a halt to the Russian invasion.

Some Iranian religious leaders, such as Ayatollah Abdul Vaez-Javadi-Amoli, are criticizing Russian conduct, too. Javadi-Amoli said during the 15 January Friday Prayers in Qom: "Finally, the Red Army should understand that it has failed. It should end the killing of innocent people, particularly Muslims in Chechnya, otherwise it will find itself in a worse situation." He continued: "[Russia] will be destroyed and disgraced if it continues with the killing of the innocent Muslims in Chechnya." After the Friday Prayers in Tehran, a demonstration was held in front of the Russian embassy and a protest letter was submitted to the ambassador, "Kayhan International" reported on 24 January. The letter said, "we savagely condemn the savage killings of defenseless people of Chechnya."

Although the Russian government has resorted to imprisoning journalists, such as RFE/RL's Andrei Babitsky, information about reality in Chechnya is still getting out and sections of the Iranian media are continuing their criticism of Russian conduct. On 15 January, the "Iran News" announced "credible reports of Russian atrocities." The conservative "Jomhuri-yi Islami" described the Russian Federation's acting president, Vladimir Putin, as the "butcher of Chechnya" on 6 January. "Kayhan International" reported on 22 January that Putin is prolonging the war because he fears a defeat will harm his March election bid. Even state television said on 19 July that the war was transforming from "a blitzkrieg to a war of attrition," and the Russians cannot differentiate between terrorists and ordinary people.

Tehran has stayed relatively silent on the issue from a unilateral perspective, although it is claiming otherwise. Kharrazi supposedly told visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, Iranian state radio reported on 27 January, that "Continuation of the war and bloodshed is a catastrophe unacceptable to the Islamic world and it would bring an unpleasant picture from Russia to the region and the Muslim world."

Moscow did not take this as a criticism, if Kharrazi actually said it. Karasin said, "The Iranian leadership is well aware of the entire complexity of this struggle, particularly after a link between the Chechen terrorists and Afghan Taliban has manifested itself," ITAR-TASS reported on 28 January. Moscow's "Kommersant" on 28 January did not interpret Kharrazi's statement as a criticism, either, and it suggested that Tehran is interested in opposing "militant Wahhabites and organized international terrorists," also.

Meanwhile, Iranian aid for Chechen refugees continues to flow, with the sixth planeload being delivered in the first week of February. Also, the Imam Khomeini Assistance Committee launched a charity appeal for aid donations for the refugees on 20 January. Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu recognized Iran as the top donor on 14 January. "Al-Sharq al-Awsat," however, said the Russian Federation is diverting the aid to people other than the Chechen refugees. (Bill Samii)
Of course you can't have a good Islamic brawl without lots of radicals getting involved! But here we do see that Russia sees the Taliban/al Qaeda influence and are telling Iran to either help or shut up, or else you WILL get a Wahhabi radicalized region here. This, of course, does not help matters at all, as we shall see.

From Voice of America 22 FEB 2000, US Senate on Iran purchasing Russian missile technology, GlobalSecurity.org:

Despite the elections that put reformers in control of Iran's parliament, Congress is far from ready to ease pressure on the Tehran government.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says the recent voting will have no immediate impact on what he calls an alarming potential threat from Iranian missiles.

/// LOTT ACT ///

Iran's leaders, now and in the future, would be in the possession of nuclear-tipped ICBMs, capable of reaching Washington or Los Angeles or New York. America's security and that of our friends and allies in the region would be unalterably affected by such a horrific development. Yet that day of reckoning is coming, and much sooner than we prefer, unless something is done.
/// END ACT ///

U-S intelligence agencies do not believe Iran has nuclear warheads. But officials have voiced concern about the country's nuclear and missile programs -- and the support they receive from other states.

The Senate bill would hit hardest at Russia, where companies, labs and other entities are believed to be funneling technology to Iran. The measure would stop certain payments to the Russian space agency for work on the space station unless the agency cooperates in halting the traffic. Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman says Moscow has so far done little.


We are serious about this, that the time for hit-and-miss, slower progress, bob-and-weave progress in shutting off Russian assistance to Iran for the development of these dangerous programs is over.
/// END ACT ///

Mr. Lieberman adds, the Clinton administration is not threatening a veto as it did when the House of Representatives approved a similar bill last September. If the Senate measure passes this week as expected, the two bills must be reconciled before a final version goes to the White House. (Signed)
22-Feb-2000 18:01 PM EDT (22-Feb-2000 2301 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
But then we knew all that already, didn't we? Russian missile technology sold to Iran and threatening local and international States via ballistic missiles. This bill passes the Senate to go to the House on 24 FEB 2000 and GlobalSecurity reports it to be 98-0. Congress passes a modified bill on 01 MAR 2000. Of course on 06 MAR 2000 Iran announces it has missile technology for sale.... thus President Clinton signs the act into law on 14 MAR 2000.

Then on 17 MAR 2000 the Administration via Madeiline Albright announces the easing of some domestic trade restrictions with Iran, on luxury goods! Ah, does anyone really miss the days of 'mixed messages' and 'Realpolitik'? Where Russia sells missile technology to Iran, then we give them castigation but then say: 'We don't like what you are doing, but would you please sell us some carpets and caviar?' Yes, those are two of the main goods mentioned by Madeiline Albright!

This report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 20 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 12, from GlobalSecurity.org:

TEHRAN'S OFFERS OF CHECHEN MEDIATION UNSATISFACTORY. The conflict in Chechnya, while overshadowed by other aspects of Iran's domestic and foreign affairs, continues to attract attention in Tehran. And Tehran's relatively muted stance on the conflict continues to receive some criticism at home and abroad (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 7 February 2000).

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told Qatar's Al-Jazeera television on 10 March that Tehran expected that guerrilla warfare would continue even after Grozny was recaptured by Russian armed forces. If Russia permits it, Iran, through the Organization of the Islamic Conference, is ready to broker a peace agreement. Kharrazi said that "The OIC is ready to continue its efforts and believes it is its duty to find a political solution to this crisis. If the Russians accept, we are ready to make moves toward that end."

Deputy Foreign Minister Sadeq Kharrazi told Russian Federation Council vice-speaker Vladimir Platonov that Iran is concerned about the fate of Chechen civilians, Interfax reported on 17 February. He urged Moscow to take note of international opinion and not to overlook Iran's potential as a mediator.

Moscow recognizes Iran's importance in Islamic public opinion, but it is not interested in its offers to mediate. Russian Minister for the Federation and Nationality Affairs Alexander Blokhin went to Tehran in the third week of March to meet with Foreign Minister Kharrazi, Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari. In a 14 March interview with RIA state news agency, Blokhin said Iran's understanding of the Caucasus situation is "essential." Iran's offer to mediate the conflict, however, never came up. Blokhin said "Iran's mediation was not under review since it is Tehran's firm position that the events in Chechnya is Russia's internal affair."

Yet Tehran's approach is not satisfactory for other foreign observers. Usamah al-Baz, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's political adviser, "emphasized that the method of deploring and condemning aggression was not the ideal treatment of the tragedy of the Chechen people," Cairo's "al-Ahram" reported on 7 March. "Therefore," al-Baz said, "Egypt is conducting a serious dialogue with Russia."

The Lahore High Court Bar Association urged Pakistan's government to recognize Chechnya as an independent state, Islamabad's "Pakistan" daily reported on 18 February. The daily added that "It is not justifiable for the Islamic countries to turn their back on the Chechen nation in the name of their international expediencies. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates should launch a combined campaign to convince other Muslim countries to recognize Chechnya's independence."

Representatives of seven Muslim organizations in Azerbaijan issued a statement on 13 March calling on progressive forces in Russia and the international community to protest the genocide of the Chechen people, Turan news agency reported. And Allahshukur Pashazade, head of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, complained to "Bakinskiy Rabochiy" that the Russian government and media are equating Islam and the Chechen nation to terrorism.

Some observers in Iran are also voicing dissatisfaction. "Kayhan International" an English-language daily connected with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office rejected Moscow's pretext for the conflict the bombings of several Moscow apartment blocks last summer. The daily said on 20 February that "the United Nations and other world bodies, including the Organization of the Islamic Conference, are being questioned over their seemingly [sic] indifference on the human catastrophe in Chechnya." "Moscow has to end the war. It should realize the truth that the world, particularly the Muslim world, cannot afford to remain indifferent to the atrocities of Russian troops against the defenseless and innocent civilians in Chechnya."

Meanwhile, suspicions that some Iranians are trying to join the Chechen combatants persist. An Iranian national (whose name does not sound very Iranian), Badr Nejad Mahmud Safar-ogli, was detained at the Yarag-Kazmalyar checkpoint for trying to leave Russia with false documents, and "his possible affiliation to Chechen rebels is now being checked up," ITAR-TASS reported on 12 March. And Tehran continues to provide humanitarian assistance for Chechens displaced by the conflict. Trucks carrying Iranian aid arrived in Tbilisi on 8 March, ITAR-TASS reported. (Bill Samii)
Interesting, is it not? Pressure to 'do something' and just stop sitting quietly by.

Now, do you remember that 'olive branch' to get luxury items from Iran? How do you think they responed? Well, here is the RFE/RL report of the reaction on 27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org:

HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH. Foreign observers and the Western media have commented extensively about the implications of U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright's 17 March speech on Iran, but official commentary from Tehran was fairly restrained initially. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response to the speech on 25 March, however, was openly hostile and seemed to dash hopes for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. in the near future. President Mohammad Khatami has remained silent on the subject thus far.

Albright's speech is seen by many in the West as an important step in the restoration of relations between Iran and the U.S. She announced that the U.S. will permit the import of some Iranian goods, facilitate contacts between Americans and Iranians, and increase efforts to settle outstanding legal claims. Albright also acknowledged the impact of the U.S. role in the 1953 ouster of Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq, and she admitted that the U.S. supported Iraq in its war with Iran.

Khamenei responded to Albright during a speech in Mashhad. He said that "The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be their enemy because America's past behavior is full of acts of hostility and treason." Khamenei added that "The U.S. proposal is deceiving and aimed at continuing enmity with Iran." As for Albright's statements about events in 1953 and 1980-1988, they "came too late and can in no way compensate the damages caused to the Iranian nation."

Khamenei's speech seems to put the stamp of finality on the issue
, but there were some positive responses from Tehran beforehand. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said America can export grains and medicine to Iran (which it has been doing anyway), IRNA reported. And Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said the speech was "a new chapter" in the two country's relations, and he predicted major developments in the coming year, IRNA reported.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, of the parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, also welcomed aspects of the speech, but then he complained that "America's acts...are all negative...there has been no change in its policies." Larijani also criticized Albright's statement that Iran's last three elections (October 1998 Assembly of Experts election, February 1999 council elections, and February 2000 parliamentary elections) were increasingly democratic, because it implied that all the other elections were undemocratic. Larijani also complained about Albright's reference to the "Gulf," rather than the "Persian Gulf."

Supreme National Security Council secretary and deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani told state radio on 18 March that, "On the whole, [Albright] has repeated the same old belligerent policies." Her comments about domestic Iranian politics, he said, constituted "improper interventions in Iran's internal affairs and system." Even the removal of some trade sanctions, Rohani said, is "not at all a positive [step]; it is a negative step, which smacks of another act of intervention by America in the internal affairs of Iran."

State radio said on 19 March that "Albright's speech shows that the U.S.A. is still pursuing its expansionist policies." And the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said that Albright's comments "are indicative of an intensifying conspiracy by the White House to create a series of crises in Iran," according to state television.

Some of Iran's neighbors, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Armenia, welcomed the potential regional stability that improved U.S.-Iran relations could bring. Cairo's state-owned "al-Jumhuriyah," however, was less sanguine, warning on 19 March that "the Iranian desire to dominate the region has not withered yet." The Egyptian daily also wondered if Iran's attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process would change. Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office also questioned the wisdom of U.S. actions, telling the 20 March "Jerusalem Post" that "giving the Iranians the carrot does not work, and therefore by trying to encourage Iran with nice words and actions, the U.S. is making a grave mistake." An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the other hand, said U.S. actions are a good thing, but "there are many here who do not understand it and are frightened that when dialogue starts, issues we are concerned about will be left aside." (Bill Samii)
Now, that is what happens when 'Realpolitik' or 'pragmatic diplomacy' is used on Iran. She even glosses over the 'Arms for Hostages' scandal, because the Ollie North triangular trade of US TOW missiles went to IRAN during the Iran/Iraq war. Actually, the amount we gave Iraq was minuscule compared to Russia, France and China.

Be that as it may, these guys don't even accept an apology when it was offered to them! So 'Realpolitik' of them, no? And then to characterize a woman who was apparently lacking a spine of any sort in foreign affairs as 'belligerent'... well, that is very 'pragmatic' of them, diplomatically. And then, to top it all off, one of the leakiest Nations on the planet with its secrets is 'conspiring against Iran'? Really? Can I find those competent foreign policy folks, because they really do need to get into office! Anyone who can run a conspiracy in the US Government for more than a couple of years deserves to be voted into High Office! That is pure and unmitigated talent beyond compare.

Luckily Egypt knows it is in the cross-hairs of Iran and Israel will NOT let the US negotiate it away. Although with Ms. Albright around, anything could have happened.

Now about nuclear material, Iran gets a bit upset that Georgia had seized illegal uranium that Iran was trying to get out of the country. This report on RFE/RL 1 May 2000, Volume 3, Number 17, from GlobalSecurity.org:


Tehran's embassy in Georgia denied that 920 grams of illegal uranium seized in Ajaria last week were destined for Iran, Tbilisi's Prime-News reported on 27 April. Four people were detained in connection with smuggling uranium-238, which had been enriched with uranium-235 isotopes. U-235 is used for weapons and for power production. Four people were arrested in Ajaria last year for trying to smuggle uranium, amidst suspicions that Iran was the final buyer (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 1 November 1999).

Two days earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi complained that "One cannot but express dismay over the systematic denial of transfer of technology to developing non-nuclear weapon states ... and restrictive export control policies exercised by the nuclear suppliers," Reuters reported. He added that "The main objective of these regimes, disguised under the pretext of non-proliferation, is to secure the dominance and exclusive possession of nuclear technology by developed countries." Kharrazi went on to criticize the "unilateralist approach of certain states, with a less than desirable record on non-proliferation, who have arrogated to themselves the right to determine compliance by others and to take interventionist and extra-territorial measures to prevent access to peaceful nuclear technology" by NPT signatories.

Iran ratified the NPT in 1970. But some observers believe that Iran is trying to develop facilities that could be used in developing fissile materials. Furthermore, Tehran's many civilian and military cut-outs are used in the acquisition process. (Bill Samii)
Yes, Iran is complaining about the treaty it signed and is 'sticking to', but in name only. They are, apparently, trying any means to get enriched uranium to Iran and do not like being denied that openly or when they try to get it covertly. And we had still not learned about the AQ Khan network. Sobering, isn't it? And then to add insult to injury, in the same report we get this:


U.S. State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin on 25 April announced the lifting of economic sanctions against two Russian organizations that are suspected of helping Iran's missile development program. Rubin said that INOR Scientific Center and the Polyus Scientific Production Association had terminated their contacts with Iran, according to ITAR-TASS.

One day earlier, Rubin had said that the State Department will impose sanctions against Yuriy Savalyev, rector of St. Petersburgís Baltic State Technology University (BGTU). Savalyev will be sanctioned for contributing to Iran's missile development program, on the basis of a Russian Education Ministry investigation. Rubin said administrative action has been taken against Savalyev, specialized courses for the Iranians were cancelled, and training of Iranians at BGTU was cancelled.

The Iranian students' expulsion, Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov explained, does not mean that "foreign students will not study subjects connected to military technology in Russia". He added that a new plan for training foreign specialists was being developed, but Iranian rocket specialists were under a ban. The Iranian embassy in Moscow sent an official note to the BGTU expressing " its bewilderment caused by the cancellation of the program of training of specialists which our country badly needs," Moscow's NTV International reported on 25 April.

Russian Education Minister Vladimir Filippov provided some clarification on the nature of the "sanctions" against Savalyev in a 21 April interview with Moscow's official RIA information agency. Filippov said Savalyev "was given a severe reprimand and a warning," and his dismissal was considered. Furthermore, Savalyev will be ineligible for U.S. financial assistance, and U.S. funds will not be used to procure his research results, "Izvestiya" reported on 26 April.

Russia's Foreign Ministry questioned the U.S. sanctioning of Savalyev, "RFE/RL Newsline" reported on 27 April 2000. According to the ministry, the U.S. sanctions "go against the main principles of international law" and constitute "an obvious attempt to call into question the efficacy of measures already taken by Russian authorities against the rector." The sanctions against Savalyev show that "he has effectively been made a personal enemy of the United States, like the terrorist, Usamah Bin-Laden," Moscow's daily "Kommersant" claimed on 26 April. (Bill Samii)
Russia may be sending a message of sorts here... but do note that the guy getting the sanctions has ties to al Qaeda AND Iran. What a lovely state of affairs in Russia, no?

From an Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty report on 21 August 2000, Volume 3, Number 32, at GlobalSecurity.org:

IRANIAN ASSISTANCE FOR CHECHEN REFUGEES. Two truckloads of humanitarian assistance for Chechen refugees, consisting of oil, flour, rice, cereals, soap, clothing, and footwear, will be sent to North Ossetia by Iran's Red Crescent Society on 14 August, IRNA reported a day earlier. The same day, Parviz Atagi, an Iranian citizen, was detained by Russian border guards as he tried to leave Chechnya, Itar-Tass reported. Atagi is suspected of involvement with Chechen military activities in the zone controlled by the Derbent detachment of the North Caucasian regional agency of the Russian Federal Border Service. (Bill Samii)
Yes, Iran working with the Chechens for more than 'humanitarian aid'. And another Iranian at the border stopped due to suspicious activities with the Chechen conflict.

Iran/Hezbollah - various locations

South America: From RFE/RL 10 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 2, GlobalSecurity.org:

COMPETITION AMONG SOUTH AMERICAN HIZBALLAH. Two Hizballah organization's are jockeying for dominance in the tri-border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, Asuncion's "ABC Color" reported on 5 January. Leader of the Ciudad del Este Islamic Education Center and the local Shia mosque, Said Mohammad Fahs represents the wing with a "conciliatory attitude with Western society." The opposing "radical wing" of Hizballah is led by Bilal Mohsen Wehbi, who is supposedly "pro-Iranian." Fahs survived an assassination attempt by his opponents, so they tried to discredit him through blackmail. He told "ABC Color:" "First they wanted to kill me. ...now they are accusing me of being a child abuser and a homosexual. ...the Paraguayan Police must clarify this incident." Regional police cracked down on local Hizballah organizations on 22 December out of concern that they may be planning terrorist operations, and on the same day Iran announced its withdrawal from a Colombian slaughterhouse project (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). (Bill Samii)
Such lovely people to have on the trail to the US border now, isn't it? And the Columbian work is just sheer coincidence, right?

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 17 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 3, GlobalSecurity.org:

ANGER OVER COLOMBIAN PROJECT. Reacting to a report that Colombia had banned Iranian participation in a slaughterhouse project due to U.S. pressure, "Tehran Times" -- a daily affiliated with the Islamic Propagation Office -- said on 10 January that "The U.S. move once more proves that Washington follows a policy of double-standard. Washington says something for international consumption but acts differently in reality."

The Iranian daily was reacting to a 6 January ABC News report that said U.S. congressional and military officials had persuaded the Colombians to back away from building a meat-packing plant and slaughterhouse in Colombia's Demilitarized Zone with Iranian participation. The location of the facility caused concern, because it is in a part of Colombia controlled by the anti-U.S. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the U.S. military is providing counterinsurgency training to the Colombian military.

According to ABC News, the U.S. government also was concerned that the facility would be used for terrorist-training. U.S. concerns are not baseless. Similar facilities were used by Iran in Bosnia and Romania as cover for intelligence operations. There also was concern that the FARC or Iranians operating with it might link up with Hizballah organizations operating in Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). (Bill Samii)
All of this for a mere slaughterhouse, mind you. That would serve as a cover for training Hezbollah with FARC. This is no surprise, as the capabilities of Hezbollah in Lebanon this past year demonstrated advanced training, but of a limited sort.

From RFE/RL 21 February 2000, Volume 3, Number 8, GlobalSecurity.org:

WHY COLOMBIAN BEEF? Iran imported about 200,000 tons of beef annually, IRNA reported on 10 February, but it will no longer need to do so. The Construction Jihad Ministry's Deputy Minister for Livestock Affairs, Ahmad Kabiri, said Iran "has attained self-sufficiency in production of major animal products." Kabiri added that Iran can now export its surplus cattle. Which makes one ask why Iran was so keen to build a slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant in Colombia (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December 1999). A Colombian official had said the project was intended to sell 20,000 tons of meat per year to Iran, Santa Fe de Bogota's "Semana" reported last November. (Bill Samii)
Iran will be EXPORTING beef? So, uh, why the slaughterhouse in Columbia? I mean, this isn't like Japanese beer fed beef, is it?

Turkey: From RFE/RL 31 January 2000, Volume 3, Number 5, GlobalSecurity.org:

TURKS ACCUSE IRAN OF TIES TO TURKISH HIZBULLAH. Ankara's recent crackdown on Turkey's Hizbullah, marked by a gun battle in Istanbul, the exhumation of Hizbullah's victims, and mass arrests of suspected Hizbullah members, has led to accusations and counteraccusations on the origins of the organization. One school of thought blames the Turkish military for supporting Hizbullah in its early days, while another blames Iran for Hizbullah's activities.

Developing from student groups founded by ethnic Kurds in the 1970s, and motivated by the example of Iran's Islamic revolution, Hizbullah emerged in the 1980s as a promoter of a Sharia state. This contrasted with the other militant Kurdish organization, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which promoted Marxism and atheism. The Turkish military, which was then waging a campaign against the PKK, encouraged Hizbullah actions against the PKK, according to some Western and Turkish sources. Mohammad Noureddin, an Arab expert on Turkish affairs, writes in the 25 January "Al-Mustaqbal" that Hizbullah activities were coordinated by Turkish intelligence officer Mahmut Yildrim (a.k.a. Yeshil), and a journalist who documented training of Hizbullah personnel at a Turkish Special Forces base in Diyarbakir was murdered.

Members of the Islamist Virtue Party also claim there is a government-Hizbullah linkage, and they are demanding an official investigation, "Hurriyet" reported on 24 January. Also, Eyup Karageci, deputy leader of the Hadep (People's Democracy Party), requested establishment of an investigative commission, the Germany-based Kurdish newspaper "Ozgur Politika" reported on 24 January.

But there also are reports that Hizbullah actually cooperates with the PKK against the Turkish state. Furthermore, some sources in Turkey have accused Iran of supporting Hizbullah (see, for example, "RFE/RL Iran Report," 26 July 1999). When asked about Iran-Hizbullah links at a 20 January press conference, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel said: "Unless there is solid evidence of a link, we shouldn't allow such statements to hurt our relations with Iran." He continued, Ankara's semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on 20 January: "Right now we have no solid evidence to ask for an explanation from Iran."

Evidence might be the statement of Edip Gurmus, a Hizbullah militant who was captured recently. He said Hizbullah has never been short of funds, and arms from Russia were shipped to Hizbullah at its camps in Iran. Gurmus added that he trained near Qom, Istanbul's "Milliyet" reported on 21 January. Gurmus said he met officials from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and they provided Hizbullah with funds, forged passports, and identity cards. Diyarbakir's state of emergency regional governor, Gokhan Aydiner, also said Hizbullah personnel are trained in Iran, Anatolia reported on 20 January. He went on to say that "some members of the Hizbullah organization have been engaged in espionage on behalf of Iran."

And if the reports of recent Hizbullah-PKK cooperation are true, then the 26 January capture of six PKK members adds to the accusations of an Iranian link. The Adana Governor's Office said the PKK terrorists had come to Adana after receiving training in Iran, according to Anatolia. During their interrogation they said they planned to bomb tourist areas but then changed their minds.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, who was visiting Turkey during the crackdown on Hizbullah, rejected accusations of Iranian support for the organization. "Hurriyet" columnist Oktay Eksi suggested on 20 January that Kharrazi visit the MOIS headquarters when he gets to Tehran, "and if he finds a truthful official he would definitely learn the truth."

Writing in "Al-Mustaqbal," Mohammad Noureddin suggested the real problem is the Turkish state's fear of political Islam and its possible intention of eliminating the Islamist Virtue Party in order to facilitate entry in Europe. This was partially corroborated by Ecevit's 27 January statement: "The Hizbullah incident has shown what ugly and painful developments using religion as a tool of politics and the abuse of faith can lead to." (Bill Samii)
'Islamist Virtue Party'? Pray tell, what are those virtues? Be that as it may we have one of those nefarious organizations started by one group of idealists, compromised by the State for its own ends, then compromised by radicalists and foreign Governments to do their dirty work. That is how you get Kurds against Turks with Russian and Iranian help! Lovely, isn't it?

Then a bit later on RFE/RL on 15 May 2000, Volume 3, Number 19, from GobalSecurity.org, we get this bit of news on Turkey and Iran:
MORE COMPLICATIONS IN RELATIONS WITH TURKEY. As Turkey's new president, Necdet Sezer, planned to visit Iran, the Turkish media published reports linking Tehran with the assassination of journalist Ugur Mumcu. Statements from Ankara and developments in Iran, however, indicate that Turkey is unwilling to let a murder seven years ago thwart its desire to head the Organization of the Islamic Conference or ruin relations with its eastern neighbor.

The case of the Mumcu assassination resurfaced on 6 May, when nine terrorists were arrested in Turkey, Ankara State Security Court Prosecutor Hamza Keles told Anatolia news agency on 8 May. They allegedly belonged to the illegal Salam organization. The suspects in the Mumcu murder, Tel Aviv's "Maariv" reported on 9 May, are also responsible for killing a security officer at Israel's embassy in Turkey and U.S. officer John Maverick.

Turkish officials would not discuss the case in any detail because the investigation was continuing. Justice Minister Hikmet Sami refused to predict what action Turkey would take if an Iranian connection was proven, because "bilateral relations are an extremely sensitive issue," but "committing such murder can, in no way, be tolerated." Unnamed sources said that Ankara was practicing restraint in light of the factional struggle occurring in Tehran. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan also refused to answer questions about the case during a 9 May press conference. On 10 May, Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli said that there is no evidence to support allegations of Iranian involvement.

The Turkish media, however, did not feel constrained. The semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on 9 May that 107 people were arrested in nine provinces in an operation against the illegal Tevhid (Unification) organization, and a file is being prepared about the Iranians involved in the Mumcu case. Anatolia went on to say that Ankara will ask Tehran to extradite them. Istanbul's "Hurriyet" daily gave a detailed report on the case on 11 May, in which it reported that the car bomb which killed Mumcu was planted by experts from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security. It went on to say that the nine men arrested for the Mumcu murder had been to Iran 40-50 times since 1980, and they identified the camps in which they were trained. Turkish Foreign Ministry official Farak Logoglu received Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Hussein Lavasani and demanded an explanation, and he also complained about Iranian support for the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), "Hurriyet" reported. (Lavasani later denied that the Mumcu case was discussed, Anatolia reported.)

Sources in both Iran and in Turkey have denounced the allegations about Tehran's involvement as an attempt to ruin the two countries' relations. "Alien affiliated circles in Turkey plan to damage the developing relations between Tehran and Ankara," Iranian state radio said on 9 May. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on 11 May that "It is obvious that the ups and downs in Iran-Turkey relations are created by those [countries] which oppose the two countries' ties." Khorasan parliamentarian Mohammad Azimi said that "espionage organizations and international Zionism" were trying to ruin the relationship, the 11 May "Tehran Times" reported.

Turkish Labor Party leader Dogu Perincek said that a "four-person Super NATO team" murdered Mumcu, Anatolia reported on 8 May. Columnist Cengiz Candar wrote in the 9 May "Sabah" daily that reports about the Mumcu case seem to surface often, especially before Turkish officials visit Iran. Virtue Party leader Recai Kutan said "One should also not opt for immediately accusing a neighboring country," Anatolia reported. And former Turkish intelligence officer Mahir Kaynak told Istanbul's Kanal 7 on 11 May that he suspected the story was planted by Israel.

If the allegations of Iranian involvement in the Mumcu murder were meant to ruin Iran and Turkey's relationship, they have not been very successful. Turkish Foreign Ministry special envoy Yasar Yakis called on Kharrazi on 11 May and requested Iranian support for Turkey's nomination as Secretary-General of the OIC, IRNA reported. A customs memorandum between the two countries was signed on 13 May. Also, Turkey's Trebizon Province and Iran's Zanjan Province signed an economic protocol on 9 May. (Bill Samii)
Are we seeing something of a trend here, by any chance? Virtue Party covering for murder done by trained agents of Iran. And funding for insurgents both Kurdish and religious in Turkey. Not a good sign if you are Turkey.

Lebanon: Iran trains Hezbollah and is joyous after Israel announces full withdrawal from Lebanon. From RFE/RL on 29 May 2000 , Volume 3 , Number 21, GlobalSecurity.org :
IRAN WELCOMES ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL... As the Israeli Army withdraws from southern Lebanon after almost 20 years of occupation, followed closely by members of the South Lebanon Army, Hizballah is taking control of the area, setting up roadblocks, searching for Israeli collaborators, and seizing discarded weapons and munitions. The pullout has been marked by scenes of jubilation among the Lebanese people, and officials in Tehran are just as happy.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a 25 May message that "this victory revealed that the solution to the bullying and atrocities of the usurper Zionists is only in the logic of resistance, Jihad and devotion." Khamenei said the pullout shows how one must deal with Israel: "The victory of the Islamic Resistance and the honorable Hizballah organization in Lebanon and the success they brought to their nation teaches everyone that straight path towards freedom and independence requires but brave and justice seeking behavior of the youth based on faith and awareness."

President Mohammad Khatami said in a telephone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, Emile Lahud, that the pullout is "a sign of the greatness and ceaseless efforts of the resistance, government, and nation of Lebanon. We hope to be a witness to the liberation of the remaining [occupied] territories." Lahud responded, according to IRNA, that "The victory of the withdrawal was realized in light of the unity of the entire people, government, resistance forces, the national army, and unsparing support of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria."

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi relayed his congratulations to Lebanese Premier Selim al-Hoss. Al-Hoss responded, according to IRNA: "We too offer felicitations to the Iranian nation and government on the liberation, because the Iranian leadership and people supported Lebanon and played a key role in the victory."

Kharrazi visited Lebanon on 25 May, and while speaking at a mosque in Bin Jbail, he made rather pro-Shia comments. Specifically, he lauded Hizballah's leadership, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri (a Shia), and paid tribute to Imam Musa Sadr (the Iranian-born founder of Amal, who gave the Lebanese Shia a sense of community in the 1960s and 1970s), IRNA reported. In the town of Ayn Ibl, however, Kharrazi gave a more rounded speech, according to Beirut radio, "I am extremely delighted with Lebanon's victory, which was achieved through the efforts of all its sects, Muslims and Christians. The pullout came under the intensity of the blows dealt by the brave Resistance. The Israeli occupation oppressed the entire population, Muslims and Christians."

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, which has provided training and arms to Hizballah, and the Martyrs' Foundation, which has sponsored its Lebanese counterpart in providing social services, also relayed their congratulations. The IRGC statement, according to IRNA, said that "following two decades of violation against South Lebanon by the Zionist regime of Israel under the support of the global arrogance and at their head the United States, the Zionists were forced to leave ignominiously the South Lebanon due to the unflinching resistance by the Islamic movement."

Iran's ambassador in Beirut, Mohammad Ali Sobhani, also expressed pleasure with the pullout, and he visited southern Lebanon to congratulate the locals directly. He told Iranian state radio that this a great military victory for Hizballah and it shows the value of "resistance based on Islam."

HAMAS, the Iranian-supported Islamic Resistance Movement, congratulated Lebanon, its people, and the resistance, "led by the valiant heroes and mujahidin of Hizballah," too. "We likewise congratulate Syria and Iran and any other quarters that have stood by the reistance."

The Iranian people celebrated by chanting "God is great" from their rooftops on 24 May, according to IRNA. (Bill Samii)
What part of Iran training foreign troops is not understood here? Support Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Lahud.

IRAN/Other Problems
One of the great things was that the AQ Khan network was NOT unraveling at this point, so no one knew exactly what was going on, which is why this RFE/RL report on so troubling (27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org):

ARMS PROCUREMENT MEETS SETBACKS. Aspects of Iran's weapons procurement program have had some legal problems recently. Japanese police accused Iran's former ambassador to Japan, Hussein Kazempur-Ardabili (currently a high-ranking adviser in the Foreign and Petroleum Ministries), and another Iranian diplomat of illegal weapons exports to Japan, Kyodo news service reported on 24 March. The Iranians are suspected of transferring 6.1 million yen (about $57,000) to the account of a Japanese trading firm called Sun Beam, which is suspected of shipping parts for anti-tank rocket launcher sights to Iran without proper export permits. The Japanese police said that the Iranian embassy has refused to cooperate with their investigation, citing diplomatic immunity.

Two Sun Beam officials pleaded guilty to shipping rocket launcher parts illegally, Kyodo news service and Tokyo's "Sankei Shimbun" reported on 14 March. The parts were shipped to an Iranian state enterprise called Iran Electronics Industries in 1995. One of the plaintiffs, Ichiro Takahashi, frequently traveled to Iran for direct negotiations. In 1996, Takahashi looked into shipping Chinese C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles to Iran at the request of Iranian businessman Massoud Momtahan. An arrest warrant is outstanding for Momtahan, Kyodo reported on 7 March.

The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office has launched an investigation of Eisen and Metallgrosshandel Fink GmbH in Boeblingen, Germany, according to the 13 March newsmagazine "Focus." The German firm allegedly bought more than 50 Lynx reconnaissance tanks from the Canadian army in 1993 and shipped them to Holland, from where they went to Iran. Another 40 tanks were shipped to Iran via Singapore. Company owner Gerhard Fink said that "I only found out later that the tanks were exported to Iran."

Eight officials from Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics are under a federal indictment in the U.S. for trying to obtain and smuggle out military secrets
, AP reported on 11 March. The Iranian officials live in Tehran and operate through the Engineering Consortium of Iran. One of those under indictment, Houshang Amir Bagheri, will appear on the U.S. Customs Service's "Ten Most Wanted" list. Bagheri worked in the Iranian embassy in Washington during the 1970s.

But not all Iranian procurement--both official and unofficial--efforts have ended so unsuccessfully. Russian Security Council secretary Sergei Ivanov promised that Moscow will fulfill all arms delivery contracts that were signed before 1995, Interfax reported on 14 March. Ivanov said the two largest agreements were signed in 1992 and 1993, and Russia is about to sign another contract for a Tu-334 aircraft plant and aircraft shipments. Ivanov added that "we have come to a full understanding with the Americans that we will make no new arms deals with Iran at the present time, but we will continue to fulfill the contracts concluded before the signing of the appropriate Gore-Chernomyrdin document in 1995."

A Spanish official brought 200 machine guns and 300 handguns, all of which are equipped with silencers, to Tehran, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 16 March. The daily said the weapons were put at the disposal of "an individual suspected of leading [hardline] pressure groups." Such groups have been linked with leading figures in the regime.

Finally, the case against Eli Kohen, an Israeli suspected of selling military equipment to Iran, has been closed, Tel Aviv's "Maariv" reported on 10 February. Kohen had sold armored personnel carriers, engines, and spare parts to a Dutch firm, which sold them to Iran. But according to a 1993 Canadian Army document, all the equipment was demilitarized. (Bill Samii)
Remember that Japan has a full commitment NOT to sell devices to proliferate nuclear weapons or missiles and is generally trying to act as an upstanding World Citizen. Not that Iran cares about *that*. But get a load of trans-shipping Chinese cruise missiles to Iran! That must have been some bit of negotiations to try and work out. Also note the 'flexible response foreign policy' of Russia and the non-reaction of the US to it. With Allies like these, who needs enemies?

[Taking a break, more when I have energy if needs be]

Some trends of note:

1) Open funding and training for Hezbollah. This is not a secret.

2) Open funding for Hamas.

3) Using civilian cover to expand terrorist/foreign legion capability, especially in South America.

4) Gaining influence with militant factions in Turkey to cause problems and undermine the government, while having a puppet party there to gloss over the involvment of Iran.

5) Russia getting involved with both al Qaeda and Iran and supplying both with knowledge and training. Further is the uneasy relationship via Chechenya, where Russia is starting to see that Iran works to fund insurgents to gain control of them.

6) Long-term Iranian nuclear goals and the general uneasy feeling that Iran has gotten its hands on nuclear technology and is seeking to advance it beyond any sort of civilian use.

7) Lont-term partnership with Syria in keeping Hezbollah going.

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