Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 3 Jan 2000 to 4 Jan 2000

There are 7 messages totalling 618 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Agricultural Branch Slighted in 3rd Plan
2. Majlis Rejects Move to Abolish Run-offs
3. Right Wings MPs' Last Ditch
4. 8th Iranian Congress on Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine
6. Fwd: Please Help! Urgent Action Appeal to the United Nations
7. Fwd: Letter to UN by Committee of Concerned Scientists

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 06:31:07 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Agricultural Branch Slighted in 3rd Plan


Agricultural Branch Slighted in 3rd Plan

The managing director of the Agricultural Investment Company told reporters
last week that the government's economic administrators were completely
ignorant, adding that that was precisely why they had paid scant attention to
agriculture in the national Third 5-Year Economic Development Plan (March

His statements are especially relevant seeing as the First and Second plans
had equally failed to do justice to the agricultural sector, despite its
exceptional importance and the fact that each rial invested in the sector
yields 21 times as much in profit.

Agriculture ensures one-fourth of the gross domestic product, creates
one-fourth of all jobs, produces over 80 percent of all domestic food,
provides one-third of all non-oil exports, generates 90 percent of the raw
material for the national industry and could arguably be the most dynamic
branch of the national economy. Yet despite all of the above, impatient state
administrators obsessed with industrialization believe they can industrialize
the country simply by putting up one factory after another. This attitude has
led to the construction of many factories now operating on less than 50
percent nominal capacity, and of tens of thousands of unfinished ones
currently weighing rather heavily on the economy.

Now everyone's wondering where the money to finish those factories could
possibly be found -- and why our economic administrators aren't learning from
their past mistakes.

To concentrate on industry isn't wrong in any way, and is even laudable --
provided the approach is planned properly and logically, and the matter is
carefully coordinated with other important economic branches of the economy.
But if industrialization means more factories to the detriment of the
agricultural branch, it is wholly unjustified, and arguably amounts to a
downright act of treason on the country's economic development.

In short, we hope our state administrators won't commit the same mistakes
again, and will make the necessary amendments in the Third Plan to boost our

Lack of government's support to the agricultural sector during the Second
Plan had anxious investors withdrawing their capital, and exposing the sector
to a severe crisis.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that despite lack of support from the
government, during the last four years of the Second Plan, the agricultural
branch registered a 4.4 percent increase in value, which was 4.3 percent
above predictions. Now one wonders how much that branch would have yielded
had it received enough government's support and attention.

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 06:32:24 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Majlis Rejects Move to Abolish Run-offs

Majlis Rejects Move to Abolish Run-offs

* Candidates Required to Win at Least One-Fourth of Total Votes in First

* Lari Hails Majlis Decision


TEHRAN -- The Parliament here yesterday passed a legislation which required
the candidates to win at least 25 percent of total votes to be elected to the
Majlis in the first round of the elections.

The former law had required the candidates to win at least one-third of the
total votes to be elected in the first round of elections.

The legislation concerning the second round (run-off) elections remained
unchanged and the candidate who wins the majority in the run-off elections
will go to the Majlis.

The proposal on holding the February 18 elections in a single round and
cancelling the run-off elections failed to receive majority of votes in
yesterday session of the Parliament.

Yesterday session of Majlis was held in the presence of 231 deputies and with
an hour delay from the normal schedule.

The session, presided over by Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, was opened with
recitation of verses from the Holy Quran which was followed by the
announcement of topics of the agenda as read by a member of the Majlis
Presiding Board, Mohammad-Reza Mavalizadeh.

A question by Mohammad-Nasser Tavassoli, deputy from Torbat Heydariyeh, from
the Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari and debate over the
double-urgent motion on the ban to use color posters in the campaign for the
forthcoming parliamentary election were on the agenda.

The outlines of the motion have already been approved but a proposal raised
by Tehran deputy Mohammad-Reza Bahonar on abolition of run-offs, brought the
Sunday session to a halt.

Prior to the open session, Majlis deputies had a private meeting in which
they discussed and exchanged views over the Sunday event and underlined the
need for convergence among the MPs.

Speaking at the start of yesterday session, Speaker Nateq- Nouri said the
reason for the delay was the closed-door session due to which no pre-agenda
speech was delivered.

Meanwhile, Lari said here yesterday, "The proposed ruling requiring
candidates to receive a minimum of 25 percent of the votes to be elected to
the Parliament is definitely a better proposal than the one put forward by MP
Mohammad-Reza Bahonar which would have meant the governing of a minority over
a majority."

He told reporters, "We were of the view that if the minimum votes required
cannot be half plus one (for election of an candidate to the Parliament)
then, it should be at least one-third."

"However, we will abide by whatever the Parliament ratifies," Lari added.

He said that there is still unresolved issue with the Guardian Council
concerning publishing serial numbers on ballot sheets, adding that the
regulation prohibiting use of color posters in the campaign as ratified by
the Parliament will be enforced.

Lari also stated that if there is a infraction regarding regulation
concerning Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) airing some of the
candidates in its various programs, then the law has to be applied by the
`IRIB's Supervisory Board.'

He added, "What we are after is that all the organs should apply equal
justice and especially IRIB should remain neutral in the upcoming elections."

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 06:33:20 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Right Wings MPs' Last Ditch

Right Wings MPs' Last Ditch


TEHRAN -- Yesterday a closed-door session of the Majlis voted against right
wing MP Mohammad-Reza Bahonar's proposal to hold the elections in a single
stage. Immediately after the decision, Ali Moali, another right wing deputy
suggested that if during the first stage a candidate garners 20 percent of
the total votes he/she must be allowed to enter the Majlis. But upon
objection from the left wing, Moali increased the number to 25 percent and
his suggestion was ratified by the house.

The reason for increasing the number was that the 20 percent quota had been
proposed and rejected last week.

It must be noted that according to the election law, the candidates needed at
least one-third of the votes during the first stage to step into the Majlis
and the reason for reducing it to 25 percent is to allow the right wing to
collect nearly that amount of votes from their traditional supporters to win
Majlis seats.

On the other hand, the right wing MPs last Sunday approved that no candidate
should use posters and pictures during the election campaign.

Hassan Kamran Dastjerdi, another right wing deputy, even called for setting
the maximum size of election tracts which was rejected. But he intends to
introduce a double-urgency move in the coming days to fix the size of
advertisement tracts in the open session of the Majlis.

A double-urgency act should be decided within 48 hours and even the members
of the Guardian Council attend the open session.

The fact is that during the last two months that the deadline for Majlis
elections is approaching, the right wing has resorted to opinion polls and
realized that it cannot easily overcome its strong rivals during the Sixth
Majlis Elections.

This is because at least during the last two years it has not left a good
record and impression among the public. The impeachment of Abdullah Nouri
(former interior minister) and Ataollah Mohajerani (minister of culture and
Islamic guidance), the amendment of the Press Law which has imposed limits on
the press, the arrest and trial of a sizable number of journalists and the
closure of papers favored by the majority of the people, are the negative
steps by the right wing which the public has not forgotten.

On the other hand, the conservative right wing has understood that it has no
base among the academicians and students because their traditional beliefs no
more impress them and due to a youthful population in the country the luck of
that faction is declining day by day.

Another problem with the right wing is that it has almost been disarmed.

In other words, due to public awareness and repeated protests and specially
after the May 23 presidential elections, the right wing has almost lost the
backing of the Guardian Council which in previous terms disqualified rival
candidates or cancelled the elections, or the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran
Broadcasting) which publicized their opinion.

Of other reasons for the loss of power by the right wing compared to the
past, is the large number of newspapers which support the reformist and left
wing and which leave an important impact on the public opinion.

But the most important reason for the right wing's loss of ground among the
people is that they oppose Khatami's government and its reformist policies.
This has badly destroyed the reputation of the right wing and has helped
other factors to further disarm the conservatives.

has helped other factors to further disarm the conservatives.

Anyhow it seems that the right wing is making its last exertions these days
perhaps to improve its declining luck, but apparently they have started too
late to think of improving their image.

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 06:34:03 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: 8th Iranian Congress on Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine

8th Iranian Congress on Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine

to Be Held on Jan. 16-20


TEHRAN -- The Eighth Iranian Congress on Infectious Diseases and Tropical
Medicine is due to be held on January 16-20 in Tehran.

Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, head of the congress, told reporters yesterday: "The
congress will introduce the latest findings on contagious diseases.

Some 350 articles to be presented in the event have been sent to the
secretariat from across the country, out of which 104 will be read to the
audience, and the remaining ones will be presented in the form of posters."

Referring to the overall prevalence of contagious diseases, he stressed the
need for their early identification, and added that the spreading of these
diseases depended on the hygienic situation in the immediate environment.

"The disease which claims the largest number of victims throughout the world
is tuberculoses", he said, and mentioned that nowadays, about eight million
people suffered from it. "Today, AIDS is a key factor responsible for the
transmission of most diseases, including TB", he added.

According to the statistics, in industrialized countries, from a population
of 100,000 an average of less than 20 people are afflicted by TB, though the
rate is one of 40 people in Iran, and more than 80 in some countries.

"Currently, 22,000 people in Iran suffer from TB", Velayati pointed out,
adding that one third of the country's population is liable to become
afflicted by the disease.

He stressed the easy access to free and efficient anti-TB substances, and
said government and parliament should make a joint effort to provide free
care for those suffering from tuberculosis.

Velayati concluded by saying that a number of prominent professors from
Russia, France and the United States were expected to take part in the

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 06:35:14 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM


Presidential adviser for women affairs and head of Women's Participation
Center, Ms. Zahra Shojaie, said here Sunday that the number of female
candidates for the Sixth Majlis Elections has been increased by 60 percent as
compared to that of the fifth elections.

She said that the total number of candidates registered for the upcoming
elections has been increased by 30 percent compared to the fifth elections.

Shojaie said 504 out of the 6,860 hopefuls, registered for the Sixth Majlis
Elections throughout the country are women.

Tehran, with 153 female candidates, and Khorassan and Isfahan provinces, with
60 and 39 woman candidates, respectively, are enjoying the greatest number of
female candidates for the upcoming elections slated for February 18, she
added. Ilam Province, with no female candidate, and Kohkilouyeh and Boyer
Ahmad Province with only one woman candidate have the least number of women
candidates, she said adding that Bushehr and Semnan provinces also have two
woman candidates each.

The Unity Consolidation Office (UCO) has decided its list of favorite
candidates from Tehran constituency. The list included Abdullah Nouri, Abbas
Abdi, Seyed Ali Akbar Musavi, Ahmad Bourqani, Behzad Nabavi, Hashem Aqajari
and Hamid-Reza Jalaiepour.

UCO, a leftist student organization, was founded by members of Islamic
Association of University Students.

Many reformist candidates, including Mohsen Armin, Abbas Abdi, Mohsen
Mirdamadi and Hashem Aqajari may be disqualified by the Guardian Council, a
source close to May 23 Front campaign headquarters quoted Guardian Council
members as saying.

Assadollah Badamchian, senior member of the rightist Islamic Coalition
Society, said some people are only worried about the disqualification of
certain candidates, but "I believe the Guardian Council has so far truly
discharged its duties and would hopefully offer evidence for
disqualifications." The major concern about the Majlis elections, he added,
is the possibility of rigging by the Interior Ministry which would bring
political backwardness, instead of political development.

The leftist Majma-e Rouhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM) intended to include
Rafsanjani in its list of favorite candidates in spite of opposition by some

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 14:35:08 EST
Subject: Fwd: Please Help! Urgent Action Appeal to the United Nations
Dear About Iran... Reader:

Please consider to immediately fax the following Urgent Action Appeal to the =20
United Nations=E2=80=99 Secretary General and High Commissioner on Human Rig hts on=20
behalf of all prisoners of conscience in Iran. It is especially important t o=20
fax these protest letters as authentic sources from inside Iran have reporte d=20
of the imminence of Mr. Akbar Mohammadi=E2=80=99s execution! Mr. Mohammadi,=20 a=20
peaceful student activist, was arrested following the student demonstrations =20
in July 1999. Please distribute this appeal as widely as possible. =20

For more Information or to subscribe to Farsi publications of About Iran=E2 =80=A6,=20
please contact:
About Iran=E2=80=A6
PO Box 768
Morton Grove, IL 60053, USA
Telephone: (847) 729-5925
Fax: (847) 729-5926
E-mail: AboutIran@Aol.Com

Urgent Action Appeal=E2=80=A6Urgent Action Appeal

Why the Honorable United Nations Secretary General and the Honorable=20
High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights Commission Continue=20
Their Silence on the Human Rights Tragedy in Iran=20

January 2000

To: The Honorable Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, New=20
Fax # (212) 963-4879
The Honorable Mary Robinson, the United Nations=E2=80=99 High Commissioner o n Human=20
Rights, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax# 01141-22-9170123=20

From: (Please Write Your Name and Address)

The Honorable Kofi Annan and the Honorable Mary Robinson:

I regret to inform you that I am disappointed in your continued public=20
silence on the large scale violations of human rights in Iran. During the=20
past several months, I, and many other concerned citizens of the world, have =20
written to you about our grave distress in regard to the inhuman treatment o f=20
pro-democracy activists and students who have been arrested by the Islamic=20
Republic following the large scale crackdown in July 1999. As I wrote to yo u=20
before, I believe that at least one of you should publicly state the United=20
Nations=E2=80=99 concern about the fate of hundreds of peaceful students and =20
activists who have been perishing in the Islamic Republic=E2=80=99s prisons. =20

Whereas on many occasions in the past you have publicly and justly spoke n=20
on human rights violations in various parts of the world, you have obviously =20
chosen to exercise public silence with respect to the Iranian situation. I=20
am wondering why this is the case? What else should happen in Iran before=20
the United Nations=E2=80=99 two foremost and most respected authorities spea k out in=20
support of human rights in Iran? =20

Let me present to you some of the more recent violations of human rights =20
and some of its victims:

=C2=B7 According to several reports in Iranian papers, Mr. Akbar Mohammadi a nd Mr.=20
Ahamd Batebi, two pro-democracy students, have been sentenced to execution.=20 =20
Indeed, authentic sources from inside Iran have reported of the imminence of =20
Mr. Mohammadi=E2=80=99s execution! In closed and unjust revolutionary tribun als of=20
the Islamic Republic, Mr. Mohammadi has been found guilty of throwing=20
cocktail Molotov during the student demonstrations of last July and Mr.=20
Batebi has been found guilty of displaying the bloody shirt of an innocent=20
fellow student who had been injured or killed by the security forces during=20
the same demonstrations. Neither of these two prisoners of conscience have=20
had access to any counsel or their family members during their trials. Ther e=20
are also confirmed reports of severe torture, including beating and=20
DE-clawing, of Mr. Mohammadi! =20
=C2=B7 Many of the activists and students have been sentenced, in closed cou rts=20
without due process or access to counsel, to long term prison sentences. =20
Some of these victims are: Mr. Manuchehr Mohammadi (a student leader),=20
sentenced to 13 years, Mr. Ariya (an Iran Nation Party activist), sentenced=20
to 7 years and 3 months, and Mr. Mehran Mir-Abdolbaghi Kashani (another Iran =20
Nation party activist), sentenced to 9 years. =20
=C2=B7 There are a considerable number of prisoners whose whereabouts and=20
conditions are unknown. Included in this category are: Dr. Houman Farhang=20
Majd, Mr. Houshang Farhang Majd, Mr. Faramarz Esfandiyari, Ms. Mina=20
Shaykh-ol-Eslami, Ms. Parstou Salari, and Mr. Mohammad Reza Sharifi.
=C2=B7 While a limited number of prisoners have been temporarily released, I ran=E2=80=99s=20
longest serving prisoner of conscience under the Islamic Republic, Mr. Abbas =20
Amir-Entezam, Iran=E2=80=99s former Deputy Prime Minister and the winner of=20 the Bruno=20
Kreisky Award in Human Rights, has been imprisoned again. =20
=C2=B7 Many of these prisoners, including Mr. Amir-Entezam, Mr. Khosrow Sayf , Mr.=20
Bahram Namazi and Mr. Farzin Mokhber, suffer from injuries and illnesses=20
inflicted upon them by inhuman prison conditions. They need to be=20
immediately released in order to receive proper medical treatment.=20
=C2=B7 In general, there has been widespread and repetitive use of torture,=20
including beating and the use of sleep deprivation methods, against all the=20
activists and students in prison.
=C2=B7 The Islamic Republic authorities have engaged in a campaign of misinf orming=20
the public about the fate of these prisoners by periodically stating=20
execution sentences against some prisoners and later keeping silent on or=20
recanting their earlier statements. =20
=C2=B7 More recently, newspapers in Iran have reported of a violent suppress ion of=20
a hunger strike by student prisoners in protest against their harsh and=20
inhuman conditions in Evin prison in Tehran. =20

In my view, these violations of human rights in Iran are tragic, and you r=20
public silence on this grave situation in Iran will only bolster the=20
totalitarian regime of the Islamic Republic. I sincerely hope that you will =20
break your silence on Iran and publicly inform the world and the Iranian=20
people of your concern about the fate of all prisoners of conscience in Iran .=20
Will you not do that? I believe you will.


Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 22:42:56 EST
Subject: Fwd: Letter to UN by Committee of Concerned Scientists

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Full-name: About Iran
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 21:48:24 EST
Subject: Letter to UN by Committee of Concerned Scientists
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Dear About Iran... Readers:

Committee of Concerned Scientists has written the following letter in defens e=20
of student activists in Iran to the United Nations' General Secretary and=20
High Commissioner for Human Rights. This letter is signed by the three=20
Co-chairs of the Committee. They are: Professor Joel L. Lebowitz at Rutgers =20
University, Dr. Paul H. Plotz at National Institute of Health and Professor=20
Walter Reich, at George Washington University. Please distribute this lette r=20
as widely as possible. =20

January 4, 2000

The Honorable Kofi Annan =20
Secretary General
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations, New York, NY =20
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Faxed to (212) 963-4879 =20

The Honorable Mary Robinson
High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Faxed to 011 41-22-9170123

We regret the pressing need to address you once again concerning the oppression in Iran of hundreds of pro-democracy activists, including many students.

In our letter to you of October 26, 1999, we asked you to speak out as highl y=20
respected officers of the United Nations against the inhumane treatment of these nonviolent activists who were arrested in a large-scale crackdown in July 1999. Given your record of decrying human rights violations in other parts of the world, we are disappointed in your public silence in this instance.

As an organization of scientists, physicians and academics dedicated to the protection of the human rights and academic freedom of our counterparts around the world, we now reissue our call for your intervention in the face of an alarming deterioration in the situation.
According to reports in Iranian newspapers, two student pro-democracy activists, Akbar Mohammadi and Ahamd Batebi, have been sentenced to death. And other sources in Iran report that the former=E2=80=99s execution is immi nent. =20
Both were tortured and both were tried without access to legal counsel by revolutionary tribunals.

Moreover, many others have also been tried in closed courts and have been dealt lengthy prison sentences. Among them is the student leader Manuchehr Mohammadi, who drew a l3-year sentence. Injuries resulting from torture and illnesses owing to harsh prison conditions are rife among those jailed. And the whereabouts of others are unknown.

The time is long overdue for you to break your silence. By informing the world and the Iranian people of your distress over the plight of all Iranian prisoners of conscience, you may well save innocent lives and bring an end to this stifling oppression.

We remain hopeful that you will act without delay.

Sincerely yours,

Joel L. Lebowitz, Co-chair
Paul H. Plotz, Co-chair
Walter Reich, Co-chair

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 3 Jan 2000 to 4 Jan 2000