Iran: September 26, 2004


: Arab people.)

Iran is dangling lucrative future trade contracts at India in an attempt to get India sell Iran a new radar system that could better detect low flying warplanes. The Iranians are concerned not just with an Israeli air raid, but with the possibility of an American attack. India has been considering the request (a $70 million sale), but is under a lot of pressure from the U.S. to not do the deal. 

September 28, 2004: Some of Iran's hard liners are having second thoughts about supporting al Qaeda operations in Iraq. For the last year, this support of al Qaeda was seen as helpful in preventing the United States from coming after Iran. But those Islamic hardliners in Iran who have a memory point out that Iran supported the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. That proved disastrous for Iran, as the staunchly Sunni al Qaeda and Taliban began to persecute Shia Moslems in Afghanistan. Pro-Iran Shias in Lebanon also remember the hammering they took from hard core Lebanese Sunnis in the 1980s, during the 15 year Lebanese civil war. Increasing the chances of a Sunni "Islamic Republic" in Iraq is seen as potentially disastrous for Iraqi Shias.  This despite the fact that Shias are the majority in Iraq. But Iran has many Islamic conservative factions, and they all keep out of each others way. This prevents a civil war among the Islamic conservative minority that runs Iran mainly through terror and intimidation. When you are in that kind of position, unity is more important than a disagreement over foreign policy. Besides, most Islamic conservatives in Iran support Iraqi Shia radicals like Muqtada al Sadr. The backers of al Sadr have trouble enough in Iraq, because most Iraqi Shia are not interested in an Iraqi Islamic Republic (Shia or Sunni). 


September 22, 2004: The government said it would pay no attention to any foreigners trying to stop Iran from producing its own enriched uranium. Many nations fear this also means building nuclear weapons, but Iran avoids discussing that. Having nuclear weapons is popular with most Iranians, even those who oppose the


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