Iran: July 10, 2003



 The US government has accused 18 American companies of illegal selling weapons and equipment sales to Iran. A front company in Britain coordinated these activities. The companies were charged with illegally providing spare parts for HAWK missiles, F-14,  F-4 and F-5 warplanes, C-130 transports and military radars. Such sales have been rumored for years. 

July 9, 2003: Despite the presence of  hundreds of riot police, and nearly as many Basij and Ansar Hezbollah Islamic conservative vigilantes, some 10,000 cars massed around Tehran University in an illegal demonstration commemorating the first student riots against Islamic rule back in 1999. Some 58 people were reported to have been arrested, and more were pulled out of their cars and beaten by the Islamic vigilantes. There have been more instances of protesters fighting back, but such resistance has been much less than the intimidation and violence provided by the Islamic vigilantes and police. But the number of clashes continues to increase. What the government, largely controlled by the Islamic conservatives, fears most is open rebellion, and that appears to be approaching. The Islamic conservatives show no willingness to compromise on their view that Iran should remain dominated by Islamic clerics. 

The government is stonewalling European and American demands for tough nuclear weapons inspections. Russia is also pushing for the inspections, which is important because Russia is supplying most of the nuclear technology. The dispute with the European governments is threatening vital economic relationships with European suppliers and providing one more thing for most Iranians to dislike about their government. 





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