Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Jan 2000 to 25 Jan 2000

There are 9 messages totalling 627 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
2. Countdown to Final Ballot
3. Iran-Europe Ties Best in Two Decades, Kharrazi
4. Kharrazi Welcomes Conditional Presence of American Companies in Iran
5. Iran, Kuwait to Study Ways of Boosting Mutual Cooperation
6. Iran's Biggest Exclusive Trade Fair in S. Arabia
7. Iran to Reduce Sugar Imports
8. Domestic TV-Set Production Falls
9. Karbaschi Pardoned, Still Banned from Political Activity

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:49:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL JANUARY 25, 2000

Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

It seems as though we have once again opted to throw all caution to the wind
just so long as the evil that gave rise to our panic has disappeared.

In the wake of the severe air pollution during the past weeks, headquarters
for environmental aficionados was set up to let the public be informed of the
minute by minute conditions during the crisis. Headquarters were charged to
advise the public on ways and means of combating the villainous hazard. Much
to everybody's relief, the skies became clouded and the Almighty sent his
much awaited blessing in the form of rain and snow to all the country.

Of course the concomitant winds did a lot to push the maze of smoke and smog
to their doom and stretch the beautiful blue skies over Tehran for everybody
to enjoy. The beautiful blue sky, it seems, has given cause for the people of
Tehran to become euphoric. The euphoria has been so strong that Tehranis have
pushed all worry out of their minds.

Bad habits die hard. We have relapsed into our age-old apathy and evil habit
of taking the clear blue sky for granted.

Unfortunately no serious and effective measures have been adopted nor were
felt to be needed. Not for the time at any rate, not until the crisis rears
its ugly head again.

It should definitely have dawned on the officials in charge by now that the
perils of air pollution have very serious consequences. These perils manifest
themselves by killing the unsuspecting citizens through a slow and agonizing
death.

It's absolutely essential for us to wake up now and look for a way out before
this seemingly innocuous worry assumes mind boggling magnitudes.

We may not be so lucky and fortunate as to enjoy the blessings of the
omnipotent God and the Almighty when the air pollution crisis of greater
magnitude assails us. Come tomorrow, winds may blow, rain may pour and snow
may settle, but all too late to revive our dead bodies!

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:51:02 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Countdown to Final Ballot

IRAN NEWS POLITICS JANUARY 25, 2000

Countdown to Final Ballot

It is said that the inclusion of Hashemi-Rafsanjani's name in elections lists
has turned into an increasingly difficult issue. For example, the leftist
Majma-e Rouhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM) has not yet been able to make a decision
in this regard and its final list is still not completed.

Officials of the Executives of Construction Party (ECP) have reportedly
stated that they will retaliate against political groups that omit
Rafsanjani's name from their lists of candidates by eliminating the names of
their best-known candidates from the ECP list.

The interior ministry has, apparently, not made a final decision yet on the
method of polling for Tehran. Method of voting in the Capital, with its 900
candidates, has faced the ministry with a difficult task.

The vote counting process will be long and laborious. Therefore, the ministry
is reportedly studying the possibility of using computers to count the votes.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:52:00 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran-Europe Ties Best in Two Decades, Kharrazi

Iran-Europe Ties Best in Two Decades, Kharrazi

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi here Monday praised Iran's detente
policy initiated by President Mohammad Khatami and said that the relations
between the Islamic Republic and the regional states have reached their
highest levels in recent years.

Inaugurating the 10th International Conference on Persian Gulf (ICPG) based
on the theme of `Persian Gulf Toward the 21st Century' at the Institute of
Political and International Studies (IPIS), Kharrazi said that the close
relations between Iran and the regional states have resulted in an increase
in cooperation on petroleum which has benefitted all the regional countries.

The foreign minister who arrived back in Tehran on Sunday from his trip to
Oman said: "At present, there are favorable grounds for socioeconomic
cooperation among the regional states including the protection of the Persian
Gulf environment, expansion of the network of sea, air and land routes,
promotion of trade cooperation, exploitation of the potentials of free trade
zones (FTZs) and promotion of people-to-people contacts and tourism."

Kharrazi addressed a full audience of foreign dignitaries at IPIS, including
military personnel from home and abroad, the diplomatic corps and a vast
contingent of international personalities. Academics from domestic and
foreign universities and experts from 22 countries including Europe, Canada,
Japan, the Persian Gulf, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent states
(CIS), Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan and the Republic of Yemen were in the
audience. They will review numerous issues concerning the region during the
two day conference.

The conference has focused on the Persian Gulf security issues, international
threats, confidence building measures and detente. Oil fares very prominently
on the agenda since the Arab world and CIS are eager to find solutions to a
variety of economic and political issues which require discussion in a calm
and secure environment.

The foreign minister referred to globalization and the need for the whole
region to discuss the international economy and the need for regional
cooperation in the Persian Gulf and further afield. A number of senior
Iranian officials including Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president and head of the
Department of Environment (DoE), were scheduled to address the conference
yesterday at IPIS.

Experts and researchers among the delegates are scheduled to address the
audience on crucial security and stability issues that require close
consultation and satisfactory solutions. Some 60 articles from domestic
researchers and 90 papers from foreign experts have been received by the
conference Secretariat.

Welcoming any cooperation which may serve to improve the situation of the
people of the littoral states and promote understanding in the region, the
foreign minister said, "In line with our regional policies, dialogue of
civilizations and detente constitute the two pillars of the Islamic Republic
of Iran's policy in the international arena.''

These policies have so far been conducive to the expansion of relations
between the Islamic Republic of Iran and all the countries seeking to
establish an equal and balanced relationship with Iran, he added. He further
referred to close relations between Iran and Europe, saying that the
relations have now reached their highest level during the past 20 years.

``We believe that the beginning of the new millennium all the nations of the
world specially Muslim nations can join hands to solve the problems remaining
from the past century in Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Palestine and Kosovo,
through cooperation.''

The Iranian foreign minister further expressed the hope that the new
millennium and the new century will usher in an era of cooperation and
understanding among all countries of the region. He also hoped that war and
bloodshed will never return to the region and the rest of the world.

On globalization of economics, culture and politics, he said that presently,
the world is witnessing the occurrence of fundamental changes and the
emergence of new issues. As to the recent crisis that engulfed Southeast Asia
and its sociopolitical repercussions throughout the region and the whole
world, Kharrazi said that the crisis has not demonstrated the mutual
vulnerability of nations, but also proved the interdependence of political,
social and economic matters.

The Southeast Asian crisis also highlighted the potential of destabilizing
forces to overlap and spread, creating instability from one end to the other
end of the world. ''This experience tells us that we are interdependent in
the world where we are equally and mutually vulnerable.''

``Thus, nations and states cannot afford to be complacent about the
developments that are taking shape around them. This is also true for the
Persian Gulf. The people of the region cannot afford to be indifferent to the
challenges and opportunities that are being created by globalization.
Therefore, to face these global challenges and at the same time encourage
greater commercial activity and further promote the welfare of Persian Gulf
littoral states, it is vital to coordinate the economic policies of regional
states,'' he noted.

"To secure their dominant positions, globally powerful economies are fast
converging, and in some cases merging," he said, adding that the same must be
done by Persian Gulf states.

"That is why the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the establishment of a
common regional economic framework," Kharrazi said, adding, "this setting
will be used to further consolidate the existing ties between the economies
of the region, increase the exchange of services and technical information,
and conduct joint economic and industrial projects."

On the importance of maintaining the security of the Persian Gulf, Kharrazi
said that the two policies of buying security through stockpiles of weapons
or reliance on foreign powers have long been practiced in the region; "But
experience has shown that neither of these two policies has been able to
ensure the security of the regional states," he added.

"Arms buildup which has led to an arms race has imposed huge costs on the
regional economy, contributing to economic and political instability proving
in practice to be destabilizing," he noted. The Iranian foreign minister
further said that buying security by relying on outside powers, too, has
practically led to an increase in the presence and influence of those powers
in the region which, in turn, has intensified divisions in the region.

In this regard, he said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the
institutionalization of the process of detente and confidence-building and
promotion of the culture of dialogue and understanding encompassing all the
Persian Gulf regional states is the only way to ensure the security of the
regional states, and prevent the outbreak of any serious divisions in the
future."

Kharrazi explained, "Because we believe that all problems can be solved
through exercise of prudence and goodwill."

On cultural challenges faced by the regional countries, Kharrazi said the
rapid development of information and telecommunications technology has
similarly effected the pace of cultural susceptibility.

The progression of this trend can lead to the erosion of cultural identities,
chip away at the cohesion of various countries and bring about political and
social instability, he added.

Safeguarding cultural rights is another serious challenge that is facing
Third World countries (TWC), specially Muslim states, Kharrazi said, adding:
"It is a campaign which requires a collective effort by all the members of
our societies, in particular, on the part of our scientists and cultural
luminaries." Kharrazi further called on the thinkers and researchers to make
efforts to achieve sustainable cooperation.

He concluded by hoping that the conference can take a momentous step to
enhance confidence and cooperation among nations to confront the challenges
facing humanity.

The afternoon session of the conference centered on `Sources of Threats and
CBM', chaired by Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, head of the Urosevic Study and
Research Foundation in UK. He shared the platform with Evgeni Bazhanov,
deputy director of the Russian Diplomatic Academy and Abdullah al-Balushi,
director for training of the Royal Oman Air Force.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:53:07 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Kharrazi Welcomes Conditional Presence of American Companies in Iran

Kharrazi Welcomes Conditional Presence of American Companies in Iran

* Kharrazi Welcomes U.A.E. Decision to Send Ambassador to Iran

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi yesterday conditionally welcomed the
presence of American companies in Iran to improve trade between the two
countries, IRNA reported.

Speaking after his opening address at a seminar on the Persian Gulf, Kharrazi
when asked by one of the participants to comment on relations with
Washington, said: "We consider the U.S. role in the region from various
angles. One of these angles can be economic. If this role is based on
non-interference in the affairs of the regional countries, we will welcome
the presence of U.S. companies in order to contribute to economic development
of the region."

On rumors that Iran had welcomed the idea of U.S. opening a consulate in the
Kish Island, Kharrazi noted: "We have a clear position toward the United
States, we have no relations with the United States. to talk about the
opening of a U.S. consulate in any part of the country."

The foreign minister added: "The other issue is the military presence of the
United States in the region as a sign of military rivalry and in order to
sell more weapons. The military presence of the United States is worse than
the security problems stemmed from the two devastating wars in the region and
we don't agree with that."

Kharrazi added: "If the United States were sincere and sought cooperation and
friendship, we would have reached more understanding. Naturally, the region
will not face a sustainable security unless that security is provided by the
regional countries and this requires states in the region themselves to
assume the responsibility of maintaining the security."

The soccer match played recently between the national Iranian and U.S. teams
in Pasadena, California was a focus of attention of foreign experts on which
the foreign minister said "naturally in the arena of soccer equality prevails
but unfortunately in the scene of politics it is not the case."

"All we have said is that if relations are not based on mutual respect and
equality there would be no reason for negotiations. In a soccer match the two
sides enjoy an equal status and no side is superior to the other. If in the
scene of politics like soccer games equality is prevailed we would have been
ready for negotiations," the foreign minister pointed out.

Kharrazi stressed: "We will hold talks with all countries and we are
advocates of dialogue and holding talks based on mutual respect and the
principle of equality, but noticing that conditions between Iran and the
United States are not the same, the issue of holding bilateral talks could
not be considered."

On the formation and mechanism for the security apparatus of the region,
Kharrazi said: "It may be the case that the formation of this apparatus for
the time being would not be possible in practice, but this goal should be
taken seriously and we should embark on materialization of this idea."

Kharrazi added: "It's not necessary for all countries in the region to be a
part of this mechanism from the beginning but rather they should be ready and
take necessary steps to contribute to this security arrangement in an
appropriate juncture."

The foreign minister said: "It is important to begin with this idea and to do
that we first need the policy of detente and then confidence-building."
Upgrading the confidence in the region will further pave the ground for the
formation of this security apparatus which is one of the priorities of the
Islamic Republic of Iran, Kharrazi pointed out.

The foreign minister also said: "There is a growing understanding in the
region about the security issue and I hope that time will come when we can be
able to lay the cornerstone of this security in the Persian Gulf through the
formation of a regional security apparatus." On relations between the Islamic
Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Kharrazi said:
"Relations between Iran and all the Persian Gulf states have improved
compared to the past and relations with the U.A.E. is not an exception."

He also said: "We had the highest commercial and economic relations with the
U.A.E. and the annual volume of bilateral trade reaches $1 billion. There are
also concrete relations between peoples of the two states."

"The U.A.E. has rightfully decided to dispatch it's ambassador to Iran and it
will be a positive development," the foreign minister commented, adding that
the contacts between President Mohammad Khatami of Iran and the president of
the U.A.E. was a sign of normal relations between the two neighboring states.

However, the foreign minister expressed hope that relations between the two
countries would expand and the two sides by underpinning the common points
would be able to settle the existing disputes.

Touching on the issue of foreign refugees residing in Iran, Kharrazi said
while Iran is hosting the highest number of refugees in the world it only
receives 15 percent of the international aid earmarked for this purpose and
thus is under the heaviest pressure.

"We always respect those refugees who are legally staying in Iran and they
are leading life like that of the Iranian people but those who illegally
enter the country are making trouble for us and they should go somewhere
else," said the foreign minister.

Rejecting the rumors of deportation of Iraqi refugees from Iran, Kharrazi
said these rumors are not true and in fact the rivalry among Iraqis
themselves is the source of such unfounded rumors.

The foreign minister expressed hope that through the settlement of the crisis
in Iraq, Iraqi refugees would return home.

Kharrazi also said that the Islamic Republic of Iran would welcome any
voluntarily return of refugees to their homelands.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:53:33 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran, Kuwait to Study Ways of Boosting Mutual Cooperation

Iran, Kuwait to Study Ways of Boosting Mutual Cooperation

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Abdulhussein Vahaji, the visiting Iranian deputy commerce minister,
told IRNA in Kuwait yesterday that Iran and Kuwait are to study ways of
upgrading commercial and economic ties, mutual cooperation in the engineering
and technical fields and joint investment.

Vahaji said that increasing the volume of trade exchanges through exports and
joint investment and regional cooperation, providing entrepreneurs with
credits, financial resources and offering incentives for entrepreneurs are
among other topics to be discussed in the third session of Tehran-Kuwait
Joint Economic Commission to be held today (Tuesday).

He said that a 16-member delegation from Iranian private sector, involved in
the fields of exports, imports, agriculture, trade and manufacturing is
accompany him.

The two sides are to explore ways of expanding mutual cooperation, he added.

He said the ground is prepared for expansion of economic and commercial
cooperation between Iran and Kuwait thanks to the agreements already reached
in the fields.

He expressed hope that officials of Iranian and Kuwaiti commerce ministries
would pay more attention in their talks to expansion of mutual cooperation.

pay more attention in their talks to expansion of mutual cooperation.

The Iranian official said that Kuwait's Free Zone has provided a good
opportunity for expansion of Iranian exports and entrepreneurs can make
planning for export and import of goods.

Meanwhile, Rashid Abdullah al-Mejran, Kuwait's deputy minister of commerce,
told IRNA that mutual cooperation in free zones, Iran's presence in the
Kuwaiti Free Trade Zone, holding of fairs in both countries, mutual
cooperation in the areas of customs, tourism, post and telecommunications and
problems facing exporters of Iranian goods to Kuwait are to be discussed
during the session.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:55:49 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran's Biggest Exclusive Trade Fair in S. Arabia

Iran's Biggest Exclusive Trade Fair in S. Arabia

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN - Iran's biggest exclusive trade fair abroad dubbed as "Iran 2000" is
to open in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia on Feb.

2 with the participation of 650 Iranian companies, deputy head of Export
Promotion Center of Iran, Hussein Soltani, said here yesterday. To continue
exports of non-oil commodities, Iran should produce high quality goods
according to international standards in a bid to maintain its share in
foreign markets, he said.

Referring to the volume of trade exchanges between Iran and Saudi Arabia
which has increased threefolds over the past years, he said after 15 years,
the trade balance between Iran and Saudi Arabia has changed in Iran's favor.

"Through proper and correct planning we can increase the trade exchanges
between the two countries to $1 billion within the next five years," Soltani
said.

Saudi Arabia would be one of Iran's major trade partners in the coming years,
he said.

Iran's major exports to Saudi Arabia consisted of petrol, handwoven and
machine-made carpets, cement, fruits, dried fruits, decorative stones,
pharmaceuticals, steel, sanitary equipment and so on, he said.

The upcoming Iran-2000 trade exhibit will be held in a 11,460-square-meter
plot of land to display Iranian-made goods such as machinery, construction
materials, furniture, household appliances, textile, chemicals, vehicles,
handicrafts, carpets, dried fruits, technical and engineering services.

The Iranian fair is to conclude its work on Feb. 12.

Meanwhile, the visiting deputy head of Saudi Arabia's Union of Chambers of
Commerce, Abdul Aziz Suleyman al-Afaleq, said here Sunday that Iran and Saudi
Arabia should expand their trade and economic relations in parallel with
strengthening of cooperation in science, culture, sports and economic
affairs.

He told IRNA that Iran has to strengthen its health licenses and
certification of standards for goods.

The Saudi official reiterated that bilateral negotiations have been fruitful
and the two countries have signed several memoranda of understanding.

He added that bilateral cooperation should also expand given the
determination of the two countries leaders. The Saudi official who also
chairs the Saudi private sector delegation in a trip to Tehran, added, "The
$150 million bilateral trade is a model of future relations and has to
continue to expand."

He further said that the actual volume of bilateral trade has surpassed the
official figures, adding that the two countries, in line with their
implementation of the accords ratified at the Second Joint Economic
Commission, are increasingly turning to each other to provide for their
needs.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:56:23 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran to Reduce Sugar Imports

Iran to Reduce Sugar Imports

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN - Logical consumption of sugar would make it possible for the country
to minimize import of sugar, which stands presently at about one million tons
a year.

Fadhlollah Sobhani, director of Isfahan sugar plant affiliated to the
Mostazafan and Janbazan Foundation (MJF), said that his plant had produced
32,600 tons of sugar last year (March 1998-March 1999), a figure which is
expected to reach more than 42,000 tons this year.

Isfahan sugar plant meets five percent of the country's need for sugar.

Some 36 sugar plants are active nationwide, of which six are affiliated to
the MJF, IRNA reported.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 06:56:54 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Domestic TV-Set Production Falls

Domestic TV-Set Production Falls

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN-- The managing director of a television production company said that
the estimated domestic demand for TV sets is 1.5 million annually, but its
production has fallen by 15 percent in the current Iranian year (started
March 21) compared with the same period last year.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday, Mohammad Kashani said that the most
important factors in the production slump are low value of rial and shortage
in liquidity.

Kashani added, "This year, it is estimated that over 700,000 TV sets will be
imported unofficially from abroad, at a time when domestic-made TV sets use
good quality picture tubes and their quality is better than the imported
ones."

The Industries Ministry has authorized production of about 1.5 million
picture tubes, which if liquidity shortages are resolved the project will be
implemented, he said.

The managing director of the government affiliated company added that about
$140 dollars of hard currency is used for each TV set, IRNA reported.

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 11:20:26 -0800
From: Arash Alavi <aalavi@US.ORACLE.COM>
Subject: Karbaschi Pardoned, Still Banned from Political Activity

BBC
Tuesday, 25 January, 2000, 16:24 GMT

Tehran mayor pardoned

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has given an
amnesty to the jailed reformist former mayor of Tehran,
Gholamhossein Karbaschi.

Tehran radio said the move, which may have important
political implications, was requested by the head of the
judiciary.

Mr Karbaschi, 44, an ally of moderate President Mohammad
Khatami, had been on prison leave since Saturday, and will
not have to return.

The former mayor, who took office in 1989, was convicted on
embezzlement charges and sentenced in July 1998 to five
years in prison, later reduced to two years on appeal. He
was also barred from any public function.

Mr Karbaschi, who is hated by Iran's conservatives, insists
his conviction was politically motivated.

His jail term began in May last year, following a trial
that was widely seen as a witch hunt by conservatives
trying to settle scores with the reformist President
Mohammad Khatami.

The mayor's support helped the president win election in
1997.

Mr Karbaschi, whose trial gripped the nation, had raised
the possibility on Monday that he might not be required to
return to jail when a period of prison leave ends later
this week.

"Everything is possible," he told the French news agency
AFP. Tactical move by conservatives?

The pardon is seen by some analysts as part of a campaign
by conservative clerics, who are led by Ayatollah Khamenei,
to project a more moderate image ahead of parliamentary
elections on 18 February.

A hardline vetting body has disqualified many key
reformists from running in the polls, but the conservatives
are known to be still worried about the outcome of the
election.

It has been reported that former president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani had succeeded in securing an amnesty for Mr
Karbaschi from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to mark the
anniversary of the 1979 revolution on 11 February.

Mr Karbaschi is closely associated with Mr Rafsanjani's
faction, the so-called Servants of Construction.

And Mr Rafsanjani is running as a candidate in next month's
parliamentary elections, at the head of the conservatives'
list.

A 10-year ban on Mr Karbaschi taking part in any political
activity, imposed with his original prison sentence, has
not been lifted, although he could still benefit Mr
Rafsanjani's own campaign.


Source:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_618000/618351.stm

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 24 Jan 2000 to 25 Jan 2000