CUBA/IRAN: WHERE THE DANGER LIES
Por Manuel Cereijo
Cuban President Fidel Castro met with the Supreme Leader (10.5.2001) Tehran, May 10 - The visiting Cuban President Fidel Castro met with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday. In the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the Islamic Republic of Iran regards any struggle and resistance against the arrogance as righteous. Touching on vast commom ground between Iran and Cuba in various areas including standing up to the US, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Iranian nation feels attached to the Cuban nation because of its resistance against the US bullying behaviour since this is considered a value according to Islamic principles.
Ayatollah Khamenei noted religion should be at the service of man and his needs, expressing regret that Christian Leadership is indifferent towards justice as man's most important need. "Religious thought is one based on a profound philosophy and strong logic and the reason for the US hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is the practical effects of the Islamic thought in the world," the Supreme Leader told the Cuban president... Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the role of the Islamic thought in filling the spiritual vacuum in the world today and the special importance Islam attaches to justice. The Supreme Leader remarked the key to the steadfastness of the Islamic Revolution of Iran is people's belief in Islamic concepts and thought. On his part, Fidel Castro expressed delight over his visit to Iran, which he described as the world's spiritual center. Castro told Ayatollah Khamenei that his remarks on Islam and religious concepts have greatly impressed him. Castro termed the bullying practices of the West, specially the US, as uncivilized despite superficial propaganda. "The Iranian and Cuban nations can cooperate with each other to ground the US," he concluded.
Ayatollah Khamenei, Fidel Castro Meet (9.5.2001)Tehran, May 9, IRNA -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei met with the visiting Cuban President Fidel Castro Wednesday afternoon. Ayatollah Khamenei in the meeting referred to the foundations of the Iranian nation's Islamic beliefs and the role their strong belief in God played in their firm resistance against the global arrogance, particularly the US hegemony. "It is based on such beliefs and mentality that the Islamic Republic of Iran regards any resistance against arrogance in the world as a righteous move," said the Iranian Supreme Leader.
Highlighting the numerous commonalties between Iran and Cuba, including resistance against the US global hegemony, Ayatollah Khamenei said, "our resistance against the US hegemony is based upon our Islamic beliefs, since in Islam, resistance against injustice is a value. The Iranian leader elaborated that the main objective of religions is being at the service of the mankind and fulfillment of the people's needs. He said that Islamic logic is today capable of answering the mankind's demands of the day. Ayatollah Khamenei meanwhile criticized the Christian churches of the day for remaining often silent or indifferent when they encounter injustice, while observing justice is the highest need of the mankind. The supreme Iranian leader further remarked that the Islamic mentality has eliminated the spiritual gap from which the mankind suffered today. He also stressed the utmost importance that Islam attaches to observing justice at all circumstances and under any condition. Ayatollah Khamenei added, "authentic religious thoughts are based on a deep philosophy and a strong logic and the main reason why the US administrations are at odds with the Islamic Republic of Iran is the practical effects of the Islamic mentality on the world masses' minds. He also said that the secret of the Islamic Revolution's successful resistance against the US pressures is the people's religious mentality, based on which "we consider the American regime as an arrogant power, seeking a unipolar world, to which we seriously object." Reiterating that the American regime is weak and extremely vulnerable today, the Ayatollah stressed, "the US grandeur is quite fragile today and if that objective is materialized, it is a great service rendered to the mankind, including the American nation." Ayatollah Khamenei assured Fidel Castro that Iran and Cuba can achieve that goal, hand in hand.
During the meeting, attended also by Iran's President Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President Castro expressed his heartfelt delight over his presence in Iran, which he said is a valuable, divine country.
Fidel Castro said that Iran is the center of spirituality in the world today and told Ayatollah Khamenei that his words on Islam and religious values had deeply impressed him. Terming the western approach towards different civilizations and religions as discriminating, Castro said in the West high budgets are allocated to projects aimed at deviation of the mankind's minds from the sheer truths and realities. Castro denounced the Western hegemony and said that the West, and particularly the US administrations, despite their vast propaganda, acts in a totally uncivilized manner. He agreed with Ayatollah Khamenei on the point that the US is extremely weak today, adding, "we are today eye-witness to their weakness, as their close neighbors." The Cuban President further stressed, "we are not scared of America today, and the Cuban nation is stronger than ever in the past, forty years after the victory of its revolution." He once again agreed with Ayatollah Khamenei on the point that Iran and Cuba can hand in hand defeat America. T
The 74-year-old Cuban leader, (presently 77 years old) leading a ranking delegation of officials and businessmen, arrived here Monday night on his first-ever visit to Tehran for a three-day stay. His visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran is mainly aimed at expanding ties between the two nations, in addition to drafting the future scheme of the G-77 of developing nations, whose presidency is currently held by Tehran. Castro has already held talks with President Mohammad Khatami and Parliamentary Speaker Mehdi Karroubi. The two countries have always enjoyed strong cordial relations and Cuba has always backed the Islamic Republic's stances at international scenes.
Iran's Nuclear Program
Why would Iran, a country that has some of the world's largest reserves of fossil fuels, need an extensive, multibillion-dollar program of nuclear development? The determination of this country to build nuclear power plants has aroused wide suspicion.
Why would Iran, a country that is self-supplied of medicines, have Cuba built for it the largest Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in that entire region? It took 3 years to be built-1998-2001. The building of this Center has aroused also wide suspicion.
What is it like to live in a world in which the materials and technology for making nuclear weapons are freely traded? We are in the midst of finding out. Earlier this year, investigators determined that Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan sold some of the technologies he used to build Pakistan's nuclear bomb to several governments that had long sought atomic bombs, including Iran. Clearly, the threat of the casual use of nuclear weapons and of nuclear terrorism has been catapulted from the abstract to the alarmingly concrete.
A series of revelations and new findings during last year has left little doubt that Iran has been secretly engaged in an extensive program aimed at making and working with material that can be used in nuclear weapons. The Iranians have been assembling the nuclear wherewithal with a speed and determination not seen since the heyday of Iraq's nuclear weapons programs of the 1980s.
Iran's quest-biological center and nuclear development-occurring in a region radically transformed by global terrorist networks and suicide tactics, which are fueled by deep-rooted hatreds, tests the will of the international community to block development of WMDs.
North Korea's leader Kim Jong II started to barter the country's advanced missile technology for nuclear know-how. Reportedly, it has sent missiles to Cuba, via Iraq. Also, so many North Korean missile scientists are in Iran today that a beach resort was built for them.
It is the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, that must determine whether drastic international action is necessary-a job that is stretching its resources and resourcefulness to the limit. Since the 1991 Gulf War, the agency has been quietly transforming itself, as fast as a bureaucracy of 2200 can, to burnish a reputation tarnished by its failure in the 1980s to detect Hussein,s once - huge secret nuclear weapons program, as well as its failure not only to alert the international community regarding the Juragua nuclear plant defects in Cuba, but providing Cuba with over $16 million between 1992-1998.
Effective handling of the Iran case will depend heavily on cooperation between the IAEA and the United States. IEAE director Mohamed ElBaradei and President George Bush met on March 17, 2004, to lash out differences and strategize.
The IAEA's key findings about Iran are in reports released in March 2004 and November 2003, with the next important one due this month. In November, the IAEA concluded that Iran's nuclear program consists of practically everything needed to fuel a reactor or in effect to produce materials for bombs, including uranium mining and milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and heavy water production.
Furthermore, following up allegations firs made by IRANIAN DISSIDENTS the year before, Iran has now acknowledge that it has been developing, for 18 years, a uranium centrifuge enrichment program, and, for 12 years, a laser enrichment program. Iran has conducted some nuclear activities secretly because they are under economic embargo and subject to preemptive strikes, they have received much assistance from Planta Mecanica, in Cuba, as well as from research in the newly built Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology built by Cuba. Also, Cuba has provided Iran with intelligence obtained by Cuba's Bejucal Electronic Base.
The critical elements of Iran's nuclear program include not just the enrichment plants at Natanz but also plants to start building this next month (July, 2004), a 30-40 MW natural-uranium-fueled, heavy-water research reactor, with all associated equipment.
This situation is more dangerous than ever, not only because of Cuba's geographic proximity to the United States, but because terrorist groups like Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah are pursuing apocalyptic ends.