Archive for the ‘ Iran ’ Category

Iran Presses Ahead with Nuclear Enrichment Despite Warning from the US and Others

By Manzer Munir

Tehran, Iran- France, Russia and the United States on Tuesday voiced their displeasure with Iran’s escalation of its uranium enrichment and saw this as a great a concern for its neighbors and other countries around the globe. The three countries, nuclear club members themselves, sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressing worry about Iran’s actions and demonstrating renewed pressure on the regime of President Ahmadinejad.

This alarm by the US and other countries comes after February 7 when Iran announced it intended to start producing 20 percent enriched uranium for a medical research reactor, defying ultimatums by members of the UN security council that it faces strict UN sanctions unless it halts its nuclear weapons ambitions. The concern is that Iran is enriching uranium not for a medical research reactor but rather for making atomic weapons since enriched uranium in high purity form can be used in the fissile core of a nuclear bomb. “If Iran goes forward with this escalation, it would raise concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions,” said the joint letter, which was obtained by AFP. “Iran’s enrichment of its LEU (low-enriched uranium) stockpile to higher levels is not only unnecessary, but would serve to further undermine the confidence of the international community in Iran’s actions,” it said.

The US and other powers are trying to convince Iran to accept an IAEA backed deal where Iran is supplied with nuclear fuel for the research reactor in exchange for its low enriched uranium. This is a deal that is not acceptable to the regime in Iran. Iran’s announcement that it would enrich on its own and its “subsequent formal notification to the IAEA are wholly unjustified,” the three countries wrote in the letter to IAEA chief Yukiya Amano. The moves “represent a further step toward a capability to produce highly enriched uranium.” The countries “recognize the need in Iran for medical radioisotopes,” the letter continued. “If Iran does not wish to accept the IAEA offer, we note that these are available on the world market and could be obtained as a responsible, timely and cost effective alternative to the IAEA’s proposal.

The pressure on Iran to not acquire nuclear weapons in the troubled neighborhood of the Middle East is justified. The area has long been very unstable and Iran and Israel have already for several years been fighting a proxy war with each other through Hezbollah in Lebanon and allegedly through arming Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza. But one must also realize that as long as Israel maintains nuclear weapons and there remains no peace in the Middle East, its enemies in the region, namely Syria, Iran, and until recently Iraq would stop at nothing to acquire nuclear weapons technology also. Therefore, the core of this issue as with many other problems involving regional security and even global terrorism have their roots in the situation in the Middle East between Israel, Palestine and its neighbors.

Al-Qaeda itself gives Israel and the United States backing of it as a reason to attack America and its interests. So as long as there is not a resolution to the problem of the Palestinian state, there will be friction and a charged atmosphere in the region. Believe me, it has not calmed down much in the last 62 years. One can continue to expect countries like Iran, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others to continue to desire nuclear weapons in order to feel less threatened by Israel’s arsenal and military supremacy. The real solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and other regional security threats to Israel and American interests in the region is the need to get back to the table and return to the difficult task of making peace between the Israelis and its neighbors. Only a lasting and durable peace between the Israelis and the Arabs will encourage nuclear disarmament and make the neighborhood safe from a looming nuclear mushroom cloud.


Iranian Protests for Democracy is a Cry for Freedom Across the Muslim World

Tehran, Iran- Demonstrations in Iran continue a little over a week after the mass protests the occurred throughout Iran on the Shiite festival of Ashura as protestors defy the government’s crackdown on dissent. It appears that for the first time since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the regime of Iran is appearing weakened. Despite the brutal violence used by government soldiers and militiamen, the Iranian people are brazenly standing up and are demanding the end of the supreme rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and establishment of a democratic nation where freedom and rights of the Iranian people are respected.

For far too long the current regime has used violence and intimidation to quell revolt. However since the disputed election of last year, the majority of Iranian citizens want an end to theocratic rule. The government must sense the tide turning against them as the popular revolt is gathering steam and gaining strength. Overseas, the Iranian communities around the world are standing in support with their brothers and sisters in Iran and demanding an end to suppression and tyranny also and asking governments around the world for support of this movement by instituting embargos and sanctions on the Iranian government.

The situation is bleak in many Muslim countries around the world when it comes to prudent and competent government. If one takes a look at the Arabian Gulf region we have kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Bahrain, UAE, etc. There is not a great deal of individual and civil liberties as they are normally afforded in the western world. Freedom of speech, religion and right to protest is simply outlawed in most of these countries. If one takes a look at countries like Egypt, Libya, Syria, and until recently Iraq, are all countries where there are dictatorships akin to monarchies where power is held for generations as is the case with Muammar Al-Gaddafi or it is passed on to a family member as was the case with Bashar Al-Assad of Syria. Pakistan too is a country that of its 62 years of modern history, over half have been ruled by dictatorships robbing the people of a robust democratic system as is one that flourishes in neighboring India.

Far too often, in many Muslim countries around the world, governments and individuals in power are robbing the coffers of their national treasuries for their own greed and simultaneously either brutally cracking down on human rights and dissent or neglecting their responsibilities all together and therefore not providing basic services, infrastructure, and security.

It is not as if democracy is in theory in any ways in conflict with Islam, rather, Islam’s set of norms and ideals that emphasize the equality of people, the accountability of leaders to community, and the respect of diversity and other faiths, is fully compatible with democracy. Yet time after time, Muslim countries are finding themselves under repressive, corrupt and  inept leadership that has no problem using  vote rigging, violence, brutality and intimidation to remain in power.

The Iranian uprising and protests currently underway in Iran should inspire Muslims in other countries to demand better governance, more accountability, and freedoms from their leaders. A country that does not have the participation of all it citizens in all fields of endeavor is not going to advance aggressively as it should. Many citizens of Iran and Iranians around the world are hoping that the repressive regime in Tehran is overthrown by the brave protesters there. One would hope that eventually this starts a chain reaction throughout the Muslim world where repressive, authoritarian and harmful governments are holding back the progress of nations. Thomas Jefferson said it best  when he stated that “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences.”

Reported by Manzer Munir for

Iran paying for freedom with Blood

Iran Protest Tehran, Iran- Iranians are protesting the results of the recent election they believe was unfairly rigged for the incumbent candidate in President Ahmadinejad and paying for it in blood. At least 17 people have died at the hands of the government forces who are cracking down on the protesters with increasing violence.

A particularly chilling death of a protester happened on Saturday in Tehran when a young girl was shot in the chest by a single sniper shot from a member of the government militia. Her last few seconds of her life were captured on a mobile phone video and then posted on the internet where it has gone viral getting millions of hits on various websites around the world. Her name was Neda, meaning Voice in Farsi, and she has indeed become the voice of this movement of the Iranian people as a symbol for Iran’s pro-democracy movement.

We at Pakistanis for Peace support the men and women of Iran in their quest for real democracy and freedom in their country from the oppresive regime of Ahmadinejad and the ruling Supreme Council and Ayatollah Ali Khameni. The government should realize that Iran will prosper and become stronger only with a more open and fair society that is a real democracy rather than a front for an authoritarian regime. Iran and virtually the rest of the Muslim world needs to realize that although democracy is not the only form of government, it is the best form and one that needs to be embraced across the Muslim world as only it will lead these countries out of the political darkness that they are in with their monarchies, dictatorships, and theocracies.

The citizens of the Muslim world from Morocco to Malaysia are yearning for a true democratic form of government that gives them more rights to participate in their government without fear of reprecussions and real freedom of speech that is missing in far too many of these countries. For the brave people of Iran to stand up and speak out against one of the most oppressive and authoritative regimes in the world is a great sign of hopefully more things to come across the Muslim world!

Reporting by Manzer Munir for

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