The Iranian History 2003 AD

 


More Than 300 Dead In Plane Crash

Feb, 19, 2003 AD

The 2003 Iran Ilyushin Il-76 crash was the deadliest aircraft accident in Iran. The crash, on February 19, 2003, killed 302 people, most of them members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. That crash marked the third Il-76 crash in Iran.(Guardian) - An Iranian military plane carrying more than 300 members of the country's Revolutionary Guards crashed in a southeastern province yesterday, almost certainly killing all those on board, the state news agency reported.
The flight was en route from Zahedan, on the Pakistani border, to Kerman, about 500 miles south-east of Tehran. Rescue workers last night searched through the wreckage of the Ilyushin plane that crashed in mountains 50 miles from its destination, near the city of Shahdad.
High-ranking military officials were believed to be among those killed.
Iranian state television said the plane lost contact with the control tower in severe weather but there were no details available as to the cause of the crash. Air traffic controllers at Kerman airport said the pilot had reported bad weather, including strong winds, before losing contact.
Authorities did not mention the possibility of a terrorist attack.
The conservative newspaper Kayhan reported yesterday that security forces had confiscated three surface-to-air missiles from drug smugglers in the region but it was unclear when the seizure took place.
Television reports quoted an unnamed official as saying the Revolutionary Guards had visited the impoverished Sistan-Baluchestan area for an "important mission" but the nature of the mission was not specified.
The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are loyal to the conservative clerics ruling Iran and see themselves as the defenders of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Shah in 1979. Established in the early days of the revolution by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, they initially served as a militia to counter the regular army.
The corps has since grown into a branch of the military, though outside the authority of the executive branch. It has a reputation for religious fervor and hardline views, declaring earlier this month that the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in the 1980s still applied.
Yesterday's crash was the latest in a series of air disasters in Iran involving Russian-built aircraft. A Ukrainian An-140 slammed into a mountainside in December while preparing to land, killing all 46 passengers aboard. Last February, a Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154 airliner, carrying 119 people, flew into mountains near Khorramabad.
The transport minister, Ahmad Khorram, has acknowledged that Iran's air industry is suffering from US sanctions and warned that there would be more air disasters if sanctions on the purchase of American-made planes were not lifted.
The 2003 Iran Ilyushin 76 crash was the deadliest aircraft accident in Iran.
The crash, on February 19, 2003, killed 302 people, most of them members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. That crash marked the third Ilyushin 76 crash in Iran. (Updated: Mar, 3, 2012)





Iran-Iraq Exchange POWs

Mar, 18, 2003 AD

Iraqi soldiers taken as POWs, poster of Imam Khome liberation of Khorramshahr in 1982. Persistence and martyrdom were key elements of this victory. However, during years that followed the war became institutionalized.(IRNA) – On the eve of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iran and Iraq finalized the exchange of prisoners of war (POWs), the official IRNA news agency reported Wednesday, Match, 19, 2003. Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion of Iraq, which lasted from March, 19 to April, 9 2003.
The exchanges of remaining POWs were conducted in the past two days in the Iranian western border Khosravi town of the Kermanshah Province, the report said.
Head of the Iranian POWs Commission Abdollah Najafi said that 351 Iranian prisoners held in Iraqi prisons were released in three stages.
Meanwhile, 888 Iraqi POWs were released by Iran under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross in three stages, he added.
A group of civilians, several pilgrims to holy sites in Iraq and a number of police and military staff were among the Iranian prisoners released by Iraq, he said.
The exchanges came 15 years after the end of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
"With this exchange, there will be no more Iraqi prisoners in Iran," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Tuesday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said the previous year that it had overseen the release of 95,000 Iraqi and Iranian prisoners of war.
The Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988) left tens of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi military personnel, including some who had been held as prisoners of war, are still unaccounted for. Some counts include civilians who disappeared during the conflict. One estimate is that more than 52,000 Iraqis went missing in the war. Officially, the government of Iran lists 8,000 as missing. (Updated: Feb, 29, 2012)





MKO Surrenders To US Forces In Iraq

Apr, 15, 2003 AD

Police guarding Camp Ashraf base of MKO in Iraq  on Dec, 9, 2011 against mounting discontent with US protection of the terrorist group since invasion of Iraq in 2003. Populist flags bearing figures of Shia saints used for deception of public did not work.(Wikipedia) - During the Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988), the MKO terrorist group was given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory. The MKO transferred its headquarters to Iraq in 1986. Government sources claim that over 17,000 Iranians were killed by the MKO. According to the US State Department, the MKO received all of its military support and most of its financial assistance from Saddam's government until the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MKO camps were bombed by coalition forces because of its alliance with Saddam Hussein. On April 15, 2003 U.S. Special Forces brokered a ceasefire agreement with the leaders of the MKO. Each compound surrendered without hostilities. In the operation, the US reportedly captured 6,000 MKO fighters and over 2,000 pieces of military equipment, including 19 British-made Chieftain tanks.. This was a controversial agreement both in the public sphere and privately among the Bush administration due to the MKO's designation as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
The MKO compound outside Fallujah became known as Camp Fallujah and sits adjacent to the other major base in Fallujah, Forward Operating Base Dreamland. Captured MKO members were kept at Camp Ashraf in Diyala province of Iraq, about 100 kilometers west of the Iranian border and 60 kilometers north of Baghdad.
The MKO remains listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the Department of State. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared MKO personnel in Ashraf protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They are currently under the guard of US Military. Defectors from this group are housed separately in a refugee camp within Camp Ashraf, and protected by U.S. Army military police (2003-current), U.S. Marines (2005–2007), and the Bulgarian Army (2006-current)
On January 1, 2009 the U.S. military transferred control of Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi government. On the same day, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki announced that the militant group would not be allowed to base its operations from Iraqi soil.
Iraqi government's crackdown
On January 23, 2009, and while on a visit to Tehran, Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak Al Rubaie reiterated the Iraqi Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that the MKO organization will no longer be able to base itself on Iraqi soil and stated that the members of the organization will have to make a choice, either to go back to Iran or to go to a third country, adding that these measures will be implemented over the next two months.
On July 29, 2009, eleven MKO militants were killed and some were injured in a raid by Iraqi security on the MKO Camp Ashraf. U.S. officials had long opposed a violent takeover of the camp northeast of Baghdad, and the raid is thought to symbolize the declining American influence in Iraq. After the raid, the U.S. Secretary of State stated the issue was "completely within purview." In the course of attack, 36 MKO members were arrested and removed from the camp to a prison in a town named Khalis where the arrestees went on hunger strike for 72 days, 7 of which was dry hunger strike. Finally, the dissidents were released when they were in critical condition.
The US has been using MKO as a bargaining chip against Tehran. During the Iraq war, U.S. troops posted guards at MKO bases. The U.S. military also protected and gave logistical support to the MKO as U.S. officials viewed the group as a high value source of intelligence on Iran. The MKO is credited with revealing Iran's nuclear program in 2003 and alerting Americans to Iranian advancements in nuclear technology.
On January 1, 2009 the U.S. military transferred control of Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi government. On the same day, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki announced that the militant group would not be allowed to base its operations from Iraqi soil.
Iraqi government's crackdown
On January 23, 2009, and while on a visit to Tehran, Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak Al Rubaie reiterated the Iraqi Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that the MKO organization will no longer be able to base itself on Iraqi soil and stated that the members of the organization will have to make a choice, either to go back to Iran or to go to a third country, adding that these measures will be implemented over the next two months.
On July 29, 2009, eleven Iranians were killed and over 500 were injured in a raid by Iraqi security on the MKO Camp Ashraf. U.S. officials had long opposed a violent takeover of the camp northeast of Baghdad, and the raid is thought to symbolize the declining American influence in Iraq. After the raid, the U.S. Secretary of State stated the issue was "completely within purview." In the course of attack, 36 Iranian dissidents were arrested and removed from the camp to a prison in a town named Khalis where the arrestees went on hunger strike for 72 days, 7 of which was dry hunger strike. Finally, the dissidents were released when they were in an extremely critical condition and on the verge of death.
The US has been using MKO as a bargaining chip against Tehran. During the Iraq war, U.S. troops posted guards at MKO bases. The U.S. military also protected and gave logistical support to the MKO as U.S. officials viewed the group as a high value source of intelligence on Iran. The MKO is credited with revealing Iran's nuclear program in 2003 and alerting Americans to Iranian advancements in nuclear technology. (Updated: Feb, 20, 2012)





Iranian Olive Branch To USA

May, 4, 2003 AD

Mullah march during an anti American DemonstrationThrough the Swiss Embassy, Iran sent a letter to the US administration on May, 4th 2003.
The letter included proposal for negotiations, which suggested that Iran was willing to consider far-reaching compromises on its nuclear program, relations with Hezbollah and Hamas and support for a Palestinian peace agreement with Israel as part of a larger peace agreement with the United States. However, this letter has become a contentious issue between the Bush administration and its critics.
Although the US State Department received it by fax, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied in Congressional testimony that she had seen the Iranian offer in 2003 and chastised former State Department, National Security Council and Central Intelligence Agency official for having failed to bring it to her attention at the time.
The courageous Iranian proposal was drafted by the Iranian Ambassador in Paris Sadegh Kharrazi, in consultation with Swiss Ambassador in Tehran Tim Guldimann but only after extensive discussions between Kharrazi and the three top figures in Iranian foreign policy: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, then President Mohammad Khatami and his Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.
It is not clear why the US administration ignored this great chance to restore diplomatic ties with Iran but it is certain that not everyone in Washington is always a truth-teller. Besides, there are outer circles well above the US administration that have a good grip on crucial world matters beyond general public optimistic well-wishing. (Updated: Sep, 20, 2011)





King Of Jordan Visits Tehran

Sep, 2, 2003 AD

King of Jordan Abdollah's visit to Tehran in 2003 came as a surprise because the relations between the two countries were severed after the Islamic Revolution. Ayatollah Khomeini had labeled Melek Hossein, Abdollah's deceased father, a puppet king.Abdollah 2, the king of Jordan entered Tehran. President Khatami personally welcomed him during an official salutation ceremony at the Mehrabad airport. King Abdollah's visit came as a surprise because the relations between the two countries were severed after the Islamic Revolution. Ayatollah Khomeini had labeled Melek Hossein, Abdollah's deceased father, a puppet king, and a bellboy for the western powers. This was one of the reasons that relations between the two countries became cold after the fall of the Pahlavi regime in 1979. President Khatami signaled moderation inside Iran and tried to soften the hardliner image with a smile. But indeed, the real players inside Iranian political system are not ready for such as change mainly because of fear from an open economy, society, freedoms, etc. Abdollah sought to use the opportunity and pursued active diplomacy which was not quite successful with Iran's cold shoulder.
A brief history of Jordan : Jordan gained its independence on May, 25, 1946 as one of many satellite countries created by the British colonists after the WWII. Abdollah is the fourth Hashemite king in a row. At the end of World War I, the territory now comprising Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem was awarded to UK by the League of Nations. The British divided the mandate by establishing the semiautonomous Emirate of Transjordan, later to become Jordan. Jordan was one of the states which assisted Palestinians against Israel. Jordan participated in the war between Israel and Arab states of Syria, Egypt, and Iraq in June 1967. In 1991, Jordan participated in direct peace negotiations with Israel sponsored by the U.S. and has since sought to remain in good relations with Israel.
The latter remains a critical point that is not inline with Iran's foreign policy. Although Iran was one of the few countries to support Israel against Arabs, since 1979 revolution, she does not recognize Israel. (Updated: Sep, 3, 2008)





Shirin Ebadi Becomes Nobel Laurette

Dec, 10, 2003 AD

Shirin Ebadi Receiving Nobel PrizeBorn in Hamedan in 1949, Shirin Ebadi studied law and obtained a doctorate in private law from Tehran University in 1971 but could not practice until 1992 when she succeeded in obtaining a lawyer's licence and set up her own law office. She accepted to defend some national cases such as representing the families of the serial murders victims Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar and Ezzat Ebrahiminejad, killed during the attack on the university dormitory. She also wrote many books on various subjects such as "The Rights of Women", "Children’s Comparative Law", " Tradition and Modernity", "History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran", "The Rights of Refugees" and " The Rights of the Child". Mrs. Ebadi received her Nobel peace prize in 2003 in Norway. (Updated: Dec, 4, 2007)





Quake Destroys BAM

Dec, 26, 2003 AD

Arg Bam CitadelA strong earthquake of 6.6 Richter magnitude jolts the ancient city of Bam at 5:27 AM killing 26,721 people, 9,000 injured and as many as leaving around 60,000 people homeless. The earthquake also destroyed the historical building called Arg of Bam, a citadel made of mud bricks 2000 years ago. A 97 year old woman was found in good health condition after being rescued, 8 days under rubble. Bam was founded during the Sassanid Empire but during Safavid dynasty additions were made. Being located on the historical silk road route, and having a famous Zoroastrian fire altar it had around 10,000 inhabitants through the times. After an invasion by Afghan forces in 1722, the city lost it's glamour and was used as barrack until 1950's when historical monuments became valuable source of income and restorations began. Bam is registered with UNESCO as a world heritage. (Updated: Dec, 5, 2007)





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