This special briefing focuses on Iran, courtesy of Project: Free Iran at ActivistChat.com. WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON INSIDE IRAN? If you've been trying to follow the events in Iran over the past several weeks and still aren't quite sure what the heck is really going on, don't fret, you're not alone. Long forgotten is the Earthquake in Bam that killed 43,000 people. The media is now focusing on the so-called "crisis" or "dispute" between elements known as the "reformers" and "hardliners". Project: Free Iran's views on this situation can be found in this adjunct editorial over at The Command Post. Throughout this report we will do our best to provide you with articles that give a more detailed explanation and analysis of the current "crisis". We'll also take a look at what some bloggers, policy makers and others have been saying. Other Topics Today Include: The Iranian Circus; Congressional Staffers to Visit Iran?; Have you seen "Forbidden Iran"?; Event in Beverly Hills; Regime Kills Protesting Workers; After the Earthquake in Bam; Donna M. Hughes on the Sex Slave Trade; Oscar Nominations & Beauty Pageant Winners; Hot Discussion Forum; Going to a Demonstration Soon?; The Show (Joke) will go on.
* JK: If you're wondering about this whole "crisis" thing, we covered it on Wednesday. Oxblog and Dan Darling had particularly good briefings. Iran's Quest for the Bomb * Is the Iranian regime secretly trying to build a second and more advanced uranium enrichment plant, in parallel to the large facilities in the town of Natanz revealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year? The International Stage * Last week some American politicians announced a plan to send congressional staff members to Iran after a meeting with Iran's ambassador to the United Nations. Of course this proposal was met with much opposition from Iranians inside Iran who faxed letters of opposition to this proposal, as well as supporters of Iranian freedom on the outside such as: the SMCCDI (Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran), Pejman Yousefzadeh (an Iranian blogger). * Michael Ledeen's The Seventh Level attacks U.S. senators and others who have received money from the regime, and who aren't exactly playing to the tune of their country's or the World's best interest. * Former Imperial (Pre-'79 Revolution) Iranian Ambassador to Norway, Mr. Hasem Hakimi, has written a strong letter in opposition to Senator Arlen Specter's proposal. We highly recommend reading it as well as faxing it to the Senator himself. Let him know that appeasing terrorist regimes will be disastrous to our efforts in the War on Terror, especially when the Iranian people are counting on 100% support from America. In this case, sleeping with the enemy will truly undermine any hope for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Contact Senator Specter: Telephone: 202-224-4254 Fax: 202-228-1229 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org * FYI: The Islamic Regime's Ambassador to the UN, who met with Senator Specter and others last week, is Mr. Javad Zarif, who just so happens to be a member of the student gang who in 1979 took American diplomats hostage for 444 days. (Just some food for thought) Iranian Voices * JK: Pedram of The Eyeranian offers a history of Iran post-revolution, and the pattern he presents is clear - a revolution that has steadily eaten its young, one after another. Eye-opening. * JK: Grand Ayatollah Montazerri is also less than thrilled with the way the revolution has progressed. He is Iran's most senior Shi'ite cleric - and (you'll appreciate this, Pedram) if Khomeni was the Iranian Revolution's Lenin, Montzzaeri is surely its Trotsky. * If you have not yet seen "Forbidden Iran", an expose of the Islamic Regime's tyranny, by Canadian journalist Jane Kokan, then click here to watch it now! Note: The version that PBS aired in the United States was a cut/edited version. The actual version that was shown in England, on satellite tv and elsewhere was a more graphic version that showed executions, amputations, and other brutal atrocities committed by the clerical regime. * JK: Even Iranian MPs seem to be getting in on the blogging trend. * On January 23rd Iranian security forces and Kerman Province's special guards brutally attacked and killed several protesting workers at the Nazkhaton's Copper Smeltery in the City of Babak, Province of Kerman. The merciless attack was in response to a sit-in and protest held by workers and their families. To this day clashes with security forces are still occurring in different parts of the city, half of the city has been closed, and residents are demanding immediate identification of those responsible for their killings. * The news reports also note that helicopters with special police units were sent into Babak to break up the protests. You almost have to wonder, where were the helicopters and special forces when 43,000 Iranians were suffocating under the rubble of Bam in late December? * Apparently the Alliance for Workers Liberty is asking international labour organizations to protest against these actions taken by the regime in Babak and also to directly investigate the situation that led to the shooting, killing and injury of workers and their families. Socio-Economic Developments * JK: Bargeboo discusses the role of women in Iran: Harams in 21st Century. * As of February 4th, the official death toll following the earthquake in Bam was set at 43,000. That's the equivalent of fifteen Sept 11ths. This is incomprehensible. And to think that many deaths could have been prevented if the regime in Iran actually put some of the billions it makes via the oil and gas business back into the country's infrastructure rather than spending it on palaces, security forces, nuclear technology, and lobbyists in Washington and elsewhere. * It's advisable to read the following articles when you get a chance, and also sign the Bam Earthquake Plea for Justice! (Bam Earthquake-related Pieces: Bam Earthquake Genocide,Iran's Political Quake, and Natural Tremors, Political Temblors). * Donna M. Hughes, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, reports in her recent article entitled "Sex Slave Jihad", that following the recent earthquake in Bam, orphaned girls have been kidnapped and taken to a known slave market in Tehran where Iranian and foreign traders meet. This however is only a small glimpse at the interlocking hands of a corrupt theocratic dictatorship and the modern sex-slave traders who make millions off the current state of despair in Iran. This is a must-read if you don't mind getting angry! Entertainment & lighter news * JK: Blue Bird offers us "Snowflakes", a message of hope for those who feel trapped in winter's chill. Or the spiritual equivalent. * Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, has been nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in the new film "House Of Sand And Fog." Ben Kingsley has also been nominated for an Oscar for his leading role. * Shermineh Shahrivar, has won the Miss Germany beauty contest. Miss Shahrivar has an Iranian father and a German mother, and was chosen from among 4,000 conestants. Ali has commented on this win and tells us that his "weak point" is also chocolate. * Nazanin Afshin-Jam, an Iranian-Canadian, has been named 1st runner up in the Miss World 2003 competition. The Free Persia blog comments on this win for yet another Iranian. An Activist's Chat * If you're looking for a message forum with in-depth analysis, wholesome discussion, and good people who all support the Iranian people in their struggle, then visit the ActivistChat.com Discussion Forum. * On February 11th there will be an event in Beverly Hills entitled "From a Great Civilization... Iran... To the Axis of Evil?" with speakers such as Kenneth Timmerman, Larry Elder, and Bijan Kian. This looks like it's going to be very good, so if you're in the area you may want to check it out, otherwise please email C-SPAN at email@example.com and encourage them to give coverage of this very timely event. * Going to a pro-freedom demonstration sometime soon? Or do you want some way of showing your support for the Iranian people during your day to day activities? If so, then visit GotAMullah.com where you will find tons of colorful artwork and designs on activist wear and gear! * Remember:The theatre in Iran will continue to hold performances up until the day of election. Regardless of what happens, who is allowed to run, etc.. The entire regime is illegitimate and the Iranian people will soon take a stand. It will be up to all of us on the outside to stand with them and not be fooled by the twists and turns of the puppet masters. We leave you with an article by Michael Ledeen, entitled "The Jihad on Iraq". Remember, only you can prevent forest fires :) !