Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 to 24 Feb 2000 - Special issue

There are 16 messages totalling 1230 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Iranians Study Election Results
2. Egypt welcomes reformist victory in Iran
3. Czech govt aims to halt parts for Iran power plant
4. Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal
5. IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 24, 2000
6. IRAN NEWS POLITICS FEBRUARY 24, 2000
7. U.S. Hints That Gestures to Iran Are Possible
8. Mousavi's Departure Was a Great Loss to Country, Qasemi
9. Tehran Police Face Court Martial Next Week Over Bloody Unrest
10. Latest Elections Results in Tehran
11. European Leaders Rush to Iran in Wake of Elections
12. Press Safeguards Reverence for Freedom, Mohajerani
13. Iran, Sudan Sign Joint Communique
14. Ayatollah Taheri Thanks Isfahan People
15. Iran, U.N. Refugee Agency Plan Return of 1.4m Afghans
16. LARI: Feb. 18 Elections Fine Depiction of Public Participation

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 04:10:38 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranians Study Election Results

Iranians Study Election Results

By VIJAY JOSHI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - After their rout in parliamentary elections, the question
is whether Iran's hard-liners will fight to preserve their power or accept
defeat.

The first confrontation could come over the reformists' plans to open Iran to
foreign television.

Hard-liners have been fighting the reform agenda since President Mohammad
Khatami launched his campagin for social and political change in 1997. With
their defeat in Friday's poll, they lost control of one instrument of their
power, Parliament, for the first time in 21 years.

As the reform movement gathers speed, conservatives will have to choose
between accommodating its agenda and retaining some popularity, or
confronting it outright and losing credibility with a public that has
demonstrated overwhelming support for change.

Initially, the hard-liners ``will use all the legal instruments at their
disposal to resist reforms,'' said Saeed Laylaz, a political analyst and a
columnist for several reformist newspapers.

But, he said, conservatives will be forced to back down to avoid angering the
public.

Hard-liners still retain key powers that they can use to frustrate reform,
particularly their control over the 12-member Guardians Council, which has
the power to reject any legislation deemed unconstitutional or un-Islamic.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front, the biggest party in the reformist
coalition, says one of its priorities in Parliament will be to lift a 6-year
ban on satellite dish antennas. The hard-liners could reject that. The ban is
supported by the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has
the final word on all matters.

Khamenei, however, could be a calming influence.

Although associated with the conservatives, he has shown in recent months
that he would rather avoid a confrontation with the reformists.

Earlier this month, he ordered hard-line clerics to end their protest over a
newspaper cartoon lampooning a cleric.

Last month he pardoned former Tehran Mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, a
prominent reformist who was jailed for alleged corruption in a trial widely
seen as politically motivated.

In October, he criticized hard-liners who called for the death of two
playwrights who wrote an allegedly blasphemous play. On Wednesday, the
newspaper Entekhab reported that Khamenei had pardoned the playwrights.

The hard-liners already appear resigned to their fate.

``Conservatives have to regroup and reorganize themselves, identify their
weak points and re-enter politics with a new plan,'' Kamal Daneshyar, a
defeated hard-line candidate, said.

``People want greater freedom in social and personal issues. The policies
enforced so far have failed,'' Daneshyar was quoted as saying by
Aftab-e-Emruz newspaper Wednesday.

Even hard-liners are often pragmatists: Most of those in power today were
leaders in the 1979 revolution and remember how popular outrage helped bring
down the monarchy. Since the revolution, the clergy has been careful of when
to back down over unpopular measures.

The election was an endorsement of Khatami's reform agenda. His allies have
won 141 of the 195 seats for which results have been declared. Hard-liners
won 44, and independents won 10.

There are 290 seats in the Majlis, or Parliament. Results from Tehran's 30
seats are expected to be announced today, and 65 other seats will be decided
in run-offs.

Analysts say the reformists are much more likely than the hard-liners to have
trouble presenting a united front.

The reformists are split into 18 parties, including leftists who will oppose
economic liberalization for a country desperately in need of investment.
There are those who disagree with the Participation Front on the speed of
reforms. The Front wants to go full speed to appease the youth who
overwhelmingly voted for them.

That may not go down well with some reformists who would not meddle with the
compulsory ``hijab,'' which requires women to be covered in public, with only
their hands and faces showing.

Women in this deeply religious country accept the hijab with varying degrees
of compliance. Some have head scarves barely covering the head, and others
are so fully draped that only half the face is seen.

``Our feet are firmly rooted in tradition but our heads are in modernism,''
said Laylaz, who admitted he would not like his wife to discard the hijab.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 05:55:55 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Egypt welcomes reformist victory in Iran

Egypt welcomes reformist victory in Iran


CAIRO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has sent a message
congratulating Iran's President Mohammad Khatami after his reformist allies
swept to power in parliamentary elections, state-owned al-Ahram newspaper
said on Thursday.

The daily said Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi would visit Egypt soon
to try to improve relations strained since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Khatami's pro-reform allies swept to power in Friday's election against
entrenched conservatives after voters eager for change flocked to the polls.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 05:57:13 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Czech govt aims to halt parts for Iran power plant

Czech govt aims to halt parts for Iran power plant


PRAGUE, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The Czech government has asked the country's
parliament to speed through a measure which would block a company's export of
air conditioning components for an Iranian nuclear power plant.

Government spokesman Libor Roucek told Reuters on Thursday that the cabinet
had asked the lower house of parliament to initiate a ``legislative
emergency'' measure to block the exports, which have drawn threats of
sanctions from Washington.

The U.S. State Department has warned that the exports by Czech company ZVVZ
Milevsko for the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran would force Washington to
consider unspecified sanctions against the Czechs.

The United States and other NATO members, including Britain, have warned that
the power plant may also have military uses.

The push for quick action on the measure comes ahead of a March visit by U.S.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was born in what is now the Czech
Republic, a new NATO member.

It was not clear how quickly the measure would be considered in parliament.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:00:12 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal

Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal

The Associated Press
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2000; 3:58 p.m. EST

TEHRAN, Iran –– Iran's foreign policy will become more
liberal following
last week's defeat of hard-liners in parliamentary
elections, Iranian Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Wednesday.

"The positive actions of other countries will receive
positive reaction from
the Islamic Republic of Iran," he was quoted as saying by
state television.

But Kharrazi said Iran's relations with the United States
will still depend
on Washington's taking "practical steps" – a position his
government has
stated before.

In Washington earlier Wednesday, White House spokesman Joe
Lockhart said it "is a matter of who takes what step."

"If they are willing to engage in this dialogue, I think
that would be a
positive step. We'll have to see," Lockhart said,
commenting on Friday's
parliamentary elections that reformists appeared to
dominate.

Among the successful candidates are many who advocate
better ties with
the United States.

But Washington's agenda for the talks may not go down well
in Tehran.
The United States says it wants to discuss Iran's alleged
program to
produce weapons of mass destruction, its alleged support of
terrorism and
its opposition to the Middle East peace process.

Kharrazi hinted the United States was not taking positive
steps to improve
the atmosphere for talks.

The United States is preventing the transport of central
Asian oil by a
planned pipeline running through Iranian territory and
prohibits the import
of Iranian goods, the foreign minister said.

The European Union said Wednesday it was interested in
closer ties with
Iran.

"The European Union recalls its interest in consolidating
the broad
dialogue it has maintained with Iran and reiterates its
will to promote
closer ties with the Iranian government," said a statement
released in
Lisbon, which currently holds the six-month rotating EU
presidency.

The 15-nation Union also hailed the Iranian people for the
"massive"
electoral turnout – 83 percent of 38.7 million registered
voters – saying it
was a sign of "engagement in the democratic process."

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:02:38 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 24, 2000

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 24, 2000


Sino-Iranian Economic Cooperation Should Be Expanded

Earlier this week, Tang Jianxuan, Foreign Minister of People's Republic of
China (PRC) arrived in Tehran at the head of a political delegation. During
his stay, he held talks with his Iranian counterpart and some of the high
ranking officials of our country.

Mr. Tang was also carrying a message from President Jiang Zemin for Mr.
Khatami. Mr. Tang exchanged views and had discussions with Iranian
officials regarding bilateral and international cooperation. A Memorandum of
Understanding was signed between the two countries regarding the holding
of talks at the deputy foreign minister level.

Iran and China are two large countries in Asia. Both boast of a historic past
and an ancient civilization. It's only natural for these two countries to
play a
very substantive role in the Dialogue Among Civilizations. a very substantive
role in the Dialogue Among Civilizations. The Sino-Iranian ties go back to
hundreds of years. The two countries have kept their close ties throughout
their long histories.

In 1985, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani's trip to China opened a new chapter in
the history of the two countries' ties. The trip was indicative of IRI's high
regard for the People's Republic of China (PRC). Iran has always
endeavored to reciprocate the high value that different countries of the world
attribute to their ties with this country.

At the time when the IRI and the European Union (EU) were experiencing
some problems in their relations, a Chinese delegation of 60 individuals
traveled to Iran in order to promote cooperation between the two countries
which were of tremendous benefit to Tehran and Beijing. IRI stretches
strategically above the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, while China is a
permanent member of the Security Council at the United Nations. Although
China is a Socialist country, it has, in recent year, made superb economic
progress in spite of being the most populous country in the world. Some of
the Chinese economic successes could certainly serve as models for Iran,
where the population growth is beginning to make its effect felt.

Chinese economic performance assumes added significance in view of
Beijing's adoption of the positive aspects of the market economy and
China's ingenious integration of the pertinent advantages to its economy. The
Chinese have been able to turn the threat of their population explosion into
an advantage.

By creating an international labor market China has created employment for
most of its people. This Chinese approach to its economic woes has resulted
in the attainment of the highest rate of economic growth in the world in just
a
few decades. The highly successful experience of foreign investors in China
in soliciting and absorbing foreign investment can definitely teach the
government of the IRI a thing or two. The unbiased Chinese view of the
today's world, coupled with their understanding of global politics and their
premeditated drift towards globalism as well as their making excellent use of
available potentials are among the lessons they can impart to their Iranian
counterparts.

It goes without saying that Iranians boast of certain potential that can be of
good use to the Chinese too.

China's huge population keeps the country on its toes to be constantly on the
lookout to find new sources of foodstuff supplies especially cereals.
Unfortunately, Iran, despite the rich resources at its disposal, has so far
been
unable to build a comfortable niche in the Chinese list of importers.

By and large, the present visit of Mr. Tang Jianxuan is taking place at a time
when our country's relations with different European, Asian, American and
African countries have taken a turn for the better. Although China has
always cooperated with Iran in implementing big projects, this trip can be
instrumental in creating better economic cooperation between the two
countries and bring the two nations closer together.

The aforementioned statement can only come true when the authorities of the
two countries do not suffice to signing protocols and MoU's. China's strong
position in the international markets sometimes is not reflected in the
Iranian
market. Of course Iran should shoulder part of the responsibility for the
aforementioned shortcoming, but on the other hand our Chinese friends have
not exactly tried to secure a market for themselves in this country either.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:03:51 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IRAN NEWS POLITICS FEBRUARY 24, 2000

IRAN NEWS POLITICS FEBRUARY 24, 2000


U.N. Drugs Agency Slams Afghanistan, Praises Iran

VIENNA (AFP) -- The United Nations Drug Agency yesterday slammed
Afghanistan's record on fighting illicit drug production, while roundly
praising
Iran, which it said had made sacrifices for the global good.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said Afghanistan
remained a key source of illicit drugs worldwide, and questioned the
Taliban's commitment to clamping down on the scourge of narcotics.

"Afghanistan has become a center for drug trafficking for the whole world,"
said INCB President Lourenco Martins. "The INCB is not a political
mechanism -- but we must fight this key source of drugs," he told a press
conference.

In other comments the 75-page report said drug traffickers were finding
growing markets in Europe due to increasingly relaxed attitudes and falling
prices, while lamenting that civil wars were fueling drug abuse in Africa.

The annual INCB report, released every February by the Vienna-based
agency, gives detailed information on current drug trends worldwide.

Some of the most stinging criticism was reserved for Afghanistan.

"The commitment of the Taliban in Afghanistan to ban opium poppy
cultivation and heroin manufacture remains questionable," it said, noting that
97 percent of opium poppy production occurred on Taliban-controlled land.

Large-scale illicit cultivation of opium poppy has continued to spread to
areas which were previously not affected in Afghanistan, which produces 75
percent of world opium output, noted the report.

"The board is concerned about this grave situation, which negatively affects
not only West Asia, but also Europe and the rest of the world. It urges the
world community to take appropriate measures," it said.

The INCB also lamented the rapid spread of amphetamine-type drugs
across the whole Asia region, noting that China remained a major source of
the drugs.

Meanwhile it lavished praise on Iran, only a week after elections which saw
a surge of backing for reformers allied with moderate President Mohammad
Khatami.

"More than 80 percent of seizures of opium worldwide are carried out by
Iranian authorities, who have suffered heavy human casualties and made
considerable financial sacrifices," it noted.

INCB Head Martins said: "Iran is doing an excellent job in fighting drugs,"
but lamented that "the neighbors don't help" -- in a clear reference to the
long border between Iran and Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan is a terrible example," he said. "It is difficult to say
Afghanistan
is a cooperative country," he added.

In Europe, the report noted that drug abuse was growing across the west of
the continent, and bewailed increasingly relaxed attitudes to drugs like
cannabis and the lower prices of harder drugs.

In Africa, civil wars are exacerbating the continent's drug problems, notably
among young people, the report said.

On the Americas, it noted the rise of Central America and the Caribbean as
key drug transit routes from South America -- where Colombia remains the
world's biggest cocaine producer -- to North America and Europe.

The INCB report also highlighted the need for the best pain relief drugs to
be more universally available, regretting that suffering caused by diseases
like
terminal cancer varied widely from country to country.

In other comments, the INCB condemned the emergence of so-called
"shooting galleries" -- injecting centers where addicts can take drugs under
supervision -- from certain European countries and Australia.

Officials singled out Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Spain as
countries of concern in this respect in Europe. "The board is contesting this
policy. We have very serious doubts about it," said one official.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:04:32 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 (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 than 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 1997.

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 programs and its
support for groups, such as Hizbollah in Lebanon, which Washington calls
"terrorist".

such as Hizbollah in Lebanon, which Washington calls "terrorist".

Iran wants the United States to end economic 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 toward 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 Tehran.


Iran Will Seriously Pursue Policy of Detente, Confidence-Building

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said yesterday the
Islamic Republic of Iran will work seriously in line with the policy of
detente,
dialogue and confidence building in foreign relations.

On the impact of the outcome of the parliamentary elections on Iranian
foreign policy, Kharrazi said Iran has given priority to cooperation with
neighboring states and regional countries and will proceed with strengthening
a sense of brotherhood and solidarity in the region.

"We hope with the international reaction to the large turnout in the election,
we will see a major change in Iran's relations with the regional nations and
the entire world," IRNA quoted the minister.

Kharrazi said the Islamic Republic of Iran as a free country honors Islamic
values and has set a pattern for Islamic democracy in the contemporary era.
He added that Iran is the messenger of peace, friendship and stability in this
sensitive region.

"The Iranian people expect the other countries to understand this message
and the realities in the Islamic Republic and adjust their relations with
Iran on
the basis of realities.

"The election sent a message to the other countries especially the Western
states that only making positive statements are not enough and words should
come in conjunction with actions," he said.

He said now the question is that why are certain Western states working to
pass resolutions on human rights against Iran or why they support the
terrorist groups working against Iran.

Turning to statements made by the Western statesmen including that of the
United States about Iran, he said, "We expect practical steps to be taken by
them. No doubt any positive action taken by other countries would receive
positive response from Iran."

On the United States, Kharrazi said it has obstructed the construction of oil
and gas pipelines through Iranian territory despite the economic
justifications
provided by the European and even the U.S. oil firms that setting up the
pipeline through Iran is very economic and in the meantime it wants to export
grains to Iran while it has imposed sanctions on Iranian goods, particularly
Iranian carpet, pistachios and caviar.

He said the time has now come for Iran and the other peace-loving nations
work to promote the common goal of humanity which is social justice, peace
and mutual respect.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:05:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Mousavi's Departure Was a Great Loss to Country, Qasemi

Mousavi's Departure Was a Great Loss to Country, Qasemi

Weakening Rial Seriously Harms Economy Economic Adjustment Policy
Was Nothing But Price Liberalization

TEHRAN-- "The complete departure of former PM Mir Hussein Mousavi
from the government following the end of the Iraqi-Imposed War was a
great loss to the country. He should have been allowed to hold a
high-ranking executive post for the nation to benefit from his vast managerial
experience gained during the difficult years of the war.

This valuable knowledge could have been used when rebuilding the country
after the war," Dr Majid Qasemi, former head of the Central Bank of Iran
(CBI), said in an interview with IRAN NEWS.

Further, After the war, Qasemi said, the officials rejected the economic
policies of the past, adding they instead adopted the `Economic Adjustment
Policy' instead of seeking measures to first "stabilize the economy." In fact,
he said, during the war the so-called `Stabilization Policy' was not fully
implemented in order for us to pass a judgment on its failure or success.
What was implemented, the former CBI chief underlined, was a "pseudo
Adjustment Policy" as prices were liberalized without preparing the grounds
for it.

Because of imperfect market, the Stabilization Policy says the money supply
as well as the demand should be tightly controlled, he mentioned, adding, the
Adjustment Policy, on the other hand, states that to address imperfect
competition [where prices do not accurately reflect costs].

liberalizing prices are called for.

Indeed, the Adjustment Policy the government adopted was limited solely to
price liberalization, he stressed, while price liberalization makes up just
one
part, and certainly not the most important one, of the overall policy, he
complained.

It is to be noted that the Stabilization and Adjustment policies complement
each other and should be implemented in due time, he stated, adding the
latter would be successful only if proceeded by the former. Hashemi
Rafsanjani launched the Adjustment Policy whose elements are yet to be
understood, he continued.

The Inappropriate policies resulting in poor economic situation in late 1994
and early 1995 forced the officials to adopt the Stabilization policy, he
maintained, adding the foreign exchange rate was set at 3,000 rials per
dollar. This was not the right price though, he went on to say, adding that it
was possible to retain the price at a lower level.

Regretfully, he said, a weak rial continues to be government policy up to
now, adding this is very harmful to health of the economy in the long run.

Under Hashemi Rafsanjani, the country's banking system went through a
crisis due to replacement of competent and capable managers with those
who were not qualified for the positions they had been assigned to. Further,
he remarked, bank managers have been selected based on factional or
personal considerations rather than professional expertise. On the necessity
for CBI to be independent, Dr Qasemi said that in In his opinion the existing
laws and regulations are in place and adequate for CBI to be independent of
the government. It is the management team and their policies which would
make CBI independent, he argues.

If CBI wants to become independent, he explained, it shouldn't be
politicized. The CBI officials should keep in mind only the national
interests,
he said, adding they should be fair in their economic and financial decisions
as far as different economic sectors are concerned.

Moreover, the banking officials should have the needed expertise and
knowledge to be able to recognize what is best for the country, he said,
adding they should also be able to work with other government agencies in a
coordinated and cohesive manner. Meanwhile, CBI officials ought to explain
and defend their decisions when asked, Qasemi believes.

Regarding the usury-free banking system, the former CBI head said there
are certain shortcomings in the law because the other party to the banking
system (the consumers) must understand the law and believe it is being
correctly implemented. However, the government banking oversight over the
banking system does not make this trust come true.

He added: "so far the Islamic banking system has performed quite
satisfactory.

Even those banks in Europe, which have been applying parts of this system
are among the most successful banks in the world. In my opinion one of the
biggest Islamic Revolution achievements is the Islamic banking and
usury-free system; however, we have not been able to create the necessary
steps and cooperation for the system's greater success.

The authorities and the executives of the banking system as well as the
people should have faith in it and promote it."

Regarding the present discussions between Ezatollah Sahabi and
Nourbakhsh, the current CBI chief, Qasemi said that the authorities must
make an effort to convincingly answer the people's questions. The officials,
he said, should be held accountable for their actions and answer to the
public accordingly. This would definitely help us to make better decisions in
the future, he concluded.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:06:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Tehran Police Face Court Martial Next Week Over Bloody Unrest

Tehran Police Face Court Martial Next Week Over Bloody Unrest

TEHRAN (AFP) -- Tehran's sacked police chief and 19 other officers face
Public Court Martial next week over the violent suppression of a student
demonstration last July, Tehran University said yesterday.

In an official statement quoted by the official news agency IRNA, the
university said the first hearing against Farhad Nazari and his colleagues in
open session would be held Tuesday.

The university and the students would be represented by lawyer Mohsen
Rahami, who defended reformist leader Abdullah Nouri last year before a
hardline clerical court on charges of spreading anti-Islamic propaganda.

The officers are accused of exceeding their orders in a police raid on a
student dormitory which sparked off the worst rioting in Iran in nearly two
decades.

The students were demonstrating over the closure by the
conservative-dominated court of the reformist daily newspaper Salam.

Three people were killed in Tehran and the northwestern city of Tabriz in the
six days of unrest which followed the police action, according to an official
tally.

Military prosecutor Abbas Ali Forati told the press last month that the court
martial would be held in public with the press allowed to be present.

Nazari, who was sacked for "incompetence" over his handling of the police
action, is accused of "overriding an order from the Interior Ministry not to
intervene," "creating an atmosphere of suspicion of the security forces," as
well as ignoring an order to not use tear gas, state radio said in December.

Forati said students who were found to have suffered injuries or damage to
property during the raid would be awarded compensation.

The contrast between the slowness of the Court Martial and the speed with
which the courts prosecuted and convicted student demonstrators has
sparked criticism from reformers here.

Forati said the process was "running late because we were waiting for the
results of the Supreme National Security Council's inquiry." Dozens of
demonstrators have already been brought before the courts and death
sentences have been confirmed on one of their alleged ringleaders.

The families of some 400 students caught up in the police action have filed
complaints through the chancellor of Tehran University. State radio said last
month that investigations had begun into 50 of them, including the death of
one student, Ezatollah Ebrahim-Nejad.

The rioting was only halted with the violent intervention of the Basiji,
Iran's
volunteer Islamist Militia.

On Monday reformist newspapers said Iran's courts had upheld the death
sentence on one of three student leaders found guilty of instigating the
riots.

A statement from the main reformist campus organization reported in several
Tehran newspapers said the other two had been given jail terms of 10 and
two-and-a-half years.

Akbar Mohammadi's only recourse now is to seek an amnesty from
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commuting the death sentence
imposed by the capital's revolutionary tribunal last November.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:05:51 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Latest Elections Results in Tehran

Latest Elections Results in Tehran

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- The following is the latest results of the Sixth Majlis as
announced by the Interior Ministry last night.

NAME VOTE

1. Seyed Mohammad Reza Khatami 1649005

2. Jamileh Kadivar 1261930

3. Alireza Nouri 1236421

4. Seyed Hadi Husseini Khamenei 1128958

5. Mohsen Armin 1119877

6. Mohsen Mirdamadi Najafabadi 1085084

7. Majid Ansari 1074971

8. Behzad Nabavi 1046966

9. Soheila Jelodarzadeh 1041676

10. Ahmad Bourqani Farahani 1035497

11. Davoud Soleymani 985871

12. Ahmad Pournejati 973444

13. Elaheh Koulaie 964735

14. Vahideh Alaie Taleqani 963232

15. Ali Shakouri-Rad 990381

16. Mohsen Safaie Farahani 951985

17. Seyed Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoeini 951536

18. Mohammad Reza (Meysam) Saeedi 930980

19. Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo 904285

20. Seyed Shamseddin Vahabi 901007

21. Behrouz Afkhami 889788

22. Abolqasem Sarhadizadeh 862927

23. Mohammad Naimi-Pour 855412

24. Mehdi Karrubi 815464

25. Fatemeh Rakeie 814235

26. Seyed Mahmoud Doaie 808670

27. Rasoul Montajabnia 707462

28. Akbar Hashemi Bahremani(Rafsanjani) 693606

29. Alireza Rajaie 685974

30. Elyas Hazrati 682198

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:07:39 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: European Leaders Rush to Iran in Wake of Elections

European Leaders Rush to Iran in Wake of Elections

TEHRAN (AFP) - European foreign ministers are rushing to Tehran in the
wake of the sweeping election victory of reformists in last weekend's
parliamentary elections, with Italy and Germany leading the pack and Britain
not far behind.

The Italian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that Lamberto Dini will pay an
official visit to Tehran March 4-6, the first by a European Union minister
since Friday's polls.

Dini, whose country has taken the lead in boosting relations between the EU
and Tehran, will hold talks with the country's leaders in the course of his
second trip to Iran in as many years.

Reformers backing President Mohammad Khatami won their long-sought
majority in Parliament last Friday, paving the way toward Khatami's goal of
a more liberal and democratic Iran.

On Monday, Dini welcomed the election victory by Iran's reformers,
claiming that "strong participation by voters, in particular by young people
and women, demonstrates the success of policies begun two years ago by
President Khatami."

"The election results and the success of the forces of moderate reform will
contribute to an improvement in the dialogue between Iran and the
international community, and particularly with the EU," he added.

With Brussels also hailing the reformist win as a positive step, Dini will
lead
an expected succession of EU visits.

Berlin has said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer is making
"concrete preparations" to visit Tehran and will announce the date in the next
few days. The German press has speculated it could be as soon as March 5.

Relations between the two were bedeviled for some two years by the jailing
of German businessman Helmut Hofer for having an affair with an Iranian
Muslim woman. At one time he faced execution but was finally released last
month.

London meanwhile has confirmed that British Foreign Secretary Robin
Cook will visit Tehran, probably in May. This will follow a landmark visit to
London in January by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi -- the first
such exchange with Britain since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Here again relations between London and Tehran were seriously upset by
the death sentence declared in a religious decree by Iran's late Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on British writer Salman Rushdie for
his allegedly blasphemous novel "The Satanic Verses".

Matters only returned to normality two years ago in the wake of Khatami's
own election, although the fatwa against Rushdie is still officially in
force.

France is also keen to get to know the new reformist leaders in Tehran.

Junior Industry Minister Christian Perret was in Iran a week ago in the
middle of the election campaign.

Central and Eastern European countries are similarly watching developments
here with a great deal of attention and a sense of Deja Vu. "We are feeling in
Iran what we went through in 1989," one East European diplomat said,
referring to the collapse of communism.

Still out in the cold is the United States, despite extremely cautious moves
towards breaking down the mutually hostile suspicion.

At a press conference Monday the leader of the main reformist movement,
Mohammad Reza Khatami, the President's brother, promised that
Parliament would also work to create a better atmosphere for relations with
Washington.

But he stressed that the reformers, whose smashing success was hailed by
Washington, would be no soft touch and would continue to demand a
relaxation of U.S. economic sanctions in return for any thaw in ties.

"We attach great importance to our national interests and we want relations
of equality," the younger Khatami said.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:08:06 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Press Safeguards Reverence for Freedom, Mohajerani

Press Safeguards Reverence for Freedom, Mohajerani

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN- Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ataollah Mohajerani
yesterday said the press is the most important institution which safeguards
reverence for freedom.

The minister made the remark while addressing a congress held here in
honor of the renowned contemporary Iranian poet and freedom-fighter
Mirza Mohammad Yazdi, also known as Farrokhi Yazdi.

He said freedom of the press is one of the great achievements of President
Khatami's administration, adding that during his presidency the press has
been turned into a significant power in the social, cultural and political
arenas.

Mohajerani said journalists who bravely shape the institution of the press
should be assisted while certain obstacles should be eliminated so that it
will
not be tempted to deviate.

He underlined the power of expression which he said even surmounted the
power of arms and wealth.

The culture and Islamic guidance minister stressed that although freedom is a
principle, however, no one approves of absolute and illegitimate freedom.

The concern of people in the recent parliamentary elections was also
freedom and their major aim was to vote for those who would develop
freedom and safeguard it, he further remarked. Underlining freedom as an
infrastructural principle which guarantees other concerns, Mohajerani said
nothing is superior to freedom.

"Freedom is the pivot and yardstick which is the core of understanding to
any other phenomenon and is a criterion for judgment on administrations,"
said the minister.

Pointing to the background of dictatorship in the country and its
confrontation with freedom, Mohajerani said that although dictatorship tried
at certain junctures to remain at the back stage, there had been those who
devoted their lives and blood to prevent this dictatorship from taking any
form of legitimacy. The minister said that Farrokhi was imprisoned and his
lips were sewn for his freedom-seeking ideals.

He stressed that those who choose freedom should pay its cost; otherwise,
he stated, they can play no effective role in the promotion of society.

The congress is held with the goal to further become familiar with the
political, social and cultural aspects of Farrokhi's life in his struggles
against
the dictatorial regime of his time.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:08:28 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran, Sudan Sign Joint Communique

Iran, Sudan Sign Joint Communique

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN- A joint communique on political affairs was signed here
yesterday by Iran and Sudan, at the end of a visit to Tehran of Sudanese
deputy foreign minister Hassan Abedini.

According to the communique which was inked by Abedini and Iran's
deputy foreign minister in charge of Afro-Arab affairs, Mohammad Sadr, the
two sides underlined the need for further expansion of Tehran-Khartoum ties
in political, economic and cultural areas.

The two countries also called for removal of the existing obstacles in the way
of expansion of bilateral economic and trade ties.

According to IRNA, both Iran and Sudan stressed importance of regional
peace and stability and settlement of crises throughout the globe.

Condemning the recent attack of the Zionist regime upon Lebanon, the two
countries called for an end to occupation of the Palestinian territories,
Golan
Heights and South Lebanon by Israel.

During his two-day visit to Tehran, Abedini also met Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi, Minister of Construction Jihad Mohammad Saidi-Kia and head of
chamber of commerce, Alinaqi Khamoushi.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:09:11 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Ayatollah Taheri Thanks Isfahan People

Ayatollah Taheri Thanks Isfahan People

IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Leader's representative and Friday Prayer leader of Isfahan
Ayatollah Seyed Jalaleddin Taheri in a message Tuesday appreciated the
provincial people for their massive turnout in the February 18 parliamentary
elections.

In his message Ayatollah Taheri said that enthusiastic presence of the people
once again turned the election scene into the scene of an epic which pleased
friends of Islam and frustrated the enemies.

He said the election once again demonstrated the importance of people's
participation in the election and proved that no power, no matter how
strong, can stand against the will of the people.

Ayatollah Taheri said he was certain that decisive support of people for the
reformist plans of the President which was reiterated in the recent election,
will serve as the strongest patronage for the government and the Islamic
system.

He also thanked the people for the vote they cast in his favor to be elected
to the Experts Assembly as representative of Isfahan Province, IRNA
reported.

By-election for the third Experts Assembly was held in Isfahan, Semnan and
Mazandaran provinces simultaneously with the nationwide election for the
Sixth Majlis on February 18.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:10:23 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran, U.N. Refugee Agency Plan Return of 1.4m Afghans

Iran, U.N. Refugee Agency Plan Return of 1.4m Afghans

Kharrazi, UNHCR Executive Commissioner Discuss Refugee Problem

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Head of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Rai Mundo Perez-Hernandez Torra
here yesterday held talks with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on refugee
problem in Iran.

Kharrazi said Iran is now hosting two million refugees which requires more
contribution from the international community to finance the tackling of the
refugee problem.

He said the refugees have brought economic, health and security problems
to Iran including their involvement in drug trafficking and called on the
UNHCR to exercise more and close cooperation with the Islamic Republic
of Iran.

Kharrazi said, quoted by IRNA, the refugees should be provided with small
workshops to enable them earn their living and encourage them voluntarily
return to their countries.

Perez-Hernandez said he held constructive negotiations with Iranian officials
on the refugee problem in Iran adding that he would convey his findings on
Iran's humanitarian action of hosting the refugees to the international
community seeking more assistance to Iran.

He appreciated Iran for playing host to over two million refugees despite the
difficulties they have brought to the Iranian government and people and
called for provisions to pave the way for voluntary repatriation of the
refugees to their home countries.

Perez-Hernandez Torra, in a meeting with adviser to the interior minister and
director general of the Interior Ministry's foreign nationals affairs Hassan-
Ali
Ebrahimi said here yesterday that he will convey to the international
community Iran's valuable efforts in caring for refugees.

Ebrahimi hoped that after much discussions, the two sides will come up with
specific solutions to the refugees problem.

Perez-Hernandez also said, "After the detailed discussions I had in
Mashhad, I now have a much clearer picture on the issue."

He also cautioned that the financial aid which the international organizations
have put at Iran's disposal is inadequate, and stressed more assistance
should be provided to Iran by governmental and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs).

In another development, Iran and the United Nations Refugee Agency have
signed an agreement that aims to repatriate the 1.4 million Afghan refugees in
Iran and end the forcible deportation of people who would be in danger if
sent back, a spokesman for the agency said Tuesday.

Speaking to the press in Geneva, Kris Janowski said that the agreement,
which was signed last week by a representative of the UNHCR and the
head of Iran's Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, will give
Afghan refugees without proper documents six months to come forward and
either apply for return or make a case for remaining in Iran.

Approximately 90,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their home country
since Iran dropped its open-door policy toward Afghans in late 1998, citing
public pressure and a worsening economy.

Under last week's agreement, UNHCR will be given a say in determining
whether those coming forward will return or be allowed to remain, the
spokesman said.

Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 06:10:53 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: LARI: Feb. 18 Elections Fine Depiction of Public Participation

LARI: Feb. 18 Elections Fine Depiction of Public Participation

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari said here yesterday
that the Feb. 18 sixth Majlis elections depicted the most beautiful image of
public presence, IRNA reported.

Lari told Iranian governors general that the noble Iranian people emerged
triumphant from the test, showing that they have been always steadfast in
deciding their own destiny.

He said the elections were a repeat performance of the presidential elections
of May 23, 1997, when President Seyed Mohammad Khatami was elected
in a landslide victory.

He added that in the elections, diversity of opinion in the society was easily
accepted by people and groups while the parties too changed their attitude
toward society and made their slogans compatible with social trait.

The minister said that at the elections, the people voiced support for
platforms of the May 23 Front and stressed on democracy more than
economic and welfare slogans.

He said that among others one should refer to acceptance of parties,
organizations and vocational and political groups by people. He added that
people were inclined to parties and groups, took their programs and plans
into consideration and showed their confidence in parties and organizations
by electing even the unknown individuals, who were introduced by the
parties.

He said that election of new figures in the sixth Majlis elections is sign of
people's new attitude toward political, economic and cultural issues.

Acceptance of new figures is a sign of society's consent to renovation and
change, said Lari, adding that in fact, composition of those elected by
people, shows that people are for change and development in various
aspects of their life.

People's votes showed that they are for change of social behavior, relations
with administrators, citizenship rights and internal and foreign relations, he
added.

Lari said that now, all the world admits to the dynamism, awareness and high
political understanding of the Iranian nation. As for relations with and
issues
related to the outside world, people are for change in favor of mutual
friendship and relations, he added.

He said that pessimist outlook to countries is not welcomed by people and
except the Zionist Regime of Israel, whose legitimacy has not been
confirmed by the public, or any other country seeking domination, the
Iranian people speak to all the world countries with the language of
friendship and kindness and build relations with them on the condition that
these countries do not seek to exert their domination.

Lari said that certainly, all the people have accepted the Constitution as a
national bond and continue their activities in that framework and confronting
the Constitution cannot be accepted by people, he added.

The interior minister said that the people support any kind of reform and
change within framework of the system and in that line they want new
words, new figures and change and reform from internal body of the system.
This is something for those whose realization is that there is no need to
violate framework of the Constitution, he added.

Lari thanked the people for their confidence in programs and policies of
President Mohammad Khatami. There should be efforts to set sound plans
and remove obstacles in the way of political and economic development
through cooperation between the Executive and Legislative powers and
witness improvement of people's situation in light of solidarity and unity
between government and Majlis.

Concluding his remarks, Lari called on all the political tendencies, parties
and groups, whose traits have not been confirmed by the public, to refrain
from isolation and leaving the scene, and instead start removing their
weaknesses and cooperate with the victorious groups to form a multivoice
society, that has room for the existence of opposition, criticisms and
tolerance.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 to 24 Feb 2000 - Special issue