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No evidence Iran supplies arms to Taliban, UN says

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    No evidence Iran supplies arms to Taliban, UN says MIKE BLANCHFIELD CanWest News Service Sept 24, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2007
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      No evidence Iran supplies arms to Taliban, UN says
      MIKE BLANCHFIELD
      CanWest News Service
      Sept 24, 2007
      http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=3d2bb503-861d-4439-bce8-b73b041b2655&p=2


      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
      arrive."

      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
      Islamic world.

      "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
      country.

      "It's an important area between us and Iran," Karzai said, noting
      3,000 Iranian security forces have lost their lives combating the drug
      trade.

      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
      Afghanistan.

      "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
      aid workers."

      ===

      Iran's parliament approves labeling CIA, U.S. Army terrorist groups
      By The Associated Press
      29/09/2007
      http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/908050.html


      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
      organization.

      "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
      terrorist organization.

      ===

      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
      do again.

      *********************************************************************

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