Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Jan 2000 to 24 Jan 2000

There are 17 messages totalling 985 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. IRICA, LEF Must Control Contraband Trade
2. * Kharrazi Stresses Promotion of Ties Among Persian Gulf State
3. IPO Chief: Culture Must Not Be Sacrificed for Political Issues
4. New Information on Serial Murders to Be Released Soon, Niazi
5. President Khatami Sends Message to Ethiopian President
6. Mohajerani Replies to Questions Raised by MPs at Parliament
7. MPs Comment on Upcoming Majlis Elections
8. Open Trial to Be Held for Policemen Involved in Attacking Tehran
University Dorm
9. Intl. Seminar of Kish, Tourism, Touring Wound Up
10. Press Review
11. EC Examines, Approves National Policy on Tribes
12. Countdown to Final Ballot
13. Iran Parliament Gives Go-Ahead to Sale of Excess Petrodollars
14. Cause - Effect Not So Clear
15. RASULOV: Iran Close to Self-Sufficiency in Foodstuff Production
16. Tehran to Host Int'l Badminton Contests
17. On the Virtues of the West

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 17:56:44 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IRICA, LEF Must Control Contraband Trade


IRICA, LEF Must Control Contraband Trade

Every year, millions of meters of fabric and zippers, thousands of tons of
thread and other textile products are smuggled into the country.

The annual figure for contraband TV sets is a whooping 800,000 sets.

These television sets are illegally brought into the country, and no import
duty is levied on them. To make matters worse, huge quantities of goods, for
which there is a surplus at home from local manufacturers remain unsold while
the contraband trade is very much alive and floods into our country every

The domestic version of these consumer goods are manufactured at a colossal
initial investment in recent years in the country's factories and assembly
plants. It is then really exasperating to see that most of these industrial
establishments are operating at 50 percent or less of total capacity.

The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) officials complain that their total annual
confiscation of contraband items represents only 20 percent of goods smuggled
on aggregate into the country.

In view of the above, the question now arises as to why effective measures
are not taken to give a lift to the economic well-being of the country by
protecting the domestic industries, which are still in their infancy, through
better control of the borders and curbing the contraband trade.

That statement should not be taken to imply the imposition of restriction on
authentic competition and free trade. In actual fact, competition should be
encouraged in the framework of macro-economic policies of the government, and
careful planning. It is too much to expect domestic producers to compete with
the contraband trade of international brands in unfair market conditions. The
word competition becomes absolutely meaningless when customs regulations are
flaunted, import duties are dodged and the imported item lands in the market.

Our home manufactures have their added internal difficulties such as
liquidity problems, spiraling foreign currency rates, fickle and fast
changing regulations which puts them at even greater disadvantage.

Worse still, the illicit trade and cheap imports have pushed our
manufacturers to the brink of destruction.

This gloomy state of affairs hardly inspires any one to hope for better days
ahead in the home economy. What seems to be definitely incumbent on the
authorities at present is to identify and seal all the entry points of
contraband into the country, while at the same time, the LEF should be
reinforced and work side by side with the Islamic Republic of Iran's Customs
Administration (IRICA). If we are to overcome our economic woes, we should
root out the destructive elements that threaten to destroy our home
industries. We must cut down on rhetorics and take effective action now.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:12:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: * Kharrazi Stresses Promotion of Ties Among Persian Gulf State

Kharrazi, Counterparts Review Bilateral Ties, Int'l Issues

* Kharrazi Stresses Promotion of Ties Among Persian Gulf States


TEHRAN-- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, in Muscat yesterday and
Saturday met with his Indian, Bangladeshi and Thai counterparts on the
sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for
Regional Cooperation (IORARC), IRNA reported.

The Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh yesterday voiced his country's
interest to further promote ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran and said
that there are great economic, industrial and trade potentials in both
countries which will pave the way for further expansion of bilateral

Tehran-New Delhi energy cooperation is to the benefit of all regional states,
he added.

Praising the idea of dialogue among civilizations, initiated by President
Mohammad Khatami, Singh said that his country is ready to help promote the

Referring to close relations between the two countries, the Iranian foreign
minister termed the session of the joint economic commission as effective in
expansion of bilateral ties.

As to nomination of the year 2001 as the year of dialogue among
civilizations, he stressed that pundits of the two historical and ancient
countries of Iran and India may hold meetings on the issues.

During the meeting, the two officials called for promotion of Tehran-New
Delhi cooperation at regional and international arenas.

On the critical situation in Afghanistan, both Kharrazi and Singh called for
peaceful solution to the problem instead of the military means.

They also called for non-intervention of foreign powers in the Afghan
domestic affairs and formation of a broad-based government participated by
all Afghan groups in that country.

In his meeting with Kharrazi on Saturday, the Bangladeshi foreign minister,
Abdus Samad Azad, voiced satisfaction over the current level of Tehran-Dhaka
bilateral ties and reiterated that his government will make every effort to
further promote mutual cooperation.

Referring to the two countries joint stands at the Organization of the
Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), he called for
expansion of bilateral trade, agricultural, technical and scientific

As to the close relations between the two countries, Kharrazi called for
further activities of the two countries' private sectors.

The two officials also called for strengthening of ties among the OIC member

Meanwhile, the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Surin Pitsuwan Saturday
announced willingness of Thailand's oil companies to participate in Iran's
oil and gas projects.

During the meeting, the two officials stressed on Tehran-Bangkok relations at
the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

According to the schedules, the next ESCAP session is to be held in Tehran in
June, under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Kharrazi, and the next
UNCTAD session will be held in Bangkok in February.

Kharrazi arrived in Muscat Saturday on a two-day visit and was welcomed by
his Omani counterpart, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.

Kamal Kharrazi, underlined in a separate meeting with Omani Minister of State
for Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah on the sidelines of the
extraordinary meeting of the IORARC the need for strengthening of ties among
regional states in order to stabilize situation in the Persian Gulf littoral

He called on the regional countries to safeguard security and common interest
of all littoral states of the Persian Gulf and make efforts to continue

Referring to great efforts being made by the Islamic Republic of Iran to
settle the Chechen and Kosovo crises, the Iranian foreign minister regretted
that the World of Islam is facing numerous problems.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as the current chairman of the OIC is making
great efforts to help settle the problems and promote unity among the
regional states, he noted.

Expressing satisfaction over the current relations between the two countries,
Kharrazi said that the two countries are enjoying close and amicable ties.

He reiterated that positive points in Tehran-Muscat relations should be used
in line with interests of all regional states.

Terming the Islamic Republic's stands regarding regional and international
issues as constructive, the Omani minister said that the relations between
Iran and other regional countries have entered positive and constructive era
which is to the benefit of all the Persian Gulf states.

Praising the OIC's positive achievements during Iran's chairmanship, Bin
Alawi said that all initiatives made by President Mohammad Khatami have been
in line with strengthening the organization's stands and settlement of
problems facing the Muslim World.

He also appreciated efforts made by the OIC chairman to dispatch delegations
to Chechnya to investigate the problems of the Chechen Muslims. As to
Tehran-Muscat friendly ties, he stated that his country is interested in
promotion of cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all areas.

During the meeting, the two sides called for further exchange of visits and
consultation between the two countries' officials and called for bolstering
of ties particularly in the areas of oil and gas.

Stressing Iran's participation in construction projects in Oman, the two
ministers agreed that exchange of visits between the two countries' leaders
will be to the benefit of both nations.

The Iranian foreign minister in another meeting Saturday with his Indonesian
counterpart Alwi Shihab discussed the issues of mutual interests.

Kharrazi in the meeting expressed hope that Indonesia would manage to
overcome the problems facing the country when it is leaving behind a period
of transition.

Kharrazi stressed that the existing problems should not lead to adoption of
measures by Indonesia which could harm the country's foreign policy in the
world and raise concerns in the Islamic states.

During the meeting, held on the sidelines of the summit of foreign ministers
of Indian Ocean littoral states in Muscat, Kharrazi called for expansion of
economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Referring to the recent developments taking shape in Indonesia, the minister
emphasized the country's territorial integrity as a regional big power
enjoying remarkable human resources.

Next, he commented on the excellent status of Iran in the region and its
access to the central Asian countries and expressed hope that the
Iran-Indonesia Joint Economic Commission would help boost the commercial and
economic relations between the two countries.

The Indonesian minister, pointed to the idea of dialogue among civilizations
and called President Mohammad Khatami as a champion for dialogue among
cultures and civilizations and said Iran lays in the hearts of the Indonesian

Elaborating Indonesia's plans and programs to rehabilitate its ailing
economy, the minister called for Iran's collaboration to achieve this goal.

The Indonesian minister invited Iranian businessmen to discover the new
economic, commercial grounds in his country and contribute to the expansion
of Tehran-Jakarta mutual cooperation.

In conclusion, he called for Iran's private and public sectors to participate
in the economic and trade projects launched in his country.

Kamal Kharrazi in a separate meeting Saturday with his Malaysian counterpart
Hamid al-Bar pointed to the latest developments in the world and the
globalization phenomenon and stressed the necessity for the developed
countries to preserve their active presence at the international scene.

In the meeting, held on the sidelines of the summit of the foreign ministers
of the Indian Ocean littoral states in Oman, Kharrazi elaborated on the
efforts made by the OIC to settle the crises facing Kosovo and Chechnya and
called for the OIC member countries to help strengthen the cooperation in the

Dr. Kharrazi stressed the need to prepare the grounds for improved
Iran-Malaysia mutual cooperation and said the participation of the two
countries' private sectors in each other's projects and plans could
contribute markedly to expansion of bilateral ties between Malaysia and the
Islamic Republic.

Describing the Tehran-Kuala Lumpur relations as "good", Al-Bar called for
expansion of bilateral ties with the Islamic Republic.

He invited the Iranian foreign minister to pay a visit to Kuala Lumpur and
emphasized the need for closer contacts and cooperation between the two
countries' chambers of commerce.

The two sides also discussed the matters related to the Iran-Malaysia Joint
Economic Commission.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:13:44 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IPO Chief: Culture Must Not Be Sacrificed for Political Issues

IPO Chief: Culture Must Not Be Sacrificed for Political Issues


TEHRAN-- Hojjatoleslam Mahmoud Mohammadi Araqi, head of the Islamic
Propagation Organization (IPO), said in Yazd yesterday that to take a
political look at culture is a point of weakness and that culture should not
be sacrificed for political issues, IRNA reported.

Addressing a group of governors in Yazd Province, he said that cultural
issues of the society should enjoy stability and be immune from political

"Our culture faces a number of challenges, a part of which is natural but the
rest stems from our weakness in coordination, planning, execution and
supervision," he said.

"Our Revolution has a cultural nature whose strong points can not be seen any
other places," he said.

"We should invest in religious and spiritual fields as we do in social and
material ones in our society," Araqi said.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:14:11 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: New Information on Serial Murders to Be Released Soon, Niazi

New Information on Serial Murders to Be Released Soon, Niazi


TEHRAN-- Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Niazi, head of the Judicial Organization of
the Armed Forces said here yesterday that first-hand information on the case
of serial murders is to be announced soon, IRNA reported.

Niazi told the Eighth Congress of Senior Directors of the Defense and Armed
Forces Logistics Ministry that had the chain murders plot not been
discovered, the Islamic Republic system would have faced serious problems.

He said it has been proved that those involved in the serial murders were
linked with foreign enemies but they had nothing to do with political
factions inside the country.

He said the continuation of the group's sabotage could eventually led to the
destruction of the Islamic Republic.

He added that the ominous gang behind the serial murders had planned to
distort history by attributing their crimes to the Islamic Revolution,
Islamic teachings and the clerics.

He said there are other culprits involved in the case who have not yet been
arrested yet.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:14:38 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: President Khatami Sends Message to Ethiopian President

President Khatami Sends Message to Ethiopian President


TEHRAN-- President Khatami's written message to Ethiopian head of state, Dr.
Negasso Gidada, was delivered to Ethiopian Premier Meles Zenawi on Friday,
IRNA reported.

According to the Iranian Embassy in Addis Ababa, the message was submitted to
the Ethiopian official by Seyed Mohammad Sadr, deputy foreign minister for
the Arab and African states affairs, during his visit to the country.

Thanking President Khatami for his amicable message, Zenawi pointed to the
long, historical relations between Iran and Ethiopia and the sensitive
situation of the two states in the Middle East and the horn of Africa and
called for expansion of Tehran-Addis Ababa bilateral ties.

Zenawi stated that the first session of the Iran-Ethiopia Joint Economic
Commission would serve as a good opportunity to boost the relations between
the two Muslim states.

Zenawi explained the reasons behind the crisis of borders with Eritrea and
stressed his country's policy as for guaranteeing the territorial integrity
and the practical sovereignty over the occupied lands.

He said that the dilemma would require a practical solution.

Conveying President Khatami's warm greetings to the Ethiopian nation and
government, Sadr voiced the readiness of the Islamic Republic to bolster the
Tehran-Addis Ababa relations in the political, cultural and economic fields.

He expressed regrets over the border crisis between Ethiopia and Eritrea and
wished that the efforts by the Organization of African Unity would help solve
the dilemma peacefully.

The first session of the Iran-Ethiopia Joint Economic Commission is due to be
held in Addis Ababa next month.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:15:14 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Mohajerani Replies to Questions Raised by MPs at Parliament

Mohajerani Replies to Questions Raised by MPs at Parliament


TEHRAN-- Ataollah Mohajerani, the culture and Islamic guidance minister, here
yesterday termed as "legally and judicially correct" the Press Supervisory
Board's move in issuing license for publication of `Ham-Mihan' (compatriot)
daily under management of the ex-Mayor of Tehran Gholamhussein Karbaschi,
IRNA reported.

Mohajerani was answering questions raised by three MPs on issuance of license
for publication of the daily in spite of the fact that Karbaschi was serving
his prison terms.

He said licenses are not issued by his ministry, rather by the Press
Supervisory Board.

He added that Karbaschi had been sentenced to less than three years in jail
and his sentence was not so serious.

Asked which funds were used and under what legal basis to finance release on
bail of managers of dailies found guilty of violating the Press Law by the
court, Mohajerani answered that the ministry allocated some funds to be paid
as loans to managers of dailies facing financial problems.

He added that the practice has been common at the Culture and Islamic
Guidance Ministry even before he assumed this post.

However, one the MPs raising the questions did not find Mohajerani's replies
as convincing and the case was referred to the relevant parliamentary
departments for further investigation.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:15:45 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: MPs Comment on Upcoming Majlis Elections

MPs Comment on Upcoming Majlis Elections


TEHRAN-- In an exclusive interview with IRAN NEWS, Qodratollah Nazarinia, the
representative of the Province of Kermanshah, said: " Considering the
political climate that is created after the epic day of May 23, 1997, the
legal vacuums of the country must be dispensed through correct legislative

Mr. Nazarinia, who is a member of the Council of Hezbollah (left faction) of
Majlis, said: "The next Majlis should pave the way for the implementation of
the country's Third Economic Development Plan to bring about the fruition of
the President's mottos and objectives, which were voiced during the
presidential elections. Of course, along with these priorities, the economic
arguments can not be overlooked and must be seen to." Nazarinia said, "The
next Majlis must forward practical proposals regarding foreign investment,
which has so far received inadequate attention, and create the necessary
security for the bolstering of the domestic investment. They should also try
to persuade Iranian investors and specialist, who are living abroad, to
return to the country."

He added, "The Majlis should assist the detente policy and confidence
building among the countries of the world by passing the needed laws."
Meanwhile, Kamal Daneshyar, the representative of Bandar Mahshahr in
Khouzestan Province, told IRAN NEWS: "I believe the Sixth Majlis' motto
should be justice, security, welfare for everyone and freedom.

There should not be any other priorities than these for the representatives."
not be any other priorities than these for the representatives." Daneshyar,
who is a supporter of the right faction but considers himself to be
independent, said: "In the next Majlis, those with the May 23 leaning would
increase in number from the present 80 to 120 individuals.

The Hezbollah faction (right faction) would drop in number from 120 to 100
individuals and the independents would keep their present number (70).

Regarding to these changes in the composition of Majlis, he said: "The
20-year history of the Revolution has shown that our people choose their
representatives according to the representative loyalty to the government.
For instance, in the second and third Majlis the majority were the supporters
of Mr. Mousavi's government, while in the fourth and fifth Majlis the
majority of the representatives were the backers of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Naturally, in the Sixth Majlis, most of the representatives would be Mr.
Khatami's backers."

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:16:39 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Open Trial to Be Held for Policemen Involved in Attacking Tehran
University Dorm

Open Trial to Be Held for Policemen Involved in Attacking Tehran University


TEHRAN-- Hojjatoleslam Abbasali Farati, Tehran's military prosecutor, said
yesterday that open trial would be held on Feb. 29 for the Law Enforcement
personnel who illegally entered the dormitory of Tehran University last July,
IRNA reported.

Farati said the legal proceedings are under way to provide indictments
against 20 policemen including former commander of Tehran Metropolis Law
Enforcement Forces Brigadier General Nazari accused of unlawfully entering
the dormitory.

The prosecutor called on the students who suffered physical or financial
losses in the raid to lodge complaint with the Military Court.

He said it is not within jurisdiction of the Military Court to investigate
the civilians charged with attacking the dormitory and it lies with the
Revolutionary Court to hold inquiry about the civilians involved in the
incident and the street violence in the following days of the incident.

The military prosecutor said the victim, Ezzatollah Ebrahim-Nejad had been
killed after the police force had withdrawn the university campus.
Unfortunately, the assassin has not been yet identified, he said adding that
the legal investigation about the murder in the campus is going on.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:17:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Intl. Seminar of Kish, Tourism, Touring Wound Up

Intl. Seminar of Kish, Tourism, Touring Wound Up


KISH ISLAND -- An international seminar here yesterday praised the
designation of the year 2001 as the Year of Dialogue Amongst Civilizations
and Iran's message to the world in the third millennium as serving peace and
friendship among all human beings.

The first International Seminar of `Kish, Tourism and Touring' wrapped up its
work here yesterday by issuing an 11-point resolution. The seminar received
views on ways of attracting tourists to Iran, especially to southern Kish
Island, on the necessity to win contribution of the private sector to tourism
sector and on timely improvement of the information dissemination section to
serve attraction of tourists.

"In the third millennium Iran's policies should give priority to expansion of
tourism," read the resolution, stressing the need for building the
infrastructure for attraction of tourists, definition of international
principles and policies on tourism by the country on the basis of its values
with respect to its natural tourism talents.

The participants visited trade centers, hotels and facilities in Kish Island.

The two-day conference was inaugurated by Minister of Culture and Islamic
Guidance Ataollah Mohajerani. (Photo by Abdi)

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:16:14 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Press Review

Press Review

IN CIRCLES * Political circles are abuzz with rumors of former Tehran Mayor
Gholamhussein Karbaschi's release from prison. It is said that he left the
prison on leave of absence, but will not return due to the fact that his
pardon is expected soon on the occasion of a national celebration day.

The reports said Karbaschi had packed his belongings in prison. The leftist
daily, Fath, reported the former mayor's release on Saturday.

Leftist sources claim that Karbaschi has written a letter requesting a

Rafsanjani Part of Revolution's History

HAMSHAHRI * This Municipality-affiliated daily quoted Ali Shakouri-Rad, a
member of Islamic Iran Partnership Party (IIPP), as saying that his party has
the highest respect for Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, not only as a citizen, but
also as part of the Islamic Revolution's history.

Party on the Verge of Formation?

IRAN * This daily, which is affiliated to the Islamic Republic News Agency,
reported that the "Islamic Iran Organization of the Educated" has announced
its formation while saying that it has no communality with any of the
existing political factions. It said it applied for a permit to Interior
Ministry four months ago but has not received a response yet. Therefore, the
party has announced that it is "on the verge of formation".

Political Jury

IRAN * For the first time since the Revolution, a political jury has been
formed for dealing with offenses of the various universities' Islamic

Contaminated Political Atmosphere

IRAN * Abbas Salimi Namin, managing director of the Tehran Times daily, said
the serial murderers planned to undermine the Islamic system, while many
political groups do not allow proper dissemination of information regarding
the case, mainly due to a contaminated political atmosphere in the society.

A veteran politician, his wife and a number of dissident writers were killed
in a grisly spate of murders last year. It was found that renegade agents of
the Intelligence Ministry, led by former deputy minister Saeed Emami, were
behind the murders. Saeed Emami committed suicide in prison.

Murderers Did Not Predict Khatami Victory

IRAN * Abbas Abdi, Sobh-e Emrooz editor, said serial murderers were almost
confident that they would be successful in their campaign, but they never
expected the victory of reformist President Khatami on May 23, 1997.

Karbaschi to Be Released Soon

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily reported that in an interview with a
satellite channel, former Mayor Gholamhussein Karbaschi stressed that
negotiations are under way for his release. "Officials have demanded
Karbaschi to submit his request for a pardon, but he did not accept," the
report said. Meanwhile, Karbaschi's lawyer, Masoud Haeri, said his client
won't stay in jail for a long time.

Former Tehran Mayor Gholamhussein Karbaschi began serving a two-year prison
term in May following his conviction for corruption and mismanagement in a
trial slammed by reformers as a political move by the conservative-controlled

Rafsanjani's Efforts Futile

MOSHAREKAT * This daily affiliated to IIPP, wrote that the efforts of
Rafsanjani to receive a pardon for Karbaschi have been fruitless and his
release is now contingent upon Karbaschi's submission of a request for

Incompetence of Provincial Officials

BAYAN * This pro-Khatami daily quoted a member of Unity Consolidation Office
(UCO) as saying that during the attack on Tabriz University last July, more
than ten students were shot, but afterward, the plaintiff and the accused
were switched. Those who attacked the students acted with the support of the
Basij forces, which proves the incompetence of the provincial officials.

Following the closure of moderate daily Salaam by the Press Court, university
students held a rally in protest against the closure after which the Law
Enforcement Forces (LEF) attacked Tehran University's hostel on July 9. This
provoked the country's worst social unrest in Tehran and Tabriz since the
1979 Islamic Revolution which lasted for four days.

Rafsanjani's Honors?

ARYA * This pro-reform daily quoted Abbas Abdi as saying that what Rafsanjani
considers to be among his "honors", and claims that others are selling
theirs, are nothing but providing the people's ordinary and basic needs.

Last Friday, Rafsanjani addressed those who criticized his policies, saying:
"You are unfair people. To whom are you selling your honors?"

10-Year Sentence

PAYAM-E AZADI * This pro-Khatami daily reported that Mohammad-Reza Kasrani
has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, while he had no role in last July's
student demonstrations.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:18:33 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: EC Examines, Approves National Policy on Tribes

EC Examines, Approves National Policy on Tribes


TEHRAN-- The Expediency Council (EC) in its Saturday session reviewed and
ratified general policies on the tribes of the country, IRNA reported.

According to Public Relations Department of the EC, the council approved that
the Constitution, Islam, Jurisprudence, the culture and civilization of Islam
and Iran, the Persian language and writing are key factors of solidarity
among tribes.

The prevention of any sort of abuse of tribal and religious minorities that
could lead to infiltration of foreigners and thus harming national unity, as
well as setting the stage for cultural convergence among regional nations in
light of religious and cultural commonalties were among other subjects
approved by the Expediency Council.

The Expediency Council stressed on coherence of cultural components and
national culture, strengthening social solidarity, and providing guarantee to
life, dignity, property and other rights of people at large.

The approved subjects are to be presented to Supreme Leader of Islamic
Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei for final endorsement.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:19:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Countdown to Final Ballot

Countdown to Final Ballot

People's representative from Bojnourd, Khorassan Province, told IRAN NEWS
yesterday that preparations have been made for those 2nd of Khordad Front
(May 23 Front) nominees who have little chance of being elected to step down
in favor of others who stand a better chance.

Rahmanqoli Qolizadeh said the decision was made following several meetings in
15 of the 28 provinces. He said the fornt's political leaders had been
worried that the large number of their candidates in the provinces would
spread the votes too thin and give the election victory to the Rightist

In a meeting with senior officials of the ministry yesterday, Defense
Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani said it is incumbent upon the personnel of the
armed forces not to be involved, directly or indirectly, with political

During his two-day stay outside prison, Gholamhussein Karbaschi held talks
with the leftist Majma-e Rowhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM) urging them to support
Hashemi Rafsanjani in next month's Majlis elections, "Mosharekat" daily

Hashem Aghajari, member of Islamic Revolution's Mojahedin Organization, said
he does not believe in an Islam which divides citizens into first grade and
second grade categories and advocates dictatorship and suppression.

He added that people also do not believe in such an interpretation of the
religion. "I was disqualified for lack of commitment to Islam.

If `Islam' is what the Islamic Revolution was based upon, then there is no
proof against me, according to Sobh-e Emrooz daily.

Mohammad-Reza Khatami, political director of the IIPP, said many hands were
active in the Fifth Majlis to bring it in line with the interests of a
certain faction, and they were successful to some extent. "But a big
difference of the Fifth Majlis with the next one is that if we succeed in
entering the Majlis, we will never approve laws that guarantee a life-time
position in the Majlis for us. We would try to guarantee the rotation of
power, according to "Sobh-e Emrooz" daily.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:22:00 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Parliament Gives Go-Ahead to Sale of Excess Petrodollars

Iran Parliament Gives Go-Ahead to Sale of Excess Petrodollars

TEHRAN (AFP) - The Iranian Parliament authorized the government yesterday to
sell up to $800 million of its foreign exchange surplus created by higher
than expected oil export revenues during the current budgetary cycle.

President Mohammad Khatami's government had asked Parliament, as part of an
amendment to its annual budget, to authorize the sale of part of the excess
revenues in order to "satisfy its rial needs and to pay off the budget
deficit" of several state bodies, such as the Education Ministry.

Iran will start to sell foreign currency in the coming days to different
sectors of the economy, and particularly to private importers, at a more
favorable level than that of the open market.

Iran's revenue from oil exports has seen a rise this year of some $2.6
billion due to the increase in the oil price over the last year, official
sources said.

The government originally said it expects to achieve $11.8 billion in oil
revenue in the Iranian year 1379 which runs from March 2000 to March 2001,
based on a barrel price of $13.80.

U.S. Light Sweet Crude futures for February delivery closed Friday at $29.66
per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Iran's Central Bank recently started to sell significant quantities of
foreign currency and particularly dollars in the exchange market, which
sparked a strengthening of the rial against the dollar in the parallel

Oil revenue constitutes 85 percent of Iran's foreign exchange earnings.

For two years, the weakness of the oil market has caused a budgetary
shortfall of at least $5 billion.

But a rising oil market over the last year has boosted Iran's foreign
exchange earnings.

OPEC's second largest oil producer, Iran, currently produces around 3.7
million barrels per day, of which 2.4 million barrels are exported.

The country's proven oil reserves stand at 90 billion barrels, while gas
reserves are pegged at 20,000 billion cubic meters.

The foreign exchange market in Tehran did not respond immediately to the
announcement of the amendment. The rial, which has traded against the dollar
in recent days at 8,450, firmed to 8,300 at midday, two hours after the
opening of the market.

The rial-dollar rate has been steady over recent months on the parallel
market while the official rate, set by the Central Bank, is 3,000 rials to
the dollar.

In May 1995, the Iranian government decided to freeze foreign exchange rates
in order to stop capital flight and stabilize the national currency.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:22:42 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Cause - Effect Not So Clear

Cause - Effect Not So Clear

FATH ** Reviewing the Economic Adjustment Plan during the 1989-97 period, the
daily said, "Experts maintain different views on the plan.

Some believe economic policies the government had spoken of were not
implemented at all. On the other hand, others are on the belief that poor
status of economy is indeed the result of the implementation of those
[unsound] policies. Nevertheless, reviewing the country's political and
economic situation in those days should reveal why Economic Adjustment Plan
was never fully put in place."

Sell Forex, Don't Worry About Deficit!

AKHABAR-E EQTESAD ** In an interview with the daily, economic experts said,
"Selling foreign exchange will not cause inflation." They consider it as a
quick solution to the budget deficit problem, while it would not have
negative consequences for the economy." Big Money, Corrupt Politics, Poor

IRAN ** Saeed Shirkavand, an economic expert told the daily, "Poor
macroeconomic management, misguided policies, ineffective organizations and
missing expertise are among the primary reasons responsible for country
having remained economically underdeveloped. Further, there has been very
close links between political institutions and economic interests. This has
further slowed economic growth and progress."

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:24:15 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: RASULOV: Iran Close to Self-Sufficiency in Foodstuff Production

RASULOV: Iran Close to Self-Sufficiency in Foodstuff Production


TEHRAN-- Iran is near self-sufficiency in production of major foodstuffs but
still remains dependent on import of cooking oil and sugar, said here
managing director of Agricultural Bank, Jalal Rasulov, on Saturday.

Rasulov said that local production is capable of meeting just 10 and 66
percent of the domestic demand for cooking oil and sugar respectively.

He put the national per capita calorie intake from domestically produced
foodstuffs at 3,227 kilo calories a day, which constitutes more than 145
percent more than the international standards.

He said domestic foodstuff production has been sufficient to tap domestic
needs but the quality of the products should be changed to some extent.

He added that in the course of the First Five-Year Economic Development Plan
(1990-95), over 3.05 trillion rials in subsidy had been allocated to
foodstuffs with an aim to support consumers.

Wheat and other basic foodstuffs which meet 70 percent of calorie needs per
day of the low-income citizens had the lion's share of subsidies, he said,
adding wheat provides 40 percent of the energy and 45 percent of the protein
requirements of Iranians in their daily diet.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rasulov said that although more than 50 million
hectares of lands in Iran are suitable for farming, merely 36 percent of them
are under cultivation.

Concluding his remarks, Rasulov called for more investments to be made in
agriculture sector and for the grounds to be paved for the expansion of
private sector's activity in this branch.

Meanwhile, deputy head of the Plan and Budget Organization (PBO) for Economic
and Coordination Affairs, Masoud Nili said that in the 1989-1998 period the
agriculture sector raised its output per person to the effect that per capita
food production index rose to 137 in 1998 from 100 in 1989.

Annual growth of investment in the agriculture sector at fixed prices of 1983
stood at about 12.8 percent in the 1966-1978 period, said Nili, adding that
one should not ignore importance of the agriculture branch so easily, IRNA

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:26:46 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Tehran to Host Int'l Badminton Contests

Tehran to Host Int'l Badminton Contests

TEHRAN (IRNA) - Head of Iran's badminton federation Mehdi Karbasian told
reporters here on Saturday that the 10th International Ten-Day Dawn Badminton
contests is to be held here from January 29 to February 1.

The contests are to be held on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the
triumph of the Islamic Revolution coincided with the birth centenary of the
Father of the Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic the Late
Imam Khomeini.

Karbasian said five teams from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bahrain, Turkmenistan and
Kazakhstan have announced their readiness to take part in the competitions.

part in the competitions.

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:50:41 EST
Subject: On the Virtues of the West

On the Virtues of the West


Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, in an essay submitted to TIME,
articulates his case for a freer Iranian society and analyzes the reasons why
his country has always been ruled by autocrats. Excerpts:
We can say with great assurance that a society intending to reach development
cannot succeed without understanding Western civilization and the spirit of
Western civilization. Societies unfamiliar with this spirit shall never
succeed in introducing a positive change in their lives. Many Islamic
societies, such as ours, are still regretfully deprived of such knowledge. We
are not yet aware of the various facets of Western civilization, and our
encounter with the West is mostly on the surface; that is, we have approached
the West either with fascination or abhorrence.

Why is it that Muslim societies are still stuck with the same questions: What
is development, and why are we underdeveloped? For centuries our historical
destiny was in the hands of autocratic and capricious governments instead of
the hands of thoughtful people of the land. Human dignity was not respected,
and thought, the greatest manifestation of human character, was contained,
and the freedom of opinion was also denied.

We can take Iran as an example. In the past five decades, we have never been
successful in our experience with freedom. The Islamic revolution of 1979 was
Iran's only real opportunity to experience freedom because of two exceptional
features of that revolution: it uprooted the colonial sponsored dictatorship
without resorting to the power of weaponry, and the revolution started with
freedom rather than suppression. But the alien agents who had affected our
destiny in the past did not stay idle, and hatched plots and therefore
prevented us from enjoying the fruits of freedom.

Naturally the revolution-based government could not remain indifferent to
these plots, and certain strict measures were taken to thwart chaos. Some
blamed freedom itself for the cause of the instability and even used religion
as a mask to justify their shortsightedness. Autocracy has become our second
nature. We Iranians are all dictators, in a sense.

Freedom is the essence of growth and development, but the path to freedom is
risky and rough. I am of the view that thought cannot be contained and if we
live in a free atmosphere, opinions shall balance each other and logic shall
prevail. Without freedom, the thought sparkling in the minds of thinkers
shall be channeled into hidden communities and may emerge one day in the form
of bitter and violent reaction.

In my opinion we must not search for a uniform model of freedom for all
people. We must endeavor to create a desirable milieu in which people can
more easily tolerate one another and come up with an agreed definition of
freedom and, accordingly, streamline the society.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Jan 2000 to 24 Jan 2000