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Iran's Nuclear Program
Mohammed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said about Iran (CNN, 28/10/07): "Have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No." (Watch the video in which he makes this statement at <thinkprogress.org/2007/10/28/baradei-iran-disaster/>.)
Iran and the USA
Iran has made an offer of peace to the USA: "Iran agreed to put a series of U.S. aims on the agenda, including full cooperation on nuclear safeguards, 'decisive action' against terrorists, coordination in Iraq, ending 'material support' for Palestinian militias and accepting the Saudi initiative for a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" (Glenn Kessler, "In 2003, U.S. Spurned Iran's Offer of Dialogue: Some Officials Lament Lost Opportunity," Washington Post, 18 June 2006, p. A16, <washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/17/AR2006061700727.html>). Why don't we try to get the White House to accept Iran's offer?
Ahmadinejad and Israel
Iran's Commander in Chief is its Leader Ali Khamenei, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Besides, Ahmadinejad did not say that Iran will "wipe Israel off the map." What he actually said is that "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." The word-for-word translation of his remark in Farsi: "Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from)." How will the Israeli occupation vanish? The way "the Soviet Union disappeared," i.e., Israelis and Palestinians will peacefully end the occupation. (For more information, see Arash Norouzi, "'Wiped off the Map' -- The Rumor of the Century," <http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/rumor-of-the-century/>.)
Jews of Iran
Iran has the largest Jewish community -- 25,000 strong -- in the Middle East outside Israel. What do Jewish Iranians say about Iran ("Iran's Jews - Shalom Salaam," Dateline, SBS, Australia, 16 May 2007, <news.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php?page=transcript&dte=2007-05-16&headlineid=1260>)?
· Maurice Motamed, a Jewish MP in Iran's parliament: "there was never any threat to the safety of the Jewish community. The main reason for this is that the general policy of the Iranian Government has never entailed anti-Semitism."
· Haroun Yashyaei, a Jewish community leader in Iran: "Iran is, in fact, the cultural homeland of Judaism. It's interesting to note there are even more sites relating to Jewish history in Iran than there are in Israel."
Women of Iran
Women of Iran are well educated, have made great progress in employment, and are working toward equal rights, just like women everywhere. Women now comprise "60 percent of all university students" in Iran (Golnaz Esfandiari, "Iran: Number of Female University Students Rising Dramatically," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 19 November 2003, <parstimes.com/women/women_universities.html>). According to the World Bank, "In Iran, women’s participation in the labor force rose from 33 to 41 percent in five years, a phenomenal leap. In 1990, participation rates for women in Iran were below MENA average; by 2005, they were the third-highest in the region. . . . In Iran, women made up a majority of all additional entrants to the labor market" (2007 Economic Developments & Prospects: Job Creation in an Era of High Growth, pp. xvii, 34, <siteresources.worldbank.org/INTMENA/Resources/EDP_2007_REPORT_Aug7.pdf>).
Democracy in Iran
Reformers in Iran and their Iranian-American supporters oppose Washington's "regime change" campaign and "democracy assistance" tied to it. In a joint letter to the Congress (11/10/07), the National Iranian American Council and other organizations said:
We are writing to express strong opposition to funding in the FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for State Department programs purporting to support democracy in Iran. . . . . Iranian reformers believe democracy cannot be imported and must be based on indigenous institutions and values. The intended beneficiaries of the funding, -- human rights advocates, civil society activists and others -- uniformly denounce the program. "Washington's policy of ‘helping' the cause of democracy has backfired," wrote Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi in the International Herald Tribune recently. "The Bush Administration should put an end to its misguided policy."
To read the full text of the "Joint Letter to Congress Requesting Scraping of Flawed 'Democracy Funds'" and its signers, go to <www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=913&Itemid=2>.
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