Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Feb 2000

There are 14 messages totalling 1120 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Iran conservatives see no policy change after vote
2. Iran's hardliners at crossroads
3. Latest Results of the 6th Parliament Election
4. Canada welcomes reformers' lead in Iran election
5. Reformers promise freedoms
6. Rafsanjani's Declining Political Fortune
7. Women's Problems Should Be Great Concern of Majlis
8. Heikal Praises Elections in Iran
9. We Are on Top!
10. Fwd: Yadbood & Mizeger for Iran Election
11. U.S. hints that gestures to Iran are possible
12. Ex-Iran president cautious on reformers success
13. Iran seizes one tonne of drugs from camel caravan
14. Senate May Sanction Iran Suppliers

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 14:59:09 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran conservatives see no policy change after vote

Iran conservatives see no policy change after vote

By Mehrdad Balali


TEHRAN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Iranian conservatives said on Tuesday the
impressive election win by reformers will not bring sweeping policy changes
because many MPs were still faithful to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

President Mohammad Khatami's pro-reform allies swept to a big win in Friday's
elections against entrenched conservatives thanks to a large turnout by
voters eager for change.

Reformers see the outcome as a clear mandate for Khatami to accelerate his
liberal reforms and further open up to the West.

But conservatives put on a brave face, hailing the turnout as an indication
of popular support for the Islamic system.

``It was a triumph for the Islamic revolution. The losers were those who
tried to separate the people from the system,'' said Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri,
conservative speaker of the outgoing parliament.

``Those who voted believe in the system and its principles and values,'' said
Nateq-Nouri, who did not seek re-election.

CONSERVATIVES SAY PARLIAMENT'S POWER LIMITED

The reformers' victory has inspired hopes of greater civil liberties in the
Islamic society among secular Iranians, and of greater openness to Western
countries.

A more moderate parliament is expected to introduce wide-ranging legal
reforms and clear away legal obstacles to Khatami's reforms, which face
strong opposition from conservative bodies.

But some conservatives reminded the public of the constitutional limits on
parliament, and the primacy of religious laws as the backbone of the clerical
state.

``The parliament has a defined room for manoeuvre. Rulings passed by the
assembly will become law only if they conform with Islamic laws,'' the
hardline daily Kayhan said.

Iran's Council of Guardians, dominated by non-elected rightist clerics, can
block parliamentary legislation it deems inconsistent with Moslem sharia law
or the constitution.

MANY REFORMERS OF DEVOUT BACKGROUNDS

Many of the reformers elected to parliament come from religious and
revolutionary backgrounds and do not want to appear to undermine fundamental
values.

The more strident reformers have tried to find a way around this, cushioning
newly acquired liberal democratic aspirations in traditional jargon.

This strategy has protected them from a hardline onslaught against the
liberal trends within Khatami's crusade for a civil society.

``The majority of those elected to the next parliament are committed to the
Islamic republic. They are not the reformers America thinks they are,''
conservative MP Morteza Nabavi said.

The United States called the reformers' victory an historic vote for greater
openness and freedom, which could eventually help end two decades of U.S.
estrangement with Iran.

Nabavi, an outspoken critic of Khatami's reforms, warned that reformers had
to deal with Iran's tough economic problems.

``People voted for factions close to Khatami so that the parliament would be
with the government. Now the government does not have any excuses for not
solving the country's critical problems,'' he told reporters.

The hardline daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami said the reformists' victory was a
serious blow, a statement which may echo the private mood of the
conservatives in the face of their defeat.

``The question is not who won or who lost. What happened is a blow to the
whole establishment. We will soon learn the bitter truth that the main loser
is the whole circle of the clergy and revolutionaries,'' it said.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 16:10:38 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran's hardliners at crossroads

Hardliners face some soul-searching


By Baqer Moin of the BBC Persian
Service

In Iran's first relatively free
parliamentary election in 20 years,
cities considered the bastion of
rightwing forces have fallen one after
another to the reformists.

It is a rude awakening for the
conservatives.

This is the first election in which the
younger generation of Iranian
politicians has participated with
vigour, bringing messages of freedom
and reform.

The conservatives
have been in
Iranian politics for
over four decades.


They have
organisational
skills, financial
resources,
religious
commitment and
factional interests
to promote.

They have
captured most Iranian institutions,
including the Assembly of Experts,
which appoints the supreme leader,
and the constitutional watchdog
body, the Council of Guardians.

They still have a strong hold on the
judiciary and strong ties with
paramilitary forces, including the
police.

Within clerical
institutions, a
number of leading
senior clergy also
support the
conservative
cause.

Although they
work in the name
of Ayatollah
Khomeini and his
successor
Ayatollah
Khamenei, they
have promoted their own factional
interests.

This has been at the cost of
alienating a large majority of the
electorate with their isolationist
foreign policy, and strict social and
cultural policies such as the severe
women's dress code and the joyless
life for young people.

Soul-searching

The conservatives have not been
alone in imposing their views. The
radical left-wingers who had the
upper hand for a decade under
Ayatollah Khomeini were no angels
either.

To some degree they faced a similar
fate when they lost in the 1992 Majlis
[parliamentary] elections.

Helped by former President, Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, the
conservatives evicted the left from
most revolutionary institutions.

The left-wingers,
including President
Khatami himself,
began a period of
soul-searching,
self education and
reflection,
admitting their
past misdeeds.

It was this period
that brought the
left-wingers into
closer contact with
the aspirations of
the majority of Iranians, and it was
then that the path of reform was
chosen.

Reform

When the 1997 presidential election
came, the left - now turned liberal
reformists - were in a position to pull
off a major victory headed by
President Khatami.

The question now is whether the right
will pursue the same model and begin
revising their policies and approaches
in order to return with vigour if
President Khatami's policies come
unstuck.

This would be the most obvious
course of action if the right are to
become a fully-fledged modern
political force in Iran.

However, the
temptation for the
hardliners among
the right-wingers
is to use their
institutional
strength to create
further obstacles
for President
Khatami's policies.

There are also
those who argue
that some of the
extreme elements within the
judiciary, security and paramilitary
forces may in fact create a major
crisis for the country similar to the
Tehran University uproar last year, in
the hope of crushing the reform
movement.

However, even if this happens, it may
only bring temporary respite for the
extreme elements.

Undermined

The chances for reform now very
much depend on how President
Khatami, alongside parliament,
handles the minority rightwing
faction.

The country's supreme leader,
Ayatollah Khamenei, has a key role to
play in ensuring that those rightwing
elements within the institutions
under his command work within the
constitutional framework.

The right-wingers have elevated him
far above what was envisioned for
him in the constitution.

This has not strengthened his
position, but rather undermined him
due to his association with the
rightwingers.

The reformists do accept the supreme
leader as a constitutional leader, but
they want him to submit himself to
constitutional supervision.

And they also realise the country has
a sizeable rightwing force whose
rights should be recognised.

It is now up to the rightwing forces to
make the next move; whether to join
constitutional politics or resort to
extra constitutional campaigns.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 00:44:58 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Latest Results of the 6th Parliament Election

Dear friends,
According to the Interior Ministry, sofar (i.e. 21.00 PM,
local time, Tue 22 Feb) 1,847,705 votes have been counted
from 2088 boxes in Tehran (where total number of 3,111
boxes stationed).
It is also asserted that by 8:00 AM, Wednesday 23 Feb, the
final results will be announced.

The following are the latest election results:

1. Seyed Mohammad Reza Khatami 1,211,278
2. Jamileh Kadivar 902,404
3. Alireza Nouri 885,559
4. Mohsen Armin 884,181
5. Seyed Hadi Husseini Khamenei 832,925
6. Majid Ansari 802,001
7. Mohsen Mirdamadi Najafabadi 781,928
8. Ahmad Bourqani Farahani 775,481
9. Soheila Jelodarzadeh 766,627
10. Behzad Nabavi 748,379
11. Ahmad Pournejati 727,293
12. Davoud Soleimani 727,000
13. Ali Shakouri Rad 707,913
14. Vahideh Alaie Taleqani 702,462
15. Mohsen Safaie Farahani 698,222
16. Mohammad Reza Saeedi 688,985
17. Seyed Ali Akbar Musavi 678,144
18. Elaheh Koulaie 686,613
19. Fatemeh Haqiqat-Joo 672,360
20. Behrooz Afkhami 650,232
21. Seyed Shamseddin Vahabi 642,688
22. Abolqasem Sarhadizadeh 628,997
23. Mohammad Naiemi-Pour 615,618
24. Fatemeh Rakeie 602,696
25. Seyed Mahmoud Doaie 601,504
26. Mehdi Karrubi 586,757
27. Akbar Hashemi Bahremani
(Rafsanjani) 511,421
28. Rasoul Montajab-Nia 508,394
29. Alireza Rajaie 507,882
30. Elias Hazrati 498,482

Bobby

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 16:02:33 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Canada welcomes reformers' lead in Iran election

Canada welcomes reformers' lead in Iran election



OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada
welcomed Tuesday the apparent victory
of reformers in Iran's parliamentary
elections and said it hoped the result
would allow Tehran's continued
integration into the international
community.

While final results of last Friday's
elections will take several days to appear, reformers look
set to take control of a parliament previously dominated
by conservatives.

Foreign ministry spokesman Michael O'Shaughnessy said
Canada congratulated the people of Iran for taking part in
the election in large numbers.

"The people of Iran have once again clearly voiced a
desire for change and we are hopeful the path chosen by
the people of Iran will allow for improved ties with
Tehran and Iran's continued re-integration into the
international community," he told Reuters.

"Canada will accordingly continue to monitor the
implementation of the reform agenda on all fronts," he
said.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 16:18:20 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Reformers promise freedoms

Tuesday, 22 February, 2000, 18:28 GMT
Reformers promise
freedoms


The president's man - and brother


Iran's reformist politicians have set
out their political priorities after
sweeping to power in Friday's
election.

They said political development and
greater freedoms would top their
agenda. Changes to press and
election laws are also planned.

Their victory overturned the
conservative domination of the
country's parliament, which had
previously blocked reforms by the
moderate President Mohammad
Khatami.

Mohammad Reza
Khatami, the
president's brother
and a leading
reform figure in the
new parliament,
said his
Participation Front
was committed to
guaranteeing
personal and social rights and
freedoms.

He also called on the US to begin
attempts to improve relations
between the two countries.

But the reformists warned that their
victory was a domestic success and
not an indication that Iran was about
to abandon Islamic principles.

Mohammad Reza
Khatami said: "We
still face hostile
sanctions and
allegations [of
supporting
terrorism] against
us that are
unproven.

"There is a better
tone but no
practical steps to
pull down the wall of mistrust."

Another senior reformist, Rajabali
Mazrouei, said the world "should
understand there is an upheaval
taking place in Iran and not try to
think what is happening in Iran
coincides with their own interests".

In Washington, the US State
Department said it hoped the election
result would bring about a change in
Iran's relationship with the Western
world.

Ambitious plans

The reformists believe they can push
through their plans with or without
the support of other groups - after
only 20% of the
conservative-dominated outgoing
parliament was re-elected.

Mohammad Reza Khatami said he
was optimistic that all factions would
co-operate in passing reformist
legislation, and that a clash with the
conservative-dominated body set up
to vet news laws could be avoided.

Economic issues, inflation and
unemployment would also be given
close attention, he said.

As part of the drive for greater social
freedoms, a ban on satellite dishes -
originally imposed to reduce the
influence of Western culture - is to be
lifted.

Mohammad Reza Khatami said that
all laws introduced by the reformists
would be in line with the Iranian
Constitution.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:30:58 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rafsanjani's Declining Political Fortune

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 22, 2000


Rafsanjani's Declining Political Fortune

APersian proverb says: "Winners have large families, but losers are
orphans." It means that everyone wants to ride the coat tail of a winner, and
no one wants to be associated with a loser.

Following the release of the preliminary results of the parliamentary
elections
in Tehran, former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has become the
target of severe criticism by both the rightist and reformist newspapers. The
reformists reject his economic, social and political policies, while the
rightists
blame him for playing the democratic president and allowing Seyed
Mohammad Khatami to run for presidency almost three years ago which
led to Khatami's landslide victory and dealt a fatal blow to the rightist
politicians.

Newspapers maintain that Hashemi Rafsanjani should not have entered the
race at all. They claim that his defeat was caused by the fact that, while in
power, he ignored his revolutionary comrades and colleagues, and
distanced himself from the people.

Rafsanjani repeatedly stated in the last few weeks that his decision to stand
for parliament was based on the urging of President Khatami.

In our editorial a few weeks ago we stated that President Khatami's urging
Rafsanjani to participate in the elections was not so much because of the
President's desire to have him in the 6th Majlis, as it was to drag him into
competition where the people would show their support, or lack thereof, for
the former president.

In fact, President Khatami was being faithful to his own principle of
promoting a Civil Society when he invited Rafsanjani to throw his hat in the
ring, but he knew full well that the people will not back the veteran
politician.

President Khatami could not compete in the traditionalists' domain, so he
lured his competitors and opponents into a fight on his own home turf, and
beat them easily.

Fighting on the President's turf needs special tools including a knowledge of
the press and their influence, proper use of publicity campaigns, and being
down to earth and in touch with the masses, as well as utilizing modern and
democratic tools instead of outdated traditional methods. Former president
Rafsanjani did not recognize the value of these modern and democratic
tools, and his advisers failed to explain them to him.

This, of course, is not the only reason for Rafsanjani's defeat. The
preliminary results show that the voting trend has changed. It proved that
the people wanted a proper house cleaning in Parliament. There are less
clerics elected, and almost 70% of incumbent MPs failed to secure a seat in
the 6th Majlis. These two developments also worked against the veteran
politician.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:31:39 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Women's Problems Should Be Great Concern of Majlis

Women's Problems Should Be Great Concern of Majlis

TEHRAN (IRNA) - Presidential Advisor Zahra Shojaie said here last week
that the resolution of problems facing women should be a main concern of
the Sixth Majlis.

Weakness in carrying out laws on women and a legal vacuum with regard to
women should be major topics to be reviewed at the Sixth Majlis, she told
IRNA.

She further outlined the positive achievements of the Fifth Majlis with regard
to women.

The number of women candidates in the Sixth Majlis has increased by 60
percent compared to the previous term, she said, adding that the total
number of candidates for the Sixth Majlis has increased by 40 percent
compared to the fifth term.

The said increase is an indication of the development of self-confidence
among Iranian women, she noted.

Shojaie underlined the need for an expert Majlis in order to supervise
implementation of the third development plan.

She called on all Majlis deputies to fulfill their commitments to the nation.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:39:40 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Heikal Praises Elections in Iran

Heikal Praises Elections in Iran

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Famous Egyptian writer and journalist, Hassanain Heikal, said
that several free elections have been held in Iran over the past two decades.

In an interview with the Sharjah-based daily "Al-Khalij" published Sunday,
he said that Iran is a civilized and ancient country in the region.

Referring to the Islamic Revolution in Iran as a rich revolution, Heikal said,
"Factional disputes in Iran may be considered as a weak point by some
people, but I consider it as a strong point." The Islamic Republic is going
through a process of democratic development, he said, quoted by IRNA.

In a number of elections held in the country over the past few years, some
key personalities have been removed but the system has not been hurt, the
great Egyptian writer stated.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 18:40:31 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: We Are on Top!

We Are on Top!

IRAN * This daily, which is affiliated to the IRNA, quoted Behzad Nabavi,
spokesman of the May 23 Front, as saying that 95 nominees have been
elected from among 152 candidates supported by all the 18 groups making
up the Front. Further, he noted, 42 more candidates supported by specific
groups within the front also got into the Parliament.

In addition, 44 right-wing candidates and nine independents were successful
in their electoral campaign, he stated, adding, meanwhile, 65 individuals are
expected to participate in the runoffs, 16 of whom are supported by the
front however.

Optimistic Bahonar

IRAN * Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, spokesman of the rightist Coalition of
the Imam and Leadership's Followers, said of 195 candidates who have
received enough votes to enter the Majlis 75 have been jointly supported by
the Executives of Construction Party (ECP) and the Islamic Iran
Participation Party (IIPP). Another 75 belong to the coalition, he added.

Rafsanjani Is a Great Guy No Matter What

IRAN * The former mayor of Tehran and secretary of the ECP,
Gholamhussein Karbaschi, said that Rafsanjani's victory or defeat in the
parliamentary elections [is irrelevant and] should not adversely affect "his
dignity" (the high respect people have for him). In a democratic society
people's dignity should be maintained, he stressed.

Why Reformists Won?

FATH * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Hamid-Reza Taraqi, conservative
Majlis deputy from Mashhad, as saying that the reformist candidates won
the elections by denigrating Astan-e Qods Organization which runs the holy
shrine of Imam Reza (A.S.). Further, he said, the name of Abaee
Khorassani is similar to that of Mashhad Friday Prayer leader.

This was a reason behind high number of votes Khorassani received, he
commented. Moreover, he said, there were many candidates in the
Coalition of Imam and Leadership's Followers, adding there were people in
the race who used ethnic prejudice to gain more votes. These factors paved
the way for the reformists to win the elections, he claimed.

All five elected MPs in Mashhad were leftist candidates.

Rafsanjani Should Have Been on IIPP List!

MOSHAREKAT * This daily, affiliated to IIPP, quoted Hassan Ghafuri
Fard, a rightist MP in the Fifth Majlis, as saying that many people voted
according to the list provided by IIPP. Since the name of Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani was not there, he therefore failed to receive high number of
votes, he said, adding had people voted for candidates based on personal
knowledge, a higher number of votes would have been cast in his favor.

Right-Wing Is Weak

JAVAN * This rightist daily quoted Masoud Dehnamaki, editor in chief of
the hard-line weekly Jebh-e, as saying that the victory of IIPP in the
elections indicates the weakness of the right wing rather than IIPP's
strength. He added that the right wing needs some soul searching to do,
something it has not been willing to go by after the last presidential
elections
in 1997 when the conservatives suffered a major defeat.

Here Comes Vote Fraud!

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily quoted informed sources as
saying that in some of Tehran's voting stations, the name of a certain
candidate has been added to the incomplete ballots. Meanwhile, the daily
said, the son of a high-ranking official has called on the Interior Ministry
not
to announce the elections results for a few days until this case is resolved.

Nationalist Warnings

ASR-E AZADEGAN * The Nationalist-Religious Coalition issued a
statement in which it expressed concern over the rumors going around
regarding vote rigging. The statement said the coalition is worried about,
among others, the interference of militia forces in counting votes, the
attempts made by some to raise the number of votes cast for certain Tehran
candidates in order to eliminate from the race the remaining
nationalist-religious candidates who may still have a chance to get into the
Majlis [in the first round].

How Five Lives Were Lost

ASR-E AZADEGAN * Unrest still continues in Shush Danial city after a
day of tension over the election results. On Friday evening, reports say, the
city's reformist candidate was comfortably ahead of his right-wing rivals, but
with the arrival of many new ballot boxes the trend reversed and the
conservative candidate pulled ahead. The protesters then demanded that the
governor attends the gathering and comment on the issue.

However, the official failed to come and the angry crowd began to set tires
on fire, the daily said, adding five died and over 30 injured in the
incident.

Where Have Reformists Gone?

AZAD * This pro-Khatami daily reported that the Unified Students Front
(USF) released a statement congratulating the nation on high turnout in the
polls. Elsewhere, it said the latest sentences handed down for the students
arrested in relations to the last July's demonstrations are: Mohammad Reza
Kasrani, five years in jail; Alinejad 1.5 years; Ahmad Batebi 10 years;
Shafie, 2.5 years; Abdolbaqi, 9 years; and Arya 7 years. It added that the
death sentence for Akbar Mohammadi has been approved by the court.
Moreover, the daily pointed out that Nemati, Fakhrzadeh and Mostofi have
been released from prison. The statement next asked: "Do the reformist
groups want to remain indifferent to the fate of these brave sons of the
nation." Following the closure of moderate daily Salaam by the Press Court,
university students held a rally to protest against the closure. Then, the Law
Enforcement Forces (LEF) attacked the Tehran University dormitory on
July 9 of last year. This provoked the country's worst social unrest since the
1979 Islamic Revolution, which lasted for four days.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 19:54:39 EST
From: KPGBT@AOL.COM
Subject: Fwd: Yadbood & Mizeger for Iran Election
You can read it if you have Vazheh Negar.

Thank You


Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:22:42 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. hints that gestures to Iran are possible

U.S. hints that gestures to Iran are possible


WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The United States repeated its offer of an
unconditional dialogue with Iran on Tuesday but hinted it might consider
goodwill gestures once the new Iranian parliament, dominated by reformists,
holds its first session.

The United States welcomed the parliamentary elections in Iran last Friday as
a historic vote for greater openness and freedom. It hopes the reformist
victory will lead to rapprochement after more then 20 years of hostility.

Relations between both countries were shattered when Islamic fundamentalist
revolutionaries overthrew the U.S.-backed shah in 1979, seized the U.S.
embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The reformers said on Tuesday they were looking to the United States to make
a clear overture to improve relations with the Islamic republic, for example
on sanctions.

State Department spokesman James Rubin said on Tuesday the United States was
prepared for a dialogue in which both sides bring their concerns to the table
-- in essence the same unconditional dialogue Washington has been offering
since Iranians elected President Mohammad Khatami in 1998.

But he added: ``We have taken a number of steps in recent years to try to
signal our willingness to engage Iran. Secretary (of State Madeleine)
Albright indicated a willingness to develop a road map to normal relations.
But at this time, I'm not going to speculate as to what we might do.''

``It will be some time before the popular will expressed in these elections
will be translated into concrete policies. For example, the runoff will take
several weeks, and then their new parliament won't take office until several
weeks after that.

``We will follow these developments very closely and make any appropriate
responses based on what we think will best promote the prospect for dealing
with our concerns and dealing with Iran's potential role in the Middle
East,'' he said.

LIST OF ISSUES

The spokesman repeated the list of issues that the United States would put at
the top of its agenda in any dialogue with Iran -- Iran's opposition to the
Middle East peace process, its nuclear programmes and its support for groups,
such as Hizbollah in Lebanon, which Washington calls ``terrorist.''

Iran wants the United States to end economics sanctions and unfreeze Iranian
assets frozen after the 1979 revolution.

Speaking more generally, Rubin said Washington could see a brighter future
for the Middle East after the elections.

``It is clear that the new parliament will enjoy a decisive popular mandate.
It is our hope that this mandate will set Iran on a course towards a more
constructive and a new role in the region, one which eventually leads to
Iran's full political and economic re-integration into the international
community.

``The Middle East is changing rapidly and Iran certainly has a role to
play,'' he said.

In Tehran, at a news conference to mark their victory, leading reformers said
their movement was a domestic phenomenon and should not be seen as evidence
Iran had set aside revolutionary or Islamic principles to please the West --
in particular the United States.

``In the past the United States supported one of the most repressive regimes
in history, which was the Shah's regime,'' said Mohammad Reza Khatami, leader
of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front and brother of the
president.

``Now we still face hostile sanctions and allegations (of supporting
terrorism) against us that are unproven. There is a better tone but no
practical steps to pull down the wall of mistrust,'' said Khatami, top
vote-getter in Tehra

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:23:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Ex-Iran president cautious on reformers success

Ex-Iran president cautious on reformers success


PARIS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Former Iran President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr said on
Tuesday the election victory for reformers in Iran would not bring social and
political change overnight and he warned of a backlash by conservatives.

``There is a difference between the composition of parliament and the will of
the people,'' Bani-Sadr, who lives in exile outside Paris, told Reuters
Television.

``The people have voted for fundamental reform. The president has the
responsibility but not the necessary power,'' he said.

``If people keep up the pressure and if they go further, then the changes
might become reality and we can hope to have a democracy ... (but) I am
cautious,'' he said.

The clear win in Friday's parliamentary polls has been interpreted as a clear
mandate for President Mohammed Khatami to accelerate his liberal reforms and
open up further to the West.

But conservatives said they did not expect sweeping policy changes given the
constitutional limits on parliament, the primacy of religious laws and
because many MPs were still faithful to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Bani-Sadr said there was a possibility of more violence following clashes at
the weekend in which eight people died when protestors alleged
ballot-rigging.

``The question is will the right wing of the regime accept this defeat? The
opposition will become clearer, more distinct and more determined,'' he said.

``Since the defeat we have had a near massacre in two towns and one of the
student protestors has been convicted, so things might go on,'' he added.

``There might even be more political assasinations because the right knows
very well that if reforms take place they are finished. They will not easily
relinquish power and leave.''

Bani-Sadr, who became Iran's first elected president in 1980, said it was
vital that the world continued supporting the Iranian people's quest for a
more liberal society.

``We cannot say that because Iran has voted, then that's it. No, this is only
the beginning. Now the Iranians must really be helped whenever human rights
are violated,'' he said.

Bani-Sadr was a close aide of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni when he overthrew
the Shah's Iranian empire in 1979 to create an Islamic republic.

But once elected president, he fell foul of the Ayatollah for disputing the
supremacy of a religious leader and seeking to rid the administration of
clerics.

Rapidly isolated by the hardline clerics that dominated parliament, Bani-Sadr
fled to seek asylum in France in July 1981 after being ousted from his office
by hardline mobs.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:23:45 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran seizes one tonne of drugs from camel caravan

Iran seizes one tonne of drugs from camel caravan


TEHRAN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Iranian police have seized over one tonne of drugs
loaded onto a caravan of camels near the border with Pakistan, Iran's news
agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

It quoted a local police chief as saying his forces had also seized nine
camels which were being used to smuggle the 1,250 kg (2,750 lb) of drugs into
Iran late on Monday.

He said 16 armed traffickers, half of them foreign nationals, were arrested
after the operation in a remote mountainous area in southeastern
Sistan-Baluchestan province. He did not specify the nationality of the eight.

Large drug hauls are common in Iran, a key route for drug trafficking from
Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, to
Europe and the oil-rich Gulf Arab states.

There are two million addicts and occasional drug users among Iran's
population of about 63 million, officials say.

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:24:29 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Senate May Sanction Iran Suppliers

Senate May Sanction Iran Suppliers

By JIM ABRAMS
.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) - Brushing aside opposition from the administration, the
Senate is moving to compel the president to be more aggressive in tracking
Russia and other countries that supply weapons materiel to Iran.

The bill, taken up by the Senate Tuesday, also could restrict payments to
Russia in connection with the International Space Station. The bill is
expected to win the Senate's overwhelming approval when it votes Thursday,
much as similar legislation sailed through the House last September, 419-0.

The bill came up as Iran counted votes in an election expected to put
pro-reform politicians in power. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.,
said he hoped the legislation would help the reformers against those bent on
harming the United States.

``The danger is still there, and those who are in charge of nuclear
proliferation in Iran have a very strong grip on what's being done,'' Lott
said.

Under the legislation, the president would be required to submit reports to
Congress every six months to identify countries providing Iran with materiel
to promote its missile and weapons systems.

The president would have the option of cutting off arms sales or economic aid
to nations helping Iran's weapons programs. He could waive sanctions for
national security reasons.

The bill also says the United States could make payments to the Russian space
agency for helping build the International Space Station only after the
president determines that Russia is actively opposing proliferation in Iran.

The bill ``sends a message to our friends in Russia about the intensity of
our concern about their part in helping Iran develop weapons of mass
destruction,'' said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. He said it also reminds
the administration of ``the broad bipartisan concern here in Congress in
support of tougher action against any nation, including Russia,'' that boosts
Iran's weapons program.

The president vetoed legislation in 1998 that, unlike the current bill, would
have required sanctions against those helping Iran build missiles.

Heading off a possible veto override, Vice President Al Gore shortly
thereafter announced sanctions on seven Russian entities suspected of
transferring weapons technology to Iran. In 1999 three more Russian groups
were added to the list.

Legislators now say the administrative action, while needed, did not go far
enough. Lott said Russia, as well as China and North Korea, have not
sufficiently opposed the clandestine transfer of materiel to Iran. The
administration strategy ``has failed to slow the flow of this dangerous
technology,'' he said.

Lott and others pointed to CIA warnings this year that Iran may be closer
than previously believed to amassing a nuclear arsenal and that Russia,
already a top supplier of weapons to Iran, had agreed to sell Iran more
nuclear reactors for power generation.

The administration, after the House passed the measure last year, threatened
a veto on the ground that it would ``have the effect of undermining
multilateral support that is vital to effectively fight proliferation.'' It
said the Russians had also enacted tough export control legislation and taken
steps to end contacts with Iran's missile program.

Democratic lawmakers said that while the administration still opposes the
bill, the president will not veto it in light of changes made to give him
more flexibility.

EDITOR'S NOTE - The bill number is H.R. 1883.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 22 Feb 2000