Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Jan 2000 to 26 Jan 2000

There are 19 messages totalling 948 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
2. Right of Electorate to Know Versus `Ours Is Not to Question Why'
3. Hubble, Back to Life, Snaps Photo of a Dying Star
4. Met Police Pledges to Be Sensitive in Future to Muslims
5. Countdown To Final Ballot
6. EU, U.S., Canadian Meeting on Iran Set for March
7. Iran Denies Making Any Protest to Greece Over Air Incident
8. Blair Underlines Iran's Geopolitical Importance
9. Iran, Iraq Red Crescents Sign Letter of Understanding
10. Rowhani: Iran Considers Persian Gulf Security as Its Own One
11. CIA Admits Nuclear Claims Against Iran Are Baseless
12. For Your Information
13. Ozar: Iran's Dialogue Initiative Serves to Boost Cultural Ties
14. Blame Serial Killings on Appointment Process!
15. Iran Has Made Mistakes in the Past
16. RAJAIE KHORASSANI: Experts May Comment About Diplomatic Tie With
17. Pars Int'l Airport Inaugurated in S. Iran
18. Switzerland Extends $300m in Credit to Iran
19. Iran-Kuwait Joint Economic Commission Convenes

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 03:10:58 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: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:17:09 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Right of Electorate to Know Versus `Ours Is Not to Question Why'

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL JANUARY 26, 2000

Right of Electorate to Know Versus `Ours Is Not to Question Why'

In recent days, whole pages in Iranian dailies have been consecrated to
critical analyses on former high profile personalities, including
Hojjatoleslam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Needless to say, this is the first time in the post revolutionary era that a
top ranking official in the regime is called to account. Previously, such
discussions were unthinkable.

Our peers would never be questioned and grilled let alone openly accused
without proof and due process of law.

Perhaps on the odd occasion, with baited breath and caution the sacrosanct
person may have been gently nudged. Briefly, there were certain procedural
niceties for cavilling, or better still: `Our's was not to question why.'

That is all gone and past. It is common practice on the campaign trail for
the Sixth Majlis elections for every faction to throw everything it's got
into the race. Particularly now that the country is poised for a fateful
parliamentary election. The leftist Unity Consolidation Office (UCO) will
quiz the Hojjatoleslam Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on his eight year stint at
the helm of the Islamic Republic of Iran next week.

Transparency and accountability have become common procedure when calling
authority to account. That's alight when there are murky patches. That is
part of the democratic process. But why now, when we are only 22 days away
from our much flaunted 18 February polls to elect the future Majlis? Should
we call foul?

Doubts linger that the bickering and rancor stem from two and a half years
ago when Rafsanjani stepped down as president after two terms in office. Much
of the verve hinges on personal grudge and private scores to settle. Why the
rush, whereas serious allegations concerning the management of the eight year
imposed war with Iraq could have been debated at an appropriate time with
calm and composure? Coming two and a half years after the person in question
has left office is suspect.

Calling the performances of the imposed war into question could have security
repercussions for the nation. Being in the hot seat at times of crisis is no
joking matter particularly if the fate of a nation hangs in the balance. He
was the only person capable of making the vital decision at the time. He made
the right political and economic decisions at the time since he was the only
person who knew the facts and commanded overall respect.

In the aftermath, it is well that we should reflect sensibly on all that had
gone before. We may review the past performance of our top authorities. It is
our right to know. Yet those who decided on our behalf at the time and
brought us out of the turmoil to more prosperous days made the right
decisions, otherwise we wouldn't be here.

Let us give credit where it is due and cast off the cloak of bias and
prejudice.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:19:59 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Hubble, Back to Life, Snaps Photo of a Dying Star

Hubble, Back to Life, Snaps Photo of a Dying Star

WASHINGTON (DPA) - The Hubble space telescope came back to life in
magnificent fashion last week, snapping dramatic photos of remote galaxies
and a colorful dying star, the U.S. space agency NASA said recently.

The photos were taken January 10-13 as part of the Hubble's first shakedown
following last month's space shuttle mission to repair the 10-year-old
space-based observatory.

"Hubble is better than new," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator
for space science.

Hubble had been blind for two months after four of its six gyroscopes failed.
All six gyroscopes were replaced last month during a previously scheduled
repair mission.

To verify the success of the repairs, astronomers aimed Hubble's cameras at
two "photogenic" targets. One was the so-called "Eskimo Nebula", an intricate
structure of shells and streamers of gas around a dying sun-like star 5,000
light years away.

The Eskimo Nebula was named because from ground-based telescopes it looks
like a face inside a furry parka. But in Hubble's clear photo, the "furry"
features resemble giant comets streaking away from the central star like the
spokes of a wheel.

"Of all the planetary nebulae imaged by the Hubble space telescope, this new
image is unsurpassed in subtle beauty," said J. Patrick Harrington of the
University of Maryland.

The second target was a massive cluster of galaxies called Abell 2218, which
magnifies the light of more distant galaxies far behind it.

Astronomers hope to glean a glimpse of the early universe through the image.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:20:32 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Met Police Pledges to Be Sensitive in Future to Muslims

Met Police Pledges to Be Sensitive in Future to Muslims

The Metropolitan Police has promised to be more careful and receptive to
Muslim feelings in future, especially in slurring Islam as a violent
religion, reports next week's The Muslim News.

Speaking to The Muslim News after the meeting with the Met Police, the
secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Iqbal Sacranie,
said that from the "assurances given to us by assistant commissioner, David
Veness, I am confident that the Met Police will not use such pejorative terms
in future." "We must be sensitive in using the word Islamic, especially when
it is being associated with alleged acts of terrorism," Veness said in a
joint statement with the secretary-general of the MCB released yesterday.

with the secretary-general of the MCB released yesterday.

His pledge follows the Met. withdrawing the word `Islamic' from a press
statement in December after a protest from the Muslim community.

The statement was defamatory by associating Muslims with extremists in
warning of alleged terrorist attacks over the Millennium Holiday.

In the joint statement with Sacranie, Veness said he recognized the "concerns
of the Muslim community."

"My meeting with Mr. Sacranie was constructive and positive. We both agreed
that we should work together to develop a greater understanding of all the
issues as effective lines of communication," he said.

The MCB secretary-general said that he raised a number of issues with the
Assistant Commission, including the concern on the use of the word `Islamic'
when referring to alleged terrorism and speculative reports.

"The word `Islamic' and `terrorism' are mutually contradictory," he said,
stressing that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are law abiding and
reject all forms of terrorism.

Veness and Sacranie both described the relationship between the police and
Muslim community as developing along healthy lines.

They agreed to work together on a joint paper to highlight concerns of the
Muslim community and act as a point of reference for future consultations.

The Muslim News was established in February 1989 with a circulation of over
65,000. It reports on and reflects issues concerning the British Muslim
community.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:25:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Countdown To Final Ballot

Countdown To Final Ballot

Ahmad Pour-Nejati, a member of IRIB Supervisory Board, said some people try
to portray Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as being an innocent figure, adding this
would "go against honest politics." He further noted that the IRIB has a
historical opportunity to regain its lost credibility by doing away with its
political bias.

Pro-Khatami daily Fath quoted nationalist figure Habibollah Payman as saying
that the disqualification of candidates by the Guardian Council would
disillusion the nation with the trend of reforms which was advocated by
President Khatami. "We expect the President to be more active in the
political scene (defending people's rights)," he said.

Alireza Nouri, brother of former head of Tehran City Council Abdullah Nouri,
said the motion which bars city council members from running for Majlis, was
approved after the election of Nouri to the presidency of city council.
Therefore, he had to resign in order to run for the Parliament. Moreover,
Rafsanjani also recommended Nouri to resign.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:25:55 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: EU, U.S., Canadian Meeting on Iran Set for March

EU, U.S., Canadian Meeting on Iran Set for March

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN - The European Union is to hold a meeting with the Unite States and
Canada on Iran in March, according to a calendar of events under the
Portuguese presidency, IRNA reported.

The meeting is being held at senior official level in Brussels on March 28
under the EU's common foreign and security policy. It comes after an EU-U.S.
dialogue on the Middle East on the previous day.

Portugal's calendar also reveals that the next EU dialogue meeting with Iran
will take place on June 16 in Tehran, but is again listed at senior official
level.

Some observers have suggested that the biannual meeting could have been
upgraded to ministerial level following the resumption of full diplomatic
relations between Iran and the UK, the last EU country to do so.

Announcing Portugal's six-month program in December, Foreign Affairs Minister
Jaime Gama said that his presidency would "follow the broad-ranging process
of dialogue with Iran."

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:27:12 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Denies Making Any Protest to Greece Over Air Incident

Iran Denies Making Any Protest to Greece Over Air Incident

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Iranian diplomatic sources in Athens Monday denied some Italian
press reports suggesting that Tehran had lodged a protest with Athens over an
incident involving the plane of Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

"It was a minor misunderstanding and the problem was resolved in a short
time. There was absolutely no protest or anything like that from our side,"
an Iranian Embassy source told IRNA Monday.

Earlier, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis issued a
statement about the incident.

Beglitis said that the Iranian Embassy in Athens had requested permission for
the plane of Oil Minister Zanganeh to fly over Greek air space on its way and
back from Libya on 20-21 January.

The Greek Civil Aviation authorities granted the necessary permission to the
Falcon Jet-50 of the Iranian minister.

However, on its way back from Libya on 21 January, the pilot of the Iranian
plane just before taking off declared that it was a military aircraft with
the result that the Greek Air Force had to get involved in order to apply the
regulations meant for military planes, said the statement.

It added that the misunderstanding was cleared within a short time and the
aircraft carrying the Iranian oil minister passed over Greek air space
unhindered.

Iranian diplomatic sources told IRNA that the Falcon was diverted to Rome
Airport till the misunderstanding was cleared.

The news about the incident was published in the Italian press.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:28:15 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Blair Underlines Iran's Geopolitical Importance

Blair Underlines Iran's Geopolitical Importance

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN - Iran and her neighboring countries represent an "area of strategic
importance to the United Kingdom for a number of reasons," Prime Minister
Tony Blair has told British MPs.

"Among these are the region's history of political instability and conflict,
the importance of the region for world energy resources and its position
across important global communications routes," he said in a written reply to
Parliament Monday.

Blair was asked to expand Iran's strategic importance to the UK in the region
following his comments about the significance of the development of
London-Tehran relation.

Iran, he said, also "straddles the major route by which heroin reaches the
United Kingdom from Afghanistan." In response to a question last week from
Labour MP Tam Dalyell, the British prime minister underlined the importance
attached to Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi's visit to London earlier
this month.

Quoted by IRNA, he said Iran was a "major country in an area of strategic
importance," while stressing the development of relations should be "based on
cooperation and mutual trust."

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:28:53 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran, Iraq Red Crescents Sign Letter of Understanding

Iran, Iraq Red Crescents Sign Letter of Understanding

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- A letter of understanding was signed between the Iranian and Iraqi
Red Crescent Societies during the visit of an Iranian delegation to the
country, IRNA reported.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society's head, Ahmad Ali Nourbala, said in
Kermanshah on Monday that the delegation was in Iraq on a pilgrimage trip to
the holy shrines there during which the two sides signed the letter.

According to the letter, he said, the Iranian Red Crescent Society is to
transfer its experiences to its Iraqi counterpart and also offer training
courses and technical aid to it.


Iran's Ambassador to Oman Meets With Omani Minister

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Nematollah Izadi, Iran's envoy to Muscat, met with Omani Minister
of Information Abd al-Aziz bin Muhammad ar-Rowas on Monday in Abu Dhabi, IRNA
reported.

According to the Iranian ambassador in Muscat, the Iranian and Omani
officials discussed ways of expanding the brotherly ties between the two
countries.

The Omani minister in the meeting voiced the preparedness of his country to
boost relations with the Islamic Republic, particularly in the area of
information dissemination.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:29:21 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rowhani: Iran Considers Persian Gulf Security as Its Own One

Rowhani: Iran Considers Persian Gulf Security as Its Own One

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN - Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan
Rowhani said here yesterday that Iran considers security in the southern
Persian Gulf states as its own security and any tension and instability in
the region detrimental to its national security.

Addressing the closing session of an international conference entitled "The
Persian Gulf Toward the 21st Century", Rowhani said that security of Iran,
which possesses half of the Persian Gulf coasts, cannot be separate from that
of other Persian Gulf littoral states.

To maintain security, said Rowhani, Iran believes that besides firmness and
defense capability, the countries of the region are in need of diplomacy and
cultural exchanges.

Iran and other Persian Gulf littoral states should define clearly identity of
the region and present new definitions on types of power and threats, said
Rowhani, adding that the regional countries should make the region free from
weapons of mass destruction and should prevent foreign vessels carrying
weapons of mass destruction from entering the region.

Iran is ready to build cooperation in that concern with all regional states,
said Rowhani. Iran is for full transparency of arm purchases by regional
states so as to build confidence and transfer data on military activities and
exercises of regional states, he added.

Iran is ready to fight drug trafficking and terrorism, upgrade economic
cooperation, guarantee free export of oil from the region, hold talks on
establishment of the Persian Gulf cooperation and security cooperation and
hold consultations for conclusion of a non-aggression treaty among regional
states, the Iranian parliamentarian announced.

Iran is for guaranteeing free export of oil in the region, said Rowhani.

He said: "We know that export of oil and security of this strategic waterway
is important for the world. We too are sensitive toward it and believe that
the waterway should be kept safe for sound functioning of the global economy."

If main source of power of the region, i.e. oil is taken into oblivion and
regional states engage in arms race, then they will make a grave blunder in
calculating national and regional power and security, warned Rowhani.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:30:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: CIA Admits Nuclear Claims Against Iran Are Baseless

CIA Admits Nuclear Claims Against Iran Are Baseless

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- The United States cannot substantiate allegations claiming that
Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, its Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) has admitted.

According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the CIA in its new report said it has "no
information that Iran has the ability to produce nuclear arms."

It admitted that the United States was "not fully able to track Iran's
purchases of nuclear equipment, technology and fissile material on the
world's black market, particularly in the former Soviet Union." The report
contrasts with how the New York Times covered the findings last week, when it
claimed the CIA had told the White House it can no longer rule out the
possibility that Iran may be able to make a nuclear weapons because of the
lack of information, IRNA reported from London.

Jane's Defense Weekly said that the findings said the uncertainty affected
the U.S. agency's ability to assess if Iran will be able to produce a nuclear
weapon.

Iran last week rejected charges made in the New York Times, saying the
Islamic Republic had taken the initiative to launch a dialogue among
civilizations and did not need to resort to nuclear weapons.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:31:45 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: For Your Information

For Your Information

An Iranian official was reproved after remarks to the press in favor of
opening a U.S. Consulate on the southern Persian Gulf Island of Kish, daily
Jomhuri Eslami reported yesterday.

An unnamed source at the Foreign Ministry told the daily the head of the Kish
Free Zone Organization, Mohammad Reza Yazdanpanah, was reproved and ordered
to deny his remarks.

Yazdanpanah had told the economic daily Abrar-e Eqtesadi Sunday that he would
approve the opening of a U.S. Consulate on Kish if requested by the Foreign
Ministry. The Kish Island head promptly denied all relevant reports in this
regard as "misquotation".

(DPA) Afghanistan's ruling Taliban yesterday accused Iran of ignoring its
responsibilities toward Chechen Muslims.

Taliban deputy information minister, Abdurrahman Hotak, said that as a
powerful Islamic country and as the current head of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference (OIC), Iran should have played a positive role.

"They have made deals with Russians. Iranian authorities made numerous trips
(to Moscow) when the Chechens were under the Russian pounding blows.

"We hope Iran realizes its mistake and plays an active role (in support of
Chechens)," Hotak said.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:32:31 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Ozar: Iran's Dialogue Initiative Serves to Boost Cultural Ties

Ozar: Iran's Dialogue Initiative Serves to Boost Cultural Ties

Iran Calls for Promotion of Cultural Ties Among ECO States

IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ataollah Mohajerani here
yesterday called for promotion of cultural ties among the member states of
the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

Addressing the inaugural session of the second meeting of the board of
trustees of the ECO Cultural Institute, Mohajerani, who is head of the Board
of Trustees of the ECO Cultural Institute, said that today the powerful
civilization of the region is in need of a motivation in order to sit at a
negotiating table with other civilizations and talk on their past
backgrounds.

Undoubtedly, he added, this ancient civilization is in need of profound,
unbiased and practical research works on common cultural heritage in order to
promote the public awareness.

The existence of historical monuments and a large number of museums in
various countries throughout the region is an indication of due attention of
the people and governments to revival and preservation of the rich culture of
the past.

The minister further underlined the need to attach more importance to
cultural issues.

He expressed hope that by adopting appropriate policies during the current
meeting, the way would be paved for further cooperation among the ECO member
states in the cultural field.

Mohajerani also called on all ECO member countries to make efforts to
implement projects through multilateral cooperation.

Representatives from Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey,
Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan are attending the two-day meeting, IRNA
reported.

The Tehran-based ECO Cultural Institute works to promote cultural relations
among the ECO member states. It has branch offices in Pakistan and Turkey.

The institute has published 63 titles of books on literature, philosophy,
arts, mysticism and the biographies of scientists and cultural figures.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the ECO Onder Ozar said yesterday the
initiative of holding dialogue put forward by President Seyed Mohammad
Khatami was strong enough to promote common grounds among the ECO member
nations.

Addressing the conference, Ozar said holding cultural weeks and cultural
exchanges among the member states would serve to boost cultural cooperation.

among the member states would serve to boost cultural cooperation.

He said the founding members of ECO, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan along with
Afghanistan and Tajikistan established the ECO Cultural Institute in March
1995 by signing and ratifying its charter.

Ozar said Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan have signed the
charter of the ECO Cultural Institute, but, they have yet to ratify it.

He called on the four member states to ratify the charter through their
legislative bodies to help the ECO cultural entity work to boost cultural
cooperation.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:33:10 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Blame Serial Killings on Appointment Process!

Blame Serial Killings on Appointment Process!

HAMSHAHRI * This municipality-affiliated daily published the MPs' comments on
a video footage which shows the confessions of the accused tied with the
infamous serial killings. Most deputies believe that not only the film did
not respond the questions surrounding the case, but also created more doubts
in the their minds. Meanwhile, leftist MPs said broadcasting the film on
national TV would pose a threat to the country's national security, while the
rightists blamed the job designation of the Intelligence Ministry, and
wondered about the connection of Saeed Emami with Mossad and CIA.

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.

Mossad and FBI

IRAN * This IRNA-affiliated daily reported that in the video footage recently
screened for Majlis deputies, showing the confessions of those suspected to
have been involved in the last year's serial killings, the accused admitted
that they collaborated with Israeli secret service, Mossad, and the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to kill four dissident writers in a bid
to destabilize the country.

Film Is True

ARYA * This pro-Khatami daily reported that Mohammad Niazi, chief of military
branch of the Judiciary, has sworn that the confessions of the accused in the
film are true and are not fake. However, some leftist MPs mentioned that the
content of the film has been faked in a bid to condemn the left-wing.

Film Not Legally Admissible?

ARYA * Legal expert, Ramezan Haji-Mashhadi, said the video footage which
should the confessions of serial killers has not been prepared under normal
conditions and such a film is not legally valid. He added that members of the
Investigation Committee does not have respect for the citizens' rights and
they only want to secure more votes for themselves in the upcoming
parliamentary elections.

Stern Warning for GC

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily quoted Hojjatoleslam Fazel Meibodi, member
of the Association of Qom Seminary Teachers, who said according to the
Constitution the function of Guardian Council (GC) is to supervise the
elections and not assess the qualifications of candidates. Many of
disqualified candidates have more passion for Islam and the country than
others. It is advisable that the council not to engage itself in such unjust
practices, otherwise they soon would face the consequences.

Deal-Making Statesmen

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Mohammad-Javad Larijani, rightist MP, said Iran's
backwardness in government management is much worse than its backwardness in
auto manufacturing. "Our statesmen are engaged in deal-makings.

When they are appointed to a high post, they dismiss all previous managers in
their organizations."

Khatami Didn't Choose Qualified Ministers

MOSHAREKAT * This daily affiliated to the Islamic Iran Partnership Party,
quoted Ahmad Tavakoli, managing director of the closed rightist daily Farda,
as saying that one of the slogans supported by Khatami was "meritocracy"
while he did not observe this in choosing his Cabinet ministers.

IIPP Members Revolting?

JAVAN * This rightist daily wrote after the President recommended the IIPP to
support Rafsanjani in the Majlis elections, differences have emerged inside
the party and some of its members threatened to resign, if the party acts
based on the President's advice.

Ignorant With Political Bias

ENTEKHAB * This rightist daily quoted Abdolmajid Moadikhah, secretary of the
Foundation for Islamic Revolution History, as saying that those who try to
create hostility between the President and Hashemi Rafsanjani, at best, it
should be said, are ignorant people who have factional bias, and at worst,
are agents of those who wish to derail the process of political reforms
initiated.

Two More Killings

PAYAM-E HAJAR * This leftist weekly said the serial killings case is to
include six murders instead of the current four. Since it has now been agreed
that Pirouz Davani's murder was part of the serial killings, it is likely
that the murder of Majid Sharif is also to be considered as such.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:34:47 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Has Made Mistakes in the Past

Iran Has Made Mistakes in the Past

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Speaking to IRAN NEWS in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of
the 10th International Conference on the Persian Gulf (ICPG) on Monday, the
chairman of the session on `Sources of Threats and Confidence Building
Measures' (SOT-CBM) at ICPG stated that Iran has altered its initial policy
of overt inteference on the pretext of Islam in the affairs of the Central
Asian republics (CAR).

Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, prominent speaker on rapprochement on a north-south
axis stretching from Russia to the Persian Gulf, stated that it was essential
to dent the American advance into the Caspian Sea region where it was wooing
all-comers in a drive to capitalize on the disintegration of the Soviet Union
after 1991.

Simultaneously, many in the Arab lobby at the conference were unhappy at
Russian attempts to infiltrate their territory on the pretext of active
cooperation and trade links. A spokesman for the Arab lobby at the session
referred to SOT-CBM session as 'cheap propaganda.' Asked to clarify the
presnet situation in the Caspian Sea basin, Russia and the Persian Gulf
region, Mojtahedzadeh stated that the current U.S.-Turkish-Israeli pact was
specifically tailored to future designs and new openings in the Caspian Sea
region. Mojtahedzadeh co-hosted SOT-CBM session with Evgeni Bazhanov, deputy
head of the School of Diplomacy in Russia. Bazhanov stated Russia was
steadfast in its support of Iran and strongly advocated the right of Iran to
armaments and supported Iranian policies in the region and throughout the
world.

Bazhanov came under strong attack at the SOT-CBM session for Russian bullying
tactics toward the Commonwealth of Independent states (CIS) and its current
war in Chechen. The chairman of the session was quizzed on a new front that
was fast taking shape in Europe and actively promoting EU-CIS ties which
could incorporate Iran. Such a move could alleviate the current tension in
the Caspian Sea region and offer acceptable and satisfactory long-term
solutions for a secure and stable international understanding.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:35:42 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: RAJAIE KHORASSANI: Experts May Comment About Diplomatic Tie With

RAJAIE KHORASSANI: Experts May Comment About Diplomatic Tie With Washington

NEWS ANALYSIS

BY MOJGAN JALALI

TEHRAN - Recently reports were spread to the effect that an American
consulate will be opened in Kish Free Trade Zone (KFTZ) and various subjects
were raised in this connection. At one side Mohammad Reza Yazdanpanah,
director of KFTZ, has welcomed such a step and has said that Iran should look
to the opening of a U.S. consulate in the island as a positive step. On the
other hand in response to that question, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
objected to the move saying that Tehran does not have diplomatic ties with
Washington to require a consulate at free trade zones or anywhere else in
Iran.

Earlier also the U.S. authorities had called for opening a U.S. consulate to
facilitate the issue of visit for the citizens of the both countries which
suggestion provoked various reactions from senior Iranian statesmen.

In an important address to the Asia Society in New York, last year, U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright welcomed the removal of the existing
hurdles that obstructed relations between Iran and America and called on the
Iranian government to define the "road map" for settlement of the
sophisticated dispute between Tehran and Washington.

Several months later addressing the same Society Dr. Kharrazi assessed the
change in Washington's tone as positive but did not respond explicitly to
Albright's gesture.

With regard to the legal side of opening a U.S. consulate in Tehran or the
vice versa, Dr. Saeed Rajaie Khorassani, the adviser to the Iranian foreign
minister, says: "One cannot examine this issue from the legal point of view
because the two countries have no political ties and it would be meaningless
for either side to open consulates at either country." Underlining the
requirement for agreements between the two sides to open consulates in either
country, Rajaie Khorassani said had the two sides enjoyed diplomatic
relation, the U.S. application to open a consulate in KFTZ could be
considered.

Turning to the need for consulates to facilitate visa for applicants in both
countries and considering the volume of such applications, the Foreign
Ministry official said that the issue was not a legal one but a political and
diplomatic one between the two states.

"Of course the matter can be commented upon and recommendations can be made
but as long as the two states lack diplomatic relations, it would be
meaningless to open consulates," said Rajaie Khorassani and suggested that
the citizens could write articles and comment on the merits and demerits of
restoration of ties between Tehran and Washington.

Rajaie Khorassani was the man who wrote his famous letter in 1992 to the
Supreme Leader and called for resumption of diplomatic relations with the
U.S. and his letter raised much hue and cry. Asked about the letter, he said,
"In that letter I had said that besides the hostilities and bitter language
exchanged between Tehran and Washington, both countries shared important
common interests on regional and international levels and that the Islamic
Republic could negotiate with the U.S.

at least in the fields that it shared common interests." Now considering the
recent developments and the words that has been exchanged in the past one and
a half years about relations between Washington and Tehran by both sides, it
is time to express expertise and independent opinions about the merits and
evils of a resumption of ties between the two countries.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:38:04 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Pars Int'l Airport Inaugurated in S. Iran

Pars Int'l Airport Inaugurated in S. Iran

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN -- Pars International Airport was inaugurated Monday in the Pars
Energy Special Economic Zone in the Persian Gulf during a ceremony attended
by Iran's oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, and chief of Iran's Air Force
Brig. Gen. Habib Baqaei.

Noting that the airport has been constructed in the shortest possible time,
Baqaei said the airport's runway, with a length of 3,800 meters and width of
40 meters, is able to handle wide-bodied aircrafts. Baqaei expressed hope
that the full utilization of the airport will start in the near future.

According to IRNA, Bushehr's governor general, several MPs and officials from
French, Malaysian and Russian oil companies were also present at the opening
ceremony.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:38:45 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Switzerland Extends $300m in Credit to Iran

Switzerland Extends $300m in Credit to Iran

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN -- For the first time, Switzerland has extended credit of $300 million
to Iranian industries to import raw material and machinery to be used in
exports. The director general of Swiss Andre Finco Institute's Middle East
operations, Phillip Beck, and the head of Iran Export Guarantee Fund (IEGF),
Hussein Karbelai, signed the agreement here yesterday.

The credit is in the form of one-year usance extendible for up to five years
to industrial units and banks.

IEGF which is affiliated to the Commerce Ministry will guarantee the credit.
The credit ceiling could be extended up to $500 million annually and its
interest rate may be lower than international rates.

The Swiss official said that by signing the agreement, his country has shown
interest in expansion of bilateral cooperation with Iran.

Beck added that in addition to strengthening exports through better quality
of products, the project will make available financial management to Iran and
is also a step in bolstering bilateral ties in various areas.

IEGF director said liquidity shortages and inadequate availability of
financial sources is an obstacle facing Iranian industries, making them
(industries) unable to use their full production capacity. He also added that
credit extended will make contribution to industrial units working capital,
utilization of excess export capacity, creating employment, higher income and
more competitiveness of domestic products on international markets.

He stated that the credit will boost hard currency availability of industrial
units by 40 percent adding, IEGF will use the credit to import sugar, cooking
oil, raw material for tire production, chemicals and industrial parts used in
exports. According to IRNA, the related ministries have announced that the
plan will begin on Feb. 1.

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:39:11 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran-Kuwait Joint Economic Commission Convenes

Iran-Kuwait Joint Economic Commission Convenes

IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK

TEHRAN -- The Third Session of Iran-Kuwait Joint Economic Commission was
convened in Kuwait yesterday. Kuwaiti deputy commerce minister, Rashid
Abdullah al-Mijran, praised the efforts of the two countries in expanding
economic relations and stressed resolving outstanding trade problems in line
with the previously signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and ongoing
negotiations. He also termed the bilateral political and economic ties as
cordial, expressing hope that the trade ties will also be strengthened.

The Kuwaiti official said that Kuwait is prepared to resolve the obstacles
faced by the Iranian businesspeople and provide facilities for them.

He added that more discussions and meetings and signing MoUs are fruitful in
expansion of trade between the two countries' private sectors.

Iranian deputy commerce minister, Abdolhossein Vahhaji, also voiced Iran's
readiness for cooperation with Kuwait in a wide range of areas to expand
economic and trade ties and welcomed efforts to resolve the difficulties
faced by Iranian entrepreneurs in Kuwait including visas and customs tariffs.

The two officials also discussed customs and banking issues, tourism,
telecommunications, free trade zones (FTZs) as well as sea and port
transportation.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 25 Jan 2000 to 26 Jan 2000