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the latest news on kurds

1. Support the Kurdish prisoners of conscious in Iran, rights group
2. 270 cultural and civil rights activists in the city of Marivan announced their support of the hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners of conscience
3. President Barzani has not accused Sunnis of sidelining Kurds in army
4. KCK and Conga Gel Declare cease fire with Turkey
5. Turkey’s Kurdish Rebel Group PKK Announces Post-Ramadan Truce
6. President Talabani: Disputed issues should be addressed according to constitution
7. Iraqi president warns against delay in US deal
8. Ahmadinejad’s evil words aren’t just talk
9. Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia to rise after nuclear plant
10. ‘Special groups’ surge in Iraq
11. PKK kills Turkish soldier in southeast
12. Turkish Military Launches Offensive Against Kurdish Militants
13. ‘Turkey should not be a member of EU’
14. Iran backs Syria at nuclear body
15. Newspaper Banned For Publishing Pro-Kurdish Views
16. Iran supreme leader: Israel is on a path to destruction
17. Report: Israel believes Syria renewing its nuclear activity
18. British opposition seeks tougher EU action on Iran
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1. Support the Kurdish prisoners of conscious in Iran, rights group

Kurdish Human Rights Initiative, Australia
29/09/2008

To: Human Rights Organisations, the United Nations and Non-governmental Organisations
On the 25th of August 2008, over 200 Kurdish prisoners of conscious in Iran including journalists, human rights and women’s rights activists, teachers, students and intellectuals went on hunger strikes to protest against torture and maltreatment of political prisoners by the Iranian authorities.
The Kurds in Iran are deprived of their basic human rights and there is no recognition of their cultural, social, economic and political rights. Any demand for legitimate Kurdish rights has been met with arrests, torture, imprisonment and execution. Kurdish prisoners of conscious have started this hunger strike to protest against arbitrary arrests, torture, maltreatment and their denial to have access to an attorney.
Human rights abuses by the Islamic Regime of Iran are well document by Amnesty International and other bodies and the world is well aware of these abuses. However, Western countries have often ignored the plight of the Kurdish people and other opposition groups in Iran. Their main focus is on the Iranian nuclear program while turning a blind eye on human rights abuses. Other states, either to preserve their economic interests, or having similar records of human rights abuses, have chosen to keep quiet over the issue.
The Kurdish Human Rights Initiative calls upon the Iran Government to:
1. Respond to the demands of Kurdish prisoners of conscious who are on hunger strike.
2. Reform the Iranian court and legal system according to international standards.
3. End arbitrary arrests, torture, maltreatment and execution of all political prisoners.
4. Release all prisoners of conscious
5. Recognise the rights of all minorities in par with Persians and end discrimination against minorities.
The Kurdish Human Rights Initiative further calls upon the international community, United Nations, human rights and other non-government organizations to:
1. Support Kurdish prisoners of conscious who are on hunger strikes by asking the Iranian Government to end its human rights abuses and respond to the demands of the prisoners.
2. Put pressure on the Iranian Government to meet its international obligations by observing international laws and regulations.
3. Demand the Iranian Government to grant the rights of minorities and end its discrimination policies against the minorities in Iran.
Kurdish Human Rights Initiative
Melbourne, Australia
29 September 2008
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2. 270 cultural and civil rights activists in the city of Marivan announced their support of the hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners of conscience

September 27, 2008
Iran Human Rights voice

Committee to Support Hunger Strike by Kurdish Political Prisoners and Civil Rights Advocates

270 cultural and civil rights activists in the city of Marivan announced their support of the hunger strike by Kurdish activists.
A statement bearing the signature of 270 cultural and civil rights activists in Marivan proved the support of activists of the Kurdish hunger strikers in Iranian prisons.
Part of the statement included: “henceforth, it is being announced to all countrymen, upon announcement of a hunger strike by civil rights and political inmates, to protest cruel and illegal punishment issued by the judicial system of the country and inadequate conditions inside the jails, a number of us, the cultural and civil rights activists in the city of Marivan, put our support behind this movement that is considered in accordance with human and civil rights acts”.
The names and signatures of 270 individuals appeared at the end of the statement, among them are the names of civil rights activists, journalists, and students.

Committee to Support Hunger Strike by Kurdish Political Prisoners and Civil Rights Advocates
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3. President Barzani has not accused Sunnis of sidelining Kurds in army

02-10-2008
KRP

Some media sources have reported that President Barzani has recently said that the Iraqi Sunnis have marginalised the Kurds in the Iraqi Army.

Kurdistan Region Presidency (KRP) spokesman has issued the following statement to clarify the KRP policy and to refute these reports:

The President never made any such statements during his remarks at a meeting with the local media in Salahaddin on Sunday 28 September 2008.

In his remarks, the President was referring to the rebuilding of the new Iraqi army after the removal of the former regime in 2003. He said “the first two brigades of the new Iraqi Army were formed from the Kurds and this is testimony to the commitment of the Kurds to rebuilding the new Iraqi army.”

When the President said “…some Sunni religious leaders issued calls [fatwa] boycotting and against joining the Iraqi military [after 2003]”, he was referring to a historical fact; he was not making any accusations against any particular group.

On the current situation of the Iraqi army, President Barzani said there are attempts to sideline the Kurds in this important institution. Again, the President does not make any reference to any particular Iraqi component.

The policy of the Kurdistan Region is very clear. We would like to actively work and cooperate with other components and political parties groups in the political process to build an Iraq that is democratic and federal, and to prevent the institutions of the country from being controlled by any single or any single party. We believe that the political process can only succeed if we all work on the basis of partnership, power-sharing and the principle of political consensus.

We also believe that the Iraqi Army, as a national organisation, must be subject to democratic institutions of the country. The army’s responsibilities should confine to defending the country from foreign threats and fighting terrorism.
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4. KCK and Conga Gel Declare cease fire with Turkey

TO MEDIA AND PUBLIC

The Turkish state and the current AKP government still ignore and deny the democratic and political solutions for resolving the Kurdish question. Instead of approaching the Kurdish conflict from a democratic perspective, the Republic of Turkey exacerbates it. Our leadership, the Kurdish movement and the request that the Kurdish issue be dealt with on a democratic basis or seen from the right perspectives for it to be solved, are so far ignored and no steps are taken by the Republic of Turkey. As can be realised from the last government discussions where the Republic of Turkey states that they don’t regard the Kurdish issue as being about the basic, social, educational and political rights of the Kurds – but as a terror and economic problem. It can be understood that Republic of Turkey does not consider the issue of Kurdish freedom and instead they have chosen to deny the Kurdish question. Especially, the Army General of the Republic of Turkey has focused on the continuation of the war. Such an approach will not resolve anything in a democratic way for Kurds; rather it will only make the problem worsen.

The Kurds, the Kurdish movement and our People’s Defence Forces are again left with no choice other than the democratic option. Entering into such an era again will be historic and extremely important. All the Kurdish Defence Forces and the Kurds must prepare themselves for it.

The Republic of Turkey has been continuing and engaging with its war operations during Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic world and crossing into the Kurdish borders directly targeting the Kurdish Freedom Fighters. Putting into effect such a cross-border military operation means more conflict, more bloodshed and more innocent lives lost. Every loss will mean sorrow and tears for the Kurds. The launching of military and psychological war on the Kurds will never bring peace and the support of internal and external interests cannot be satisfied by the failure to end the oppression against Kurds.

Taking all the above factors into consideration it is clear that the Turkish state, while it promotes Islamic thinking and holiness on the final day of Ramadan to everyone, is at the same time ready to spill the blood of innocent people by undemocratically handling the Kurdish question. In response, our people resist by saying “Enough is enough” and by adding that we know of no mothers who like to see more blood on this holy month. At least we Kurds declare that we will avoid the conflict on this holy month about which both nations, the Kurdish and Turkish, share some common values.

In contrast, the main headquarters of the Kurdish Defence Forces and HPG announced that from the first holy eve of Ramadan they would declare a ceasefire and not fight unless the Republic of Turkey state does otherwise. The main headquarters of the Kurdish Defence Forces and HPG also emphasised that such a step needs to be supported and in addition we will stick to our commitments even if the Republic of Turkey does not. Furthermore, we, the Kurdistan Freedom Movement, would like to stress the freedom of both nations, Kurds and Turks, within a democratic system, which is a position that we always emphasis.

The Republic of Turkey cannot uphold the freedom of the people instead seeks to force people into submission. In contrast, we the PKK at our 10th Congress again stress that we are determined to continue with our important movement and want everyone to know this. In the meantime, we like to mention that everyone according to this perspective shall do their duties for peace and democratic solution.

At the same time, we congratulate the Kurdish people and the Islamic world on this their holy Ramadan and wish peace, fraternity and happiness to them.

KCK Management Committee and KONGRA-GEL’s Chair

29 SEPTEMBER 2008

Bureau of the Executive Council of KCK
Bureau of the KONGRA-GEL (Kurdistan People’s Congress)
29th September 2008
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5. Turkey’s Kurdish Rebel Group PKK Announces Post-Ramadan Truce

09-29-08

ANKARA (AFP)–Separatist militants with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, Monday announced a temporary ceasefire during the post-Ramadan celebrations, a spokesman told a Turkish news agency.
“In the aim of showing good intentions, we will respect a ceasefire so that blood will not be shed and a mother’s heart will not be broken during the end of Ramadan festivities,” Firat News agency reported, quoting a PKK spokesman.
Turkish and Kurdish Muslims are marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, in a celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr, between Tuesday and Thursday.
The PKK called on Turkey’s security forces to respect the ceasefire.
The PKK – considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been fighting for a separate state in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since 1984. According to figures recently released by the Turkish army, 24-year campaign had cost the lives of 32,000 Kurdish rebels, 6,500 members of the security forces and 5,500 civilians.
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6. President Talabani: Disputed issues should be addressed according to constitution

PUKmedia
29-09-2008

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that misunderstanding in addressing the disputed issues does not mean that there is an aggression between Kurds and Arabs as they have mutual interests and brotherly lived together for centuries.
The statement came in a press conference held today for the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi as they received President Talabani at Erbil International Airport after his return to the Kurdistan region from the US.
President Talabani also said that the disputed areas should be addressed according to article 140 of the Iraqi constitution.
Later, President Barzani denied an alleged statement claiming that the Sunnis are behind marginalizing the role of Kurds in the Iraqi army.
“Iraqi army is ours. The first two brigade of the Iraqi army were formed out of the Peshmerga forces. I did say that our Sunni brothers initially boycotted returning to the army based on Fatwas of some Sheiks while Shiites hesitated to re-join the army. Yes, there are attempts to marginalize the role of Kurds in the Iraqi army, but I did not say those attempts are made either by Sunnis or Shiites,” Barzani said.
President Talabani went on talking about his meetings with the state presidents in the US saying Iraq’s relations at the international and regional levels are good.
“I met with his Excellency Turkish President Abdulla Gul and he promised us to visit Iraq soon”.
Answering the question concerning marginalizing the role of the minorities in the Iraqi provincial elections law, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said: “I declared my sympathy with our Chaldean and Assyrian brothers. We will discuss the issue with the political leaders to address it in a best way considering the fact that they are our partners and they must have a fair participation in the provincial councils”.
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7. Iraqi president warns against delay in US deal

29 Sep , 2008
ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) – Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani returned home Monday after heart surgery and warned that a delay in an agreement on the presence of US troops in the country beyond 2008 could undermine sovereignty.
Talabani, who spent nearly two months in the United States for medical treatment, said, however, that he expected an early conclusion of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Washington and Baghdad.
“We hope to reach good results (on the SOFA agreement) because not reaching an agreement means it will lead to a daily violation of the sovereignty of Iraq,” he said in Arbil, capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
SOFA is to put in place a deal for the future of US troops after the UN Security Council mandate for the multinational force expires on December 31.
But differences still remain, notably on granting immunity to US soldiers for any violations committed in Iraq and on the future command of military operations on the ground.
Talabani, 74, left Iraq on August 2 to undergo medical tests and treatment for his knee, but doctors carried out heart surgery after several tests showed that he had a coronary condition.
The ethnic Kurd, who has been president since 2005, travelled to the United States for medical check-ups last year and was also treated for dehydration and exhaustion in neighbouring Jordan in February 2007.
He also played down ethnic tensions between Kurds and majority Arabs in the northern parts of Iraq.
“We all believe in the unity of Iraq,” he said, adding that media reports of tension between Iraqi security forces and the former Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga had been over stated.
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8. Ahmadinejad’s evil words aren’t just talk

October 1, 2008
The Los Angeles Times

Threats by Iran’s president are not empty rhetoric; he means what he says, and we ignore him at our peril.

We Americans are accustomed to regarding political rhetoric much as Dr. Johnson did epitaphs. “They are not,” he wrote, “given under oath.”
In other words, we don’t expect public men or women to speak the truth from public platforms. When it comes to our own parochial affairs, there’s probably a bit of weary realism in that. However, this casual expectation of rhetorical hypocrisy has inhibited from the start our ability to recognize and deal with the threat posed by Islamist radicalism.
Time and again, the spokesmen for these movements have told the world precisely what they intend. Time and again, the scant handful of Americans who bothered to take notice have dismissed what was said as the product of political alienation, as the consequence of economic marginalization, as a hangover of post-colonial insecurity or as tactical bluster.
No. These people mean exactly what they say, and they mean it for precisely the reasons they say they do. They genuinely believe in the extreme and often heretical variants of Islam to which they cleave, that faith guides their actions, and their public statements are expressions of that faith.
Time and again, though, we willfully have blinded ourselves to this fact, partly because modern minds balk at accepting what is essentially medieval reasoning at face value, and partly because it’s the conveniently amicable thing do to.
That, plus the simultaneity of a national election and Wall Street crisis, account in large part for the silence that greeted last week’s abominable speech by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the United Nations. In the course of a characteristically rambling diatribe, Ahmadinejad, one of the world’s great public anti-Semites, had this to say:
“The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a minuscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the U.S. in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premier nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support.
“This means that the great people of America and various nations of Europe need to obey the demands and wishes of a small number of acquisitive and invasive people. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and occupations and the threats of the Zionist network against their will.”
There’s a temptation to dismiss all this as simply “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” nonsense. But consider this other statement of Ahmadinejad’s, made in a TV address in 2006: “Zionists and their protectors are the most detested people in all of humanity, and the hatred is increasing every day. … The worse their crimes, the quicker they will fall.”
Or perhaps this, from 2005: “Israel must be wiped off the map. … The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world.”
By “world oppressor,” Ahmadinejad means the United States. He happens to belong to a Shiite sect that believes it can hasten the coming of the Mahdi, the Islamic savior, by the creation of chaos in the world. And like his brethren among the Sunni jihadists, he means what he says.
Mary Halbeck, one of the West’s foremost scholars of jihadism and its religious origins, describes Islamist extremists as “committed to the destruction of the entire secular world because they believe this is a necessary first step to create an Islamic utopia on Earth.” Their “view of the enemies of Islam means that their depiction in the Koran and hadith [commentaries on the Koran] is valid today in every detail. The Jews in particular have specific negative characteristics. … They are notorious for their betrayal and treachery; they have incurred God’s curse and wrath; they were changed into monkeys and pigs.”
This is what the men who brought the hell of 9/11 to America believed. This is what Ahmadinejad believes and what he simply awaits the opportunity to act on.
When the delegates to the U.N. General Assembly applauded Ahmadinejad’s speech last week, and the American media passed over it in silence, this is the sentiment to which they gave their respective explicit and tacit approval.

Shame on them; shame on us.
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9. Turkey’s energy dependency on Russia to rise after nuclear plant

Oct 1, 2008
Today’s Zaman

Turkey faces the risk of becoming heavily dependent on Russia uranium if the recent tender for Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, won by a Russian firm led consortium, is not canceled, analysts say.
The tender for the nuclear plant was held in order to lessen the Turkey’s energy dependency to Russia, but if it is approved Turkey’s dependency to Russia will be even greater,” Necdet Pamir, an energy expert, told HotNewsTurkey.
A consortium led by Russian state firm Atomstroyexport, together with Inter RAO and Turkish Park Teknik, was the only bid in a tender to build and operate the country’s first nuclear power plant.
The tender was disappointing given the fact that a number of foreign and local companies had previously expressed interest but did not submit bids, making the Russian consortium the sole bidder.
The technology used by the Russian company works only with uranium enriched by Russia, Referans daily reported, posing the risk that Turkey’s dependency on Russia would increase, adding a demand for uranium to the country’s current natural gas demand.
Russia already provides more than 60 percent of Turkey’s gas imports. Turkey, a net importer of gas and oil, imports nearly 67 percent of its total supply needs, a figure that is expected to reach 75 percent by 2020. In the next few years, the country’s energy demand is set to rise by 8 percent annually.
CANCELLATION POSSIBLE
Analysts also have pointed out that the tender cancellation was possible. “The tender will be cancelled and I suggest a 99 percent likelihood of this happening,” Pamir said.
Wolfango Piccoli, from Eurasia Group also anticipated that the tender would be cancelled, saying it remained to be seen whether the government would decide to launch another tender or to build the nuclear plant itself through a public-private partnership.
The cancellation of the tender also may force the government to go back to the drawing board to ensure more participation in future tenders due to the confidence blow struck in the tender on Sept. 24, analysts said.
Despite calls for a postponement by various potential bidders, the Energy Ministry rejected requests from four potential bidders to extend the deadline to allow companies to prepare for the auction.
“This has created a loss of credibility in the government that couldn’t be prevented. It won’t be easy either to regain confidence after this one,” Haluk Direskeneli, an energy analyst, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
LEGISLATION CHANGE NEEDED
If the tender is called off investors would expect the government to change some of the legislation linked to it, such as treasury guarantees on investor credit and more balanced sharing of risk in pricing power from the plant, analysts have estimated.
They also criticized the tender process harshly and said it was poorly and hastily prepared and the tender documents were not sufficient in nature. “These are not standard, commercially acceptable, market approved tender documents, or better so-to-speak invitation,” Direskeneli also said in a separate statement.
Analysts also say despite the fact that the AKP government has insisted for a long time that the solution to Turkey’s energy demand for power lies in nuclear energy, the last minute changes in the invitation such as insurance, counter guarantees, financing credibility, waste management were some of these missing issues.
“The government keeps pushing ahead with large tenders … but there is so much to be changed in the legislation that regulates these tenders to make both investors and the government happy,” Pamir also said.
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10. ‘Special groups’ surge in Iraq

29 September 2008

WASHINGTON, UPI – Iranian-backed “special groups” are entering Iraq with greater frequency, threatening to destabilize the region ahead of provincial elections, an analysis says.
A report by the non-profit, U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War points to comments from U.S.-led forces suggesting “assassination squads” composed of Iranian-trained fighters have entered the country in small groups through the marshlands in eastern Iraq.
The report says several fighters with the Mehdi Army who fled to Iran received training by the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards at special camps inside Iran located near Tehran, Ahvaz, Mashad and the holy city of Qom.
Following the completion of a four-month training program, the forces were encouraged to go back to Iraq following smuggling routes in Maysan province.
Leaders in neighboring Dhi Qar province suggested foreign fighters had entered the country from Iran in groups of 20, using specially equipped motorcycles to carry out attacks in the region.
Several assassination attempts on Iraqi officials in early September, meanwhile, bear the hallmarks of Iranian-backed fighters, the report said.
As a result, U.S. and Iraqi forces have increased their vigilance against foreign fighters, arresting more than 100 alleged “special groups” fighters in the last two weeks.
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11. PKK kills Turkish soldier in southeast

ANKARA, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) — One soldier of the Turkish security forces was killed and another one wounded in an attack staged by the militants of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, Turkish military said on Wednesday.
A statement issued by the Turkish General Staff and posted on its website said the PKK militants opened fire at the Turkish security forces at a mountainous area in Hani town of Diyarbakir province on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the soldier dead and another injured.
Turkey has conducted frequent air raids on suspected positions of the PKK in northern Iraq. In February, it also launched an eight-day ground incursion into Iraq.
Some 40,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.
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12. Turkish Military Launches Offensive Against Kurdish Militants

October 1, 2008
(RTTNews) – Media reports said Tuesday that the Turkish military launched a wide-scale military operation in southeast Turkey against the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). The anti-PKK offensive launched Sunday by the army in the mountainous areas of Hakkari is still on.
The reports said that the security forces stepped up operations ahead of the Ramadan to prevent any untoward happenings. The border crossings, used by the PKK militants in the past have been brought under strict control. F-16 military aircraft carried out the operations and supported the land troops to help gain control over all PKK strategic passages and locations. The Turkish Army declared that it is also policing the country’s border with Iraq with surveillance cameras to prevent militants from sneaking into the country.
Meanwhile, the PKK separatist organization has ordered a ceasefire during the Lesser Bairam feast, which began Tuesday.
The two-decade-old conflict has killed more than 40,000 persons.

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13. ‘Turkey should not be a member of EU’

1-Oct-08
PressTV

Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, says Turkey should not be allowed to join the European Union.
Not now, not in 100 and not in 200 years” can Turkey become a member of the EU, said Strache Tuesday in his first news conference since his Freedom Party finished third in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Freedom Party got 18.2 percent of votes – a higher showing than the previous elections when it acquired 11 percent, AP reported.

No party received a majority in elections. The Social Democrats and the Conservative People’s Party finished first and second but scored their lowest results in history in the general elections.

He added that non-EU members should not be allowed access to Austria’s social service system.

Alev Korun, the environmentalist Greens candidate, is the first national of Turkish origin who has found a seat at the Federal Parliament, Turkey’s Anatolian News Agency said.

Strache, who spoke out during the campaign against foreigners who commit crimes, said that immigration should be restricted.

He stressed a referendum should be held on whether the European Union should follow up or break off talks with Turkey on possible membership.

He also said Austria should use its role as a neutral country more actively as a mediator in international conflicts and not as a party.

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14. Iran backs Syria at nuclear body

2008/10/01
BBC

An Iranian envoy says Tehran has dropped its bid for a seat on the board of the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Iran wanted to make way for its regional ally Syria to become a board member instead.
Iran and Syria have both been accused by some countries of engaging in clandestine nuclear activity.
Iran says it will continue enriching uranium, which it says is for civilian purposes only, despite the latest UN resolution calling on it to stop.
“The Islamic Republic has officially refrained from pursuing its right to be nominated to the board to pave the way for the membership of Syria,” Mr Soltanieh said in remarks carried by the state-run al-Alam website.
The International Atomic Energy Agency board comprises of 35 members elected annually by the body’s highest policy-making body, the General Conference of all member states.
Syria and Iran had both been competing for the seat reserved for a Middle Eastern and South Asian country.
US allegations
Opposition to Syria’s election – and Iran’s before it’s withdrawal – is led by the US, which wants the seat to go to its close ally Afghanistan.
Unless the regional group can agree on a single candidate, the assembly will hold a vote at the end of this week’s conference.
Correspondents say it would be an unprecedented and highly divisive move in a body that prides itself on consensus.
Syria has the backing of the Arab League, which makes up a significant proportion of the regional group.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has been investigating Syria over US intelligence allegations that it was building a secret, plutonium-producing reactor.
Israel destroyed the site in an air strike in 2007.
Preliminary inspections by an IAEA team have shown no evidence of the US allegations. Syria denies any nuclear proliferation or hiding any activities from the watchdog.
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15. Newspaper Banned For Publishing Pro-Kurdish Views

September 26 2008
BIA

The newspaper Alternatif has been banned for publishing the views of Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Workers Party, and Murat Karayilan, a high-level officer of the same party.

Istanbul’s 9th High Criminal Court has banned the circulation of the newspaper Alternatif for one month on the grounds that it published statements on behalf of the “PKK/KONGRA-GEL” (Kurdish Workers Party). Alternatif had begun its life in May.

The court concluded the application by the Office of the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor to have the September 20 issue of the newspaper seized on the same day that it was filed and the newspaper’s sale and circulation were banned.
Punishment of one month for the statements of Öcalan and Karayilan

The two articles for which the newspaper was banned were titled “They can meet with the Democratic Society Party for solving the problem” and “Claim your mother tongue”, first one expressing the opinions of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), who is in prison for life, and the second one Murat Karayilan’s, another high-level PKK official.

In the article, Öcalan says that he was given medicine that helped his breathing, but was being subjected to many disciplinary punishments for provoking people with his messages, and another punishment was on its way.

Öcalan is quoted in the article as saying “I am warning the people against the cultural genocide and the dangers; I express my opinions. They want me to hand over the people to them, without resisting…”

In the other article, Karayilan mainly talks about the issue of mother tongue and announces that he supports those who show their reaction to the ban on Kurdish and “the cultural genocide policies.”
Düsün: We will not compromise our principles

Cevat Düsün, license holder and chief editor for the newspapers Alternatif and Gelecek, says that they will not give up even thoughboth newspapers were banned three times altogether.

“We will continue publishing the facts. We will not compromise our principles. Our publishing policy is necessary for Turkey’s democratization. We will not deprive our readers of our goals and their right to information.”

Starting its life on May 19, the newspaper had already received its first banning of one month a week later.
Twelve newspaper have been banned since January 2007

Since January 2007 twelve newspapers have been banned: Gündem six times, Güncel three times, Gerçek and Demokrasi twice each, Yedinci Gün six times, Haftaya Bakis three times, Yasamda Demokrasi once, Toplumsal Demokrasi twice, Öteki Bakis once, Yeni Bakis once, Gelecek, which started its life in May 2008, once, and Alternatif twice.
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16. Iran supreme leader: Israel is on a path to destruction

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press
29 02/10/2008
Haaretz
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said his country will stand beside Gaza’s Hamas rulers and that Israel is on the path to eventual destruction.

According to Iranian state-run TV, Khamenei called Hamas’ prime minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, a “mojahed,” or soldier of holy war, saying the Iranian nation will “never let you be alone.”

It also quoted him as saying Israel’s Zionist regime is moving toward weakness, destruction and defeat and that the current generation of Palestinians will see “that great day.”

Khamenei, who was speaking at prayers marking the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday, has predicted Israel’s downfall in the past, like Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Khamenei has repeatedly called Israel a cancerous tumor that need to be removed from the Middle East.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Sallai Meridor issued a statement in response, saying “not since World War II has the world faced such a dangerous and significant threat. The fanatical Iranian regime, a sponsor of global terror, is threatening the elimination of another state and is striving to achieve a nuclear weapon.

“This should be a moment of truth for the world to take immediate actions to prevent this regime from pursuing the development of a military nuclear capability,” the statement continued.

“In these days of reflection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” Meridor went on to say, “the writing on the wall from Iran presents each and everyone with the question ‘what more can I do in this coming year to prevent this nightmare from becoming a reality?'”

Iran doesn’t recognize Israel and backs the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Israel had close ties with Iran when the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was in power. When the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the shah, Iran broke ties with Israel and turned the Israeli embassy in Tehran into the Palestinian Authority embassy.
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17. Report: Israel believes Syria renewing its nuclear activity

By Yoav Stern,
02/10/2008
Haaretz

Israel believes that Syria has renewed its nuclear activity with the intention of attaining weapons along the Iranian model, the Arabic-language A-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Israeli military officials are concerned that Syria hopes to construct a number of nuclear facilities across the country simultaneously.

The military officials, who were apparently cited during a briefing of “a group of journalists,” said that Israel would not allow Damascus to imitate the Iranian model, and would work tirelessly to halt any such Syrian effort.
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18. British opposition seeks tougher EU action on Iran

October 1, 2008
The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) – Britain’s opposition Conservative Party says Europe should toughen its stance on Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
Tehran insists it is enriching uranium for a civilian power program. The United States and its allies believe Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
Conservative Party foreign affairs spokesman William Hague is calling on the European Union to threaten a ban on new investment in Iranian oil and gas fields.
He also pledged at a rally on Wednesday to hold a full, public inquiry on the buildup to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq if his party wins power in Britain’s next national election. The election must be held no later than May 2010.