No evidence Iran supplies arms to Taliban, UN says
- No evidence Iran supplies arms to Taliban, UN says
CanWest News Service
Sept 24, 2007
A top United Nations diplomat is rejecting repeated claims from the
Bush administration that Iran is supplying weapons to the Taliban
insurgency in Afghanistan.
The allegations of Iranian meddling in Afghanistan first surfaced in
June, and gained momentum with senior U.S. intelligence and military
officials accusing Iran of officially endorsing the shipment of
armaments across its eastern border.
If true, the implications for Canadian troops in Afghanistan would be
serious, Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said.
Seventy Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have lost their
lives in Afghanistan, more than half from roadside bombs that have
grown increasingly sophisticated and powerful in the last year.
Asked whether the UN has seen any evidence of Iranian weaponry
reaching the Taliban insurgency, Chris Alexander, the deputy United
Nations representative to Kabul, told CanWest News Service: "None.
It's the other border across which arms and weapons principally
Alexander was referring to Pakistan, Afghanistan's eastern neighbour,
where a reconstituted Taliban and Al-Qa'ida insurgency has mounted
renewed guerrilla attacks in the last 18 months that have severely
challenged Canada and its NATO allies in southern Afghanistan.
The insurgents are comprised of foreign mercenaries from across the
"We are, quite frankly, trying to encourage everyone to recommit to
having a sense of proportion, to putting the reality of the insecurity
of Afghanistan into proportion," Alexander said.
"That means not saying that Iran is the principle source of arms
shipments to the Taliban. That's simply not true."
Alexander, who was Canada's first ambassador to Afghanistan in 2003,
after the fall of the Taliban two years earlier, said Iran actually
opposes the Taliban.
He said Iran has signed on as an international development partner
that is committed to rebuilding Afghanistan, contributing tens of
millions of dollars of aid to the country.
Yesterday, Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, praised Iran as an
ally in the fight against the rampant opium trade that plagues his
"It's an important area between us and Iran," Karzai said, noting
3,000 Iranian security forces have lost their lives combating the drug
President George W. Bush tried to persuade Karzai during a visit to
Washington last month that the Iranians are "not a force for good as
far as we can see" and told the Afghan president "they're a
destabilizing influence wherever they are."
Karzai said little in his appearance with Bush. But before arriving in
Washington, he told CNN: "We have had very good, very close relations"
with Iran and that "so far, Iran has been a helper and a solution."
Bush's comments came as U.S. military and intelligence officials have
begun building a case that Iran is backing insurgents inside
"We're deeply concerned about that," Bernier, Canada's new foreign
minister, told CanWest News Service. "If it's true, such support will
directly endanger the lives of Canadians and international forces and
Iran's parliament approves labeling CIA, U.S. Army terrorist groups
By The Associated Press
Iran's parliament on Saturday approved a nonbinding resolution to
label the CIA and the U.S. Army terrorist organizations.
The move is seen as a diplomatic tit-for-tat after the U.S. Senate
voted in favor of a resolution urging the State Department to
designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist
"The aggressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are
terrorists and also nurture terror," said a statement by the 215
lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the Iranian
parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.
The hard-line dominated parliament said the two were terrorists,
because they were involved in dropping nuclear bombs in Japan in World
War II, used depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan
and Iraq, supported the killings of Palestinians by Israel, bombed and
killed Iraqi civilians and tortured terror suspects in prisons.
The resolution, which is seen as a diplomatic offensive against the
U.S., urges Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government to
treat the two as terrorist organizations. It also paves the way for
the resolution to become legislation that - if ratified by the
country's hard-line constitutional watchdog - would become law. The
government is expected to remain silent over the parliament resolution
and wait for U.S. reaction before making its decision.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted 76-22 in favor of a resolution
urging the State Department to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps a terrorist organization. While the proposal attracted
overwhelming bipartisan support, a small group of Democrats said they
feared labeling the state-sponsored organization a terrorist group
could be interpreted as a congressional authorization of military
force in Iran.
The Bush administration had already been considering whether to
blacklist an elite unit within the Revolutionary Guard, subjecting
part of the vast military operation to financial sanctions.
The U.S. legislative push came a day after Ahmadinejad told world
leaders at the United Nations General Assembly that his country would
defy attempts to impose new sanctions by arrogant powers seeking to
curb its nuclear program, accusing them of lying and imposing illegal
penalties on his country.
He said the nuclear issue was now closed as a political issue and Iran
would pursue the monitoring of its nuclear program through its
appropriate legal path, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which
is the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated over Washington
accusations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons
and has been supplying Shiite militias in Iraq with deadly weapons
used to kill U.S. troops. Iran denies both of the allegations.
Earlier this month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who
has the final say on all state matters, named a new head for the elite
Revolutionary Guard. He appointed Mohammed Ali Jafari, described as a
senior figure in the hard-line force, to replace Yahya Rahim Safavi,
who led the Guard for the last decade.
In a new decree, Khamenei also appointed Jafari to run the Basij,
groups of volunteers dedicated to support the ruling Islamic
establishment, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The appointment effectively merged the two forces. Further
intertwining the Guard with the popular Basij force is widely believed
to be aimed at undermining U.S. efforts to designate the Guard a
Ahmadinejad is Not My Enemy
By JOHN V. WALSH
October 1, 2007
I had any number of Yossarian moments this last week as the entire
apparatus of respectable opinion unleashed everything they had at
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. But what has Ahmadinejad done
to me or anyone in the U.S.? Nothing that I know of.
On the other hand Israel and its Lobby, whose hand was very much in
evidence at the Columbia demonstrations against Ahmadinejad, is very
much my enemy. Along with the industrial/Congressional wing of the
military industrial Congressional complex, Israel and its fifth column
in the U.S. (aka the Lobby) drove us into war in Iraq, killing
thousands of American soldiers and 1 million Iraqis. So there is the
Yossarian moment. Ahmadinejad is not trying to get Americans killed,
but these other guys sure are--and they have been remarkably
successful. So who is our Colonel Cathcart, the commanding officer in
Catch-22 trying to drive Yossarian into ever more life-threatening
missions? Not Ahmadinejad, that's for sure. (It is striking that Bush
and the Democratic Congress are literally latter day Cathcarts,
cruelly extending the length of combat missions and multiplying them
endlessly based on fine print. Catch-22 is not lost on our rulers.)
And now the Lobby and its allies want to kill Iranians too. In fact
they would like to destroy Iran, its army and its infrastructure. Why?
Because Iran wants nuclear power? That is hardly believable. At that
rate we should be pouring into the streets the next time Sarkozy who
presides over a densely nuclear France bares his chest in the U.S.
again. And if Iran has nuclear power, so what?
Now do not tell me, as radicals (of both Libertarian and Leftist
stripe) are being duly advised by liberals these days, that we are
making the classical mistake of identifying the enemy of my enemies as
my friend. For I am not saying that Ahmadinejad is my friend. In fact
I know very little about the man--except what I hear through the
filters of pundocratic respectability and the spin put on his words by
the chorus of neocons. He apparently feels that historical Palestine
should have room for Arabs and Jews both, as Iran apparently does.
That is fine with me. A modern secular state for Arabs and Jews
together in historic Palestine is inevitable in the long term anyway,
so why not get on with it? (I would differ with Ahmadinejad that Iran
should remain an Islamic state and I would like to tell him so. But I
find that those who would argue for a Jewish state, or more accurately
a Jewish apartheid state, are on thin ice when arguing this point with
my non-enemy Ahmadinejad.) He says he wants to study the Holocaust
more--and he may even be a genocide denier. But so what? Freedom to
discuss things should be open ended. And Abe Foxman and company deny
the Armenian genocide, but their praises are sung far and wide, high
and low. So Ahmadinejad may not be my friend--but he is not my enemy.
Nor is Iran my enemy--although the U.S. owes Iran a mighty big set of
apologies, and Iran should certainly consider our government a power
hostile to it. For consider what has been done to Iran with our tax
dollars. "Our" CIA overthrew the democratically elected Iranian
government of Mohammad Mossadegh in the 1950s because his social
democratic party wanted Iran to control Iranian oil--in place of
Anglo/American corporations. The U.S. installed the Shah and with the
aid of Israel, according to Uri Avnery, trained his vicious secret
police who tortured and killed untold numbers of Iranians to maintain
his pro-U.S. rule. Then when the Shah was ousted, we supported Saddam
Hussein in his vicious war on Iran with chemical weapons. A million
people died in that war. Oh, the Iranians did hold a handful of
Americans hostage at the time they overthrew our puppet, the Shah,
certainly a hostile act but a pin prick compared to the death and
destruction we and our Israeli ally have visited on Iran and plan to
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