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Author Topic:   Info about Iran's Shihab series missile program
posted May 14, 2001 12:13     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Israel urges U.S., E.U. to halt aid to Iran
JERUSALEM [MENL] May 11 -- Israel has urged the European Union and the United States to maintain sanctions on and halt aid to Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has relayed messages to both European governments and the Bush administration that warn of Iran's advancement toward a completion of intermediate- and long-range missile programs. Sharon's message said Western aid could accelerate the missile programs as well as provide international legitimacy to Teheran's efforts.

Israeli sources said Iran is focusing on three missiles. One is the Shihab-3 missile, with a range of 1,300 kilometers. The other is the Shihab-4, which the sources said will have a range of up to 2,500. The third is a missile that will have a range of 5,000 kilometers.

"Iran with the help and support of Russia and North Korea is making a tremendous effort to make missiles and weapons of mass destruction," Sharon said.

"They have one of 1,300 kilometers, going to 2,500 kilometers and thinking of missiles of 5,000 kilometers. The danger is not only for Israel. The danger is for the entire region."

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posted June 01, 2001 10:28     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran says it tested first surface-to-surface missile

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) May 31 - Iran successfully tested its first solid-fueled
surface-to-surface missile, state-run Tehran radio reported Thursday.
The guided Fateh-110 missile was developed at the government-owned
Aerospace Industries, the radio said.

"Fateh-110, a super-modern surface-to-surface missile, functions with
combined solid-fuel, is able to cause great damage and finds targets with
accuracy. The missile is classified among Iran's most efficient missiles,"
the radio report said.

The broadcast did not give the missile's range, say when the test took
place or provide further details. Defense Ministry officials were not
available Thursday for comment.

Iran has built and tested several missiles, including the Shahab-3, which
has a range of 810 miles and, unlike the Fateh-110, uses a mixture of
liquid and solid fuel.

Washington has said the Shahab-3 enables Iran to hit Israel and U.S.
troops stationed in the Gulf.

U.S. State Department officials have said that Iran is a major recipient
of missile technology from Russia, North Korea and China.

Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani has said his country has a domestic
missile industry and needs no foreign technology.

Washington criticized Russia's decision last December to ignore its 1995
pledge not to sell tanks and conventional weapons to Iran.

Russia has said it is not violating any nonproliferation agreements,
arguing the weapons serve only defensive needs and cannot be used to
develop weapons of mass destruction.

Iran had virtually no arms industry before the 1979 Islamic revolution,
when Iran, under the U.S.-backed shah, bought virtually all of its weapons
from Washington.

Iran began an ambitious arms development program during the Iraq-Iraq war
from 1980 to 1988 to compensate for weapons shortages caused by a
post-revolution U.S. embargo.

Since 1992, Iran has unveiled its own tanks, armored personnel carriers,
missiles and a fighter plane.

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posted June 02, 2001 11:07     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MENL: Iran reports success in test of new missile

NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran has reported the first successful test of its solid-fuel surface-to-surface missile. The test was that of the Fateh-110 surface-to-surface guided missile. The missile is said to be a solid-fuel rocket that has achieved high accuracy. "Fateh-110, a super-modern surface-to-surface missile, functions with combined solid-fuel, is able to cause great damage and finds targets with accuracy," state-owned Teheran radio said on Thursday. "The missile is classified among Iran's most efficient missiles."

Western intelligence sources said Iran has for years been struggling with the development of a solid-fuel missile. They said North Korean missile aid to Teheran was unable to solve the difficulties. The Teheran-based Islamic Republic News Agency added that Fateh rocket was designed and developed by the Iranian army. The rocket was termed as "one of the most effective weapons" of the Iranian military.

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posted June 02, 2001 11:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CP: British Columbia judge nixes U.S. extradition bid for men in
missile-parts smuggling case

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. (CP) June 1 -- A B.C. Supreme Court justice refused Thursday to extradite two Vancouver men to the United States to face charges of conspiring to export missile components to Iran.

Ending a three-year legal battle, Justice Selwyn Romilly found there was insufficient evidence that Mohsen Lessan, 32, and Reza Akrami, 63, had reached an agreement to illegally export arms to Iran. "The law on this issue is not complicated," Romilly says in his written reasons for judgment. "The Crown must prove an agreement, which it has not done.

Lessan, a former real estate agent, said he was relieved finally to be a free man after having the allegations "hanging over my head" since he and Akrami were arrested on May 12, 1998.

"Three years of false allegations ... destroyed my reputation," Lessan said. "I was a real estate agent. I had to turn in my licence. ... Basically, I lost everything I built up over the last 14 years."

Akrami did not speak to reporters but his lawyer, Michael Bolton, said: "His life has been completely in limbo during these proceedings. He's a tremendously relieved man today."

Bolton said Akrami, trained as a cardiovascular surgeon in Iran, may now pursue a career in medicine in Canada.

Both Lessan and Akrami -- Canadian citizens of Iranian descent -- were on bail during the three-year-long extradition hearings but had to turn in their passports and were not allowed to leave Canada.

Deborah Strachan, a federal prosecutor who argued the United States's case during the hearing, refused to comment on the decision.

Romilly's decision details how the investigation into Lessan and Akrami began when Abrahmi Hamidi, working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, launched an undercover operation against them.

Hamidi, passing himself off as "Dr. Afshar," contacted Lessan in June 1995 and told him he could broker the purchase of aircraft for export to Iran.

The next month, Lessan introduced Hamidi to Akrami in San Francisco.

During that meeting, according to U.S. authorities, "Akrami ... indicated that he was used by Iran to purchase high tech equipment in contravention of U.S. sanctions against Iran, and that Iran paid for the purchases with money that could not be traced back to Iran."

The meeting moved to a yacht where Hamidi alleged Akrami and Lessan indicated they wanted to purchase equipment and weapons for Iran.

U.S. authorities allege several meetings followed, primarily between Akrami and Hamidi. The two allegedly discussed the possibility of Hamidi selling Akrami several high-tech Klystron tubes, used in anti-aircraft missile-guidance systems.

American prosecutors alleged these discussions constituted a conspiracy to violate the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and a trade embargo with Iran imposed by then-U.S. president Bill Clinton in 1995.

U.S. authorities also allege that Akrami discussed the possibility with Hamidi of buying the Klystron tubes with opium or heroin.

The exchange of Klystron tubes for heroin never occurred.

Charges were laid against Akrami and Lessan in U.S. district court on May 7, 1998, and the two were arrested May 12 by the RCMP.

Romilly ruled there was no evidence that Lessan was involved in the negotiations to export the missile parts to Iran beyond his initial role in introducing Akrami and the undercover agent.

And while there was ample evidence of discussions between Akrami and the agent Hamidi to export Klystron tubes to Iran, that did not legally constitute a conspiracy.

"Akrami could not conspire with an undercover agent, someone who manifestly had no intention to agree," Romilly wrote.

Bolton argued during the extradition hearing in March that Hamidi -- who was arrested for heroin trafficking in 1994 and served several months in a U.S. prison -- was allowed to return to Canada to conduct "random virtue testing" in Vancouver's Iranian community by trying to get people involved in a variety of illegal schemes.

Hamidi testified at the extradition hearing in March, but only after being subpoenaed and brought to the court by sheriffs. His testimony often appeared confused and he told the court he had suffered brain damage.

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posted June 02, 2001 11:12     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reuters: Judge won't send accused arms smugglers to U.S.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 1 (Reuters) - Canadian prosecutors may appeal a judge's refusal to extradite two men to the United States, where they are accused of conspiring to ship military parts to Iran, a spokesman said on Friday.

A British Columbia Supreme Court Judge ruled on Thursday there was insufficient evidence to support charges against Reza Akrami, 63, and Mohsen Lessan, 36, who are both Iranian-born Canadian citizens. Akrami and Lessan were indicted in 1998 by a U.S. federal grand jury in San Francisco in an alleged scheme to ship parts for a missile system and airplanes to Iran in exchange for drugs. They were arrested in Canada at the United States' request.

The men's case sparked complaints by U.S. officials that Canada was being used as a conduit to evade the U.S. trade embargo on Iran. Canada does not have such an embargo, but bans the shipment to Iran of U.S.-made goods. Akrami and Lessan both denied wrongdoing. Akrami's lawyer accused U.S. officials of trying to entrap the men. No drugs or military parts were ever exchanged.

Judge Selwyn Romilly noted in his ruling that no deal to conduct the smuggling was ever struck and said a "properly instructed jury" would not convict the men of conspiracy for only having talked about breaking the law.

Canadian federal prosecutors, who represented the United States in the extradition hearing, will study the judge's ruling and talk with their U.S. counterparts before deciding on an appeal, spokesman Bob Prior said. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco was not immediately available for comment.

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posted June 03, 2001 12:10     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Turkey voices concern over Iranian missile test

ANKARA, June 2 (AFP) - Turkey has expressed concern over a new surface-to-surface guided missile test by its eastern neighbor, Iran. "The test of a Fateh missile by Iran on May 31 has caused concern in our country," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said in a written statement late Friday.

"We have repeatedly conveyed to Iran our concerns over the issue and we are closely following the developments," he added.

Iranian state television reported Thursday that Iran has successfully tested the home-built Fateh (Victorious) 110 missile, stressing that it would be among the most effective weapons in the country's armed forces. There was no official word on the details of the missile, notably its range.

Last year Iran successfully launched the Shahab-3 missile with a range of 1,300 kilometres (800 miles), bringing arch-foe Israel in reach.

Turkey, mainly Muslim but strictly secular, has often accused Tehran of supporting radical Islamist groups in Turkey as part of what Turkish officials describe as Iran's bid to export the Islamic revolution.

Ankara has also complained over what it sees as Iranian tolerance to the presence on its territory of Kurdish rebels who have waged a 15-year war against Ankara for self-rule.

Tehran rejects both accusations.

Iran is developing a comprehensive domestic defence industry which has turned out a new transport plane, a combat helicopter, a submarine and a guided-missile warship.

It has also decided to resume military purchases from Russia, to the annoyance of the United States, which deems Iran a supporter of terrorism.

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posted June 03, 2001 12:14     Click Here to See the Profile for Shahrzad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
B.C. court clears men accused of arms dealing

The National Post
Stewart Bell, with files from Trude Huebner

U.S. prosecutors claimed men sought missile parts for Iran's rogue regime

June 1, 2001

Two Vancouver men accused by the United States of being arms dealers who sought missile and fighter plane parts for Iran's rogue regime were cleared yesterday after a British Columbia judge ruled there was not enough evidence to support their extradition.

Reza Akrami and Mohsen Lessan were arrested in 1998 after U.S. prosecutors alleged they had negotiated to purchase military hardware from an undercover agent in California. The United States contends they were working for Tehran in violation of an arms embargo.

But after three years of sporadic hearings, Justice Selwyn Romilly ruled there was no proof Mr. Akrami or Mr. Lessan conspired to buy Klystron tubes, a classified component of the Hawk missile defence system, or to pay for them with drugs, as the United States had alleged.

"There is no evidence Akrami and any other person ever reached the point of agreeing to exchange heroin for Klystron tubes," Judge Romilly said. "The evidence simply demonstrates that the possibility was discussed and that there were some preliminary negotiations."

In an interview following the B.C. Supreme Court decision, Mr. Lessan, who came to Canada from Iran as a refugee in 1988, said he had expected to be cleared. "I never had any intention of doing anything illegal. It was just merely talk. There wasn't any conspiracy."

An arms embargo has been in effect against Iran since 1979, when the radical Islamist regime came to power and launched a continuing campaign of state-sponsored global terrorism. According to U.S. prosecutors, Mr. Akrami met with undercover drug enforcement agents in San Francisco in 1995, telling them he had been asked by Iran to help skirt the ban by shipping high-tech products "including weapons and arms" through a third country.

He later faxed the undercover agent a wish list of items wanted by Iran, including parts for fighter planes, computers for a nuclear reactor in Tehran and an electronic tube used in the guidance systems of ground-based missiles.

Mr. Akrami told the agent Iran was prepared to buy "as many tubes as the agent could come up with" and promised $200-million worth of business. At one point, Mr. Akrami allegedly offered to pay for the tubes with opium or heroin.

A U.S. agent eventually spoke directly with Mr. Akrami's contact in Iran but no money or merchandise ever changed hands, and there was never any formal deal regarding quantity, price or the timing of the arrangement, Judge Romilly said.

The judge said the evidence was so thin that if the case ever went to trial the judge would have to direct the jury to return a not-guilty verdict. "No properly instructed jury could convict Akrami of the conspiracies alleged." He also said Mr. Lessan had denied any knowledge of a plan to buy the missile parts and that there was no evidence to the contrary. There were questions about the U.S. case from the start. The Canadian informant who lured Mr. Akrami and Mr. Leesan to the U.S. undercover agent was a drug dealer who offered up his friends in exchange for leniency.

Mr. Lessan told the National Post yesterday that after representing himself throughout his extradition battle he was considering becoming a lawyer. He said the past three years had been "like getting hit by a truck." He lost his job and his life has been on hold. "You just sit there and see the whole life that you planned just going down the drain." Mr. Lessan also said that following his arrest, the U.S. prosecutor came to Vancouver and offered him a deal in exchange for information and testimony against Mr. Akrami. He claims he was urged to break into Mr. Akrami's computer.

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