|Southwest Asia News Digest
Anglo-Israeli Threats Continue, Despite Iran's Openness To Negotiate
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)The International Atomic Energy Agency's report on Iran's nuclear program says that Iran has not increased the number of active centrifuges at the Natanz facility that are producing low-enriched uranium; a number of centrifuges were added, but have not yet been brought on line. This IAEA finding by no means indicates that Iran has shifted in any way on its insistence that it has the sovereign right to enrich uranium. However, the report that the number of centrifuges hasn't increased beyond the 5,000 it had in May 2009, is another development over the last ten days that indicates expanded cooperation with the IAEA.
The IAEA report was presented to the Board of Governors of the UN body on Aug. 29. At the same time, Iran's new Atomic Agency head, Ali Akbar Salehi, is requesting that the IAEA "normalize" its relations with Iran, and take the matter out of the realm of the UN Security Council, and the debate over sanctions. Salehi also has put in a letter to the IAEA asking the body to ban military attacks on nuclear facilities. The ban on attacking nuclear facilities has been supported in a letter to the IAEA written by the Egyptian delegate to the Non-Aligned Movement.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, ignored these steps towards cooperation with the IAEA beyond what is required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is pushing the U.S. and the Europeans to impose new sanctions against Iran.
According to Agence France Presse, Israel is accusing the outgoing head of the IAEA, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, of "a dereliction of duty against the mandate" of the agency, by being too lenient towards Iran. Netanyahu pressured U.S. envoy George Mitchell for sanctions against Iran, at their meeting on Aug. 26. But, the incoming head of the IAEA, Dr. Yukiya Amano, also made reference to the IAEA's "lack of any information on Iran's purported 'proliferation' drive," reported Asia Times on Aug. 25. Dr. Amano's statement came in addition to the new report in April 2009, by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, that the U.S. had no evidence of Iran working on nuclear weapons.
Khamenei: Charges of Foreign Control of Opposition 'Not Proven'
Aug. 27 (EIRNS)Despite shameful show trials of leaders of the mass protests in Iran, following the June 12 elections, the opposition forces that have contested the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continue to have support among important individuals and institutions in Iran. That is the backdrop to a statement issued by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Aug. 26, that said, "I do not accuse the leaders of the recent incidents to be subordinate to the foreigners, like the United States and Britain, since this issue has not been proven for me." The statement was read on his behalf on national television in Iran.
He also said that foreign countries, like Britain and the U.S., planned for the street demonstrations in advance, but failed to destabilize the country because of their lack of understanding of Iran. Khamenei's statement is a weak, but notable warning to the Ahmadinejad/Revolutionary Guard "coup" faction, that the opposition of Mousavi, Mehdi Kharrubi (a cleric), former President Khatami, and Ayatollah (and former President) Rafsanjani cannot be crudely crushed. Khamenei's statement said, "We should not proceed in dealing with those behind the protests based on rumors and guesswork.... The judiciary should only give rulings based on solid evidence, not on circumstantial evidence."
There were further statements of institutional opposition to Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard/Basiq (militia) police state, including from leaders of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. On Aug. 23, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri condemned the government crackdown on protesters and said, "The authorities should at least have the courage to announce that this regime is neither a republic nor Islamic and no one is allowed to protest, to express an opinion or to criticize anything." Montazeri was long considered to be the successor to Khomeini, but, in 1989, was dismissed by the Supreme Leader because of criticisms that related to human rights and other issues. Since 1989, Montazeri has been under house arrest, but still has a broad political and religious following. His statement was in response to a call by 300 academics in Iran for the religious leaders to speak out against the imprisonment and trials of the protest leaders.
In a related development, a still-unidentified member of the parliamentary committee that agreed to hear evidence that imprisoned protesters were beaten, tortured, and raped, has said that there is solid evidence that these abuses have taken place.
Netanyahu Visits Palestinian Exploration Fund
Aug. 26 (EIRNS)Confirming once again his British Empire ties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Palestinian Exploration Fund's offices in London this week. The visit was the first thing he mentioned during his press conference after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "This is a treasure, it is one thing you all must see," he told reporters, commenting that it showed British historical friendship with Israel.
What is the PEF? One only has to read the "EIR Special Report: Who Is Sparking a Religious War In The Middle East?" (December 2000), which describes the organization as the granddaddy of the British-inspired scheme to rebuild Solomon's Temple on al-Haram al-Sharif (aka, Temple Mount), in Jerusalem, one of Islam's most holy sitesa project aimed at sparking religious war in Southwest Asia.
"British Imperial occult designs on Jerusalem," the EIR report states, "and the Temple Mount first surfaced prominently in 1865, with the founding of the Palestinian Exploration Fund, under British royal sponsorship, and the first archaeological expeditions to the Holy Land. Prince Edward, son of Queen Victoria, who would succeed her as King Edward VII, had visited Jerusalem in 1862, and put his imprimatur on the launching of the Palestinian Exploration Fund immediately thereafter." The report goes on to state that the first explorations by the PEF were conducted by "Gen. Sir Charles Warren, during 1867-70. This expedition launched the British Free Masonic 'Temple Mount project.' In 1886, Warren was one of the nine Freemasons who founded the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and he became its first head."
The PEF and the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, in effect, spawned the most rabid of the fanatical revisionist and religious Zionists. These included Vladimir Jabotinsky, who was not only the founder of revisionist Zionism, but was also a friend of the Netanyahu family, and the British-appointed Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rav Abraham Isaac Kook. His son, Zvi Yehuda Kook, produced the leadership of the terrorist Stern Gang, and along with his nephew, Hillel Kook, was key in the creation of today's Temple Mount crazies organized by the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva.
'Merkel Ignores Netanyahu and Calls for Settlement Freeze'
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)The above headline appeared in the Aug. 29 issue of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and captures the German reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's grandstanding in Germany. While in Berlin, Netanyahu was presented with original blueprints of Auschwitz, which he used as a prop to make an outrageous comparison between Iran's nuclear program and the Nazi Holocaust. "We must not allow those who want to commit mass murder, those who want to destroy the Jews, to emerge unscathed," said Netanyahu. "That is the lesson from the Holocaust."
Merkel, according to Ha'aretz, "ignored" the Prime Minister, and said, "The Germans did unspeakable things to the Jewish people. Therefore Germany must protect Israel and preserve its security. However, there should be no comparison between the Iranian issue and the Holocaust." She added that "ending settlement construction is of supreme importance. Time is running out."
Hariri: Hezbollah To Be in Next Lebanon Government
Aug. 29 (EIRNS)Lebanese Prime Minister Designate Sa'ad Hariri told Agence France Presse that the Hezbollah will be in the next national unity government. "The national unity government will include the March 14 Alliance, and I also want to assure the Israeli enemy that Hezbollah will be in this government, whether it likes it or not, because Lebanon's interests require that all parties be involved in this cabinet."
Hariri's statement is in stark response to Netanyahu's recent threat that, "If Hezbollah joins the government, it will be clear that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for an attack coming from its territory against Israel."