Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Jan 2000 to 5 Jan 2000

There are 6 messages totalling 449 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Fwd: Ayatollah Khomeini
2. In Search of a Logical Solution
3. Parliament Puts off Debate on Tough Press Law
4. Personalities Petition President to Ensure Healthy Elections
5. Asefi `Surprised' Over Qadhafi's Island Remarks
6. Fwd: More Urgent Action Appeals for Iran and Mr. Akbar Mohammadi

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 11:56:07 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Ayatollah Khomeini

Iran National Salvation Front

The Times

Iranian cleric, died on June 4, 1989 aged 86

January 1, 2000

" Khomeini's rule was, in all significant respects, a disaster.

For Iran it was comparable to the Mongolian invasion of the 13th

For neighbouring Islamic nations his effect was to frighten moderate
leadership and paralyse reform.

For the rest of the world he bears, in addition, a disastrous
responsibility for inspiring and sanctioning state terrorism.

All three legacies will be hard to erase. "

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 11:58:59 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: In Search of a Logical Solution


In Search of a Logical Solution

Yesterday, the majlis debated a motion on converting Astara into a free trade
zone. MPs were divided on the issue, but the motion finally failed to win the
approval of the majority in the house.

The process of creating free trade zones (FTZs) in Iran started with the
creation of the Kish Free Trade Zone, in 1989. It was hoped to bolster the
country's economic growth.

Subsequently, the free trade zones of Qeshm and Chabahar, and six special
economic centers in Sirjan, Salafjan, Anzali, Khoramshahr, Nowshahr and
Sarakhs have sprang up at random intervals throughout the Islamic Republic.

Recently, the FTZs have been the objects of severe criticism. What is the
effective role of these centers? Can they promote Iranian exports, or are
they merely a back door for the contraband trade to the mainland?

For one thing, the regions have indeed turned into centers importing cheap
foreign goods to the mainland. For another, the resulting conditions for the
local work force, transient and unpredictable, have done more harm to the
economy than anything else.

Furthermore: for the FTZs to become a key to developing the export sector,
the security of investments within the country would need to be guaranteed,
so as to promote exports by an increase in productivity.

Unfortunately, following political feuds between various government factions,
and a number of ill-calculated measures adopted during recent years, this one
crucial principle has been all but abandoned and forgotten by the country's

Those who support the policy of creating FTZs should be aware of the fact
that, according to recent studies, the FTZs created so far have been facing
problems so complex that owners of the industrial and trade units in those
areas are now selling their units at ever lower prices.

The great expectations following the remarkable amounts of governmental and
private investment weren't fulfilled in any of the FTZs. The unprecedented
level of prosperity predicted for Qeshem has yet to materialize, Kish island
faces a deepening recession, and the situation in Chabahar is worse still.

Under the current economic circumstances, the officials should finally make
an effort to take logical decisions, and make optimal use of existing
facilities. Better ways of making the most of the FTZs need to be found. In
other words, further FTZs could be created once there is a need for them.

Making parliamentary motions is the MPs' legal right, but making logical
decisions would equally be in order. Perhaps if they consulted the experts, a
solution to the problems facing FTZs could be found after all.

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 12:00:40 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Parliament Puts off Debate on Tough Press Law


Parliament Puts off Debate on Tough Press Law

* Decision on Joining CTBT Commission Postponed

* Temporarily Withdrawal of Police Control Bill

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's Parliament (Majlis) yesterday postponed debate for
three months on a bill that would tighten sanctions against the press.

The postponement will move the debate to after the February parliamentary

The proposed measures would in particular make editors and journalists
responsible for the content of newspapers, and not just their managing

The first reading of the bill last July, coupled with the banning of the
moderate daily Salam, sparked off student protests.

Out of 195 members present in the Parliament yesterday 111 voted in favor of
postponement and 84 voted against or abstained, parliamentary sources said.

As Parliament argued yesterday, the head of a leading pro-reform paper
appeared before the Press Court to answer unspecified complaints lodged by
the police, the intelligence services and the conservative daily Resalat.

Saeed Hajjarian, a former deputy intelligence minister who heads the Sobh-e
Emrooz daily, had a lengthy private session with Judge Saeed Mortazavi, who
said afterward that the hearing would continue today.

"This was a preliminary inquiry, which is why the hearing was not in public,"
a court official said.

Hajjarian refused to reveal details of the allegations to journalists, saying
only on his arrival in court that "as they are manifold and laid by various
bodies the process will take some time."

Hajjarian had been due to appear in court Monday, and judicial sources said
that when he failed to do so Mortazavi issued an arrest warrant. His lawyer
Gholamali Riahi said that his voluntary appearance yesterday had cancelled
the warrant.

Court sources said Hajjarian was free but had to return for further
questioning Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Parliament yesterday postponed for six months discussion of a
bill providing for the country to join the International Preparatory
Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The government had asked Parliament to accept Iran's membership of the
commission, which was established in 1996 in order to work for the effective
implementation of the treaty.

Iran signed the treaty in 1996, but has not yet ratified it.

Also the Parliament yesterday withdrew from its agenda a controversial bill
aimed at placing Tehran's Traffic Police under the control of the

Out of 209 MPs present at the session, 111 voted to withdraw the bill while
98 voted to keep it on the agenda.

Despite the vote, the bill can be again placed on the agenda if it receives
approval from the relevant committees, following close scrutiny.

Tehran Police Chief Gen. Mohsen Ansari, who said he was opposed to the bill,
yesterday hailed the vote as a "positive" decision. "We now have more time to
explain the motives of our rejection," he said as he left Parliament.

"The mayor's office has no responsibility for traffic circulation ... or for
pollution either ... and all the (relevant) bodies must be perfectly
coordinated," the general said.

Tehran Mayor Morteza Alviri, who favors the bill, said the proposed law
should once again be placed "on the urgent agenda of the Parliament."

"We will now try to get the examination of this law moved forward ... the
consequences of pollution and the current situation of urban transport have
caused multiple problems for the country's economy," he said.

Iran last month was blanketed by a yellowish cloud of pollution, forcing the
closure of schools and sending hundreds to hospital with a variety of

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 12:01:24 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Personalities Petition President to Ensure Healthy Elections

Personalities Petition President to Ensure Healthy Elections


TEHRAN -- Thirty-two political personalities in a letter to President Seyed
Mohammad Khatami yesterday called on him to exercise his full executive
authority and ensure that the February 18 elections would not be rigged.

According to IRNA, in their letter to President Khatami, they said that the
people had full trust in him and expected him to remind all administrators of
the polling of their grave responsibility to ensure healthy elections, and
abidance with the laws of the state.

The names of signatories are: Mehdi Karrubi, Seyed Mohammad Mousavi
Khoeiniha, Seyed Mehdi Emam Jamarani, Seyed Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, Morteza
Alviri, Behzad Nabavi, Seyed Mohammad-Reza Khatami, Mohammad-Ali Rahmani,
Seyed Hadi Khamenei, Mohammad-Reza Tavassoli, Mohammad-Ali Nezam Zadeh, Seyed
Mohammad Hashemi, Majid Ansari, Sadeq Khalkhali, Mohammad Salamati, Seyed
Kazem Bojnourdi, Hussein Mozaffari Nejad, Najafqoli Habibi, Davoud Soleymani,
Morteza Katirani, Elias Hazrati, Mohsen Aminzadeh, Yadollah Eslami, Ali-Reza
Mahjoub, Abolqassem Sarhadi Zadeh, Fakhroddin Hejazi, Ali-Mohammad Hazeri,
Davoud Shamsi, Fatemeh Karrubi, Soheila Jelodarzadeh, Safaie, Dr. Mahdavi

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 12:03:46 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Asefi `Surprised' Over Qadhafi's Island Remarks

Asefi `Surprised' Over Qadhafi's Island Remarks


TEHRAN -- Hamid-Reza Asefi, Foreign Ministry spokesman, here yesterday,
expressed surprise at the remarks made by the Libyan President Colonel Moamer
Qadhafi regarding the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf, IRNA

The Libyan president in an interview with the Dubai Television said that the
government of the Islamic Republic of Iran had sent him a message in the
early years of the Islamic Revolution regarding the Greater and Lesser Tunbs
and Abu Mussa islands.

"The Iranian government has not sent any message to any official or
non-official persons in this respect," Asefi said.

Asefi reiterated that the three Iranian islands are "inseparable parts of the
Iranian territory and will remain so."

According to press reports, Qadhafi had claimed that Iran would hand over the
three islands to the United Arab Emirates provided that they would not allow
the United States to use them

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2000 17:40:12 EST
Subject: Fwd: More Urgent Action Appeals for Iran and Mr. Akbar Mohammadi

Dear About Iran Reader:

Please send the following Urgent Action Appeal to the Organizations listed
below. Reliable sources from Iran have reported of the imminence of Mr.
Mohammadi's execution. We must intensify our efforts to save his life and
call for the release of all political prisoners in Iran. About Iran... calls
on all international human rights organizations, including Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch to register their concern with the
Islamic Republic of Iran in regard to Mr. Mohammadi's unjust verdict and the
inhumane treatment of all political prisoners in Iran. Please distribute
this appeal as widely as possible.

For More Information, Please Contact:
About Iran...
P.O. Box 768
Morton Grove, IL 60053
Telephone: (847) 729-5925
Fax: (847) 729-5926

Urgent Action Appeal:
Hundreds of Pro-Democracy Students and Activists Continue to Perish in
the Islamic Republic=E2=80=99s Prisons: Fear of Imminent Executions, Fear of=

Widespread Torture!

The World Must Call on the Islamic Republic to Immediately Release
All Prisoners of Conscience in Iran

To: The Honorable Vaclav Havel, President of Czech Republic, Fax # 01142-02-24310851
The Honorable Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/Push Coalition, Chicago, Fax # 773-373-3571
Mr. Hanny Megally, Director of Middle East Watch, New York, Fax # (212) 736-1300
Ms. Karen Kennerly, Pen American Center, New York, Fax # (212) 334-2181
Mr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International, New York, Fax # (212) 627-1451
Ms. Nancy Bothne, Amnesty International Midwest, Chicago, Fax # (312) 427-2589
Ms. Maureen Greenwood, Amnesty International, Washington DC, Fax # (202) 546-7142
Ms. Cosette Thompson, Amnesty International, San Francisco, Fax # (415) 291-8722
Mr. Joe Baker, Amnesty International, Culver City (Los Angeles), Fax # (310)815-0457
From: (Name and Address):

As I am writing this letter to you, hundreds of pro-democracy activists
and students continue to perish in the prisons of the Islamic Republic. Most
of these prisoners have been there since the widespread suppression of the
student movement in Iran in July 1999. By now, the following facts about the
prisoners=E2=80=99 ordeal in Iranian jails are verified:
=C2=B7 According to several reports in Iranian papers, Mr. Akbar Mohammadi and Mr.
Ahamd Batebi, two pro-democracy students, have been sentenced to execution.
Indeed, authentic sources from inside Iran have reported of the imminence of
Mr. Mohammadi=E2=80=99s execution! In closed and unjust revolutionary tribun als of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Mohammadi has been found guilty of throwing
cocktail Molotov during the student demonstrations of last July and Mr.
Batebi has been found guilty of displaying the bloody shirt of an innocent
fellow student who had been injured or killed by the security forces during
the same demonstrations. Neither of these two prisoners of conscience have
had access to any counsel or their family members during their trials. There are also confirmed reports of severe torture, including beating and
DE-clawing, of Mr. Mohammadi!
=C2=B7 Many of the activists and students have been sentenced, in closed courts
without due process or access to counsel, to long term prison sentences.
Some of these victims are: Mr. Manuchehr Mohammadi (a student leader),
sentenced to 13 years, Mr. Ariya (an Iran Nation Party activist), sentenced
to 7 years and 3 months, and Mr. Mehran Mir-Abdolbaghi Kashani (another Iran
Nation party activist), sentenced to 9 years.
There are a considerable number of prisoners whose whereabouts and
conditions are unknown. Included in this category are: Dr. Houman Farhang
Majd, Mr. Houshang Farhang Majd, Mr. Faramarz Esfandiyari, Ms. Mina
Shaykh-ol-Eslami, Ms. Parstou Salari, and Mr. Mohammad Reza Sharifi.
While a limited number of prisoners have been temporarily released, Iran's
longest serving prisoner of conscience under the Islamic Republic, Mr. Abbas
Amir-Entezam, Iran=E2=80=99s former Deputy Prime Minister and the winner of the Bruno
Kreisky Award in Human Rights, has been imprisoned again.
=C2=B7 Many of these prisoners, including Mr. Amir-Entezam, Mr. Khosrow Sayf, Mr.
Bahram Namazi and Mr. Farzin Mokhber, suffer from injuries and illnesses
inflicted upon them by inhuman prison conditions. They need to be
immediately released in order to receive proper medical treatment.
=C2=B7 In general, there has been widespread and repetitive use of torture,
including beating and the use of sleep deprivation methods, against all the
activists and students in prison.
"The Islamic Republic authorities have engaged in a campaign of misinforming
the public about the fate of these prisoners by periodically stating
execution sentences against some prisoners and later keeping silent on or
recanting their earlier statements.
=C2=B7 More recently, newspapers in Iran have reported of a violent suppression of
a hunger strike by student prisoners in protest against their harsh and
inhuman conditions in Evin prison in Tehran.

I am extremely concerned about the fate of all prisoners of conscience in
Iran and I ask for your urgent support on behalf of all victims of human rights in Iran.

I sincerely thank you for your help.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 4 Jan 2000 to 5 Jan 2000