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

There are 14 messages totalling 1071 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. an Official Slams United States
2. CORRECTED-Rafsanjani scrapes into Iran parliament -TV
3. Saudi congratulates Khatami on Iran election win (2)
4. Reformists Gain Control in Iran
5. Questions surround win by Iran's Rafsanjani
6. Iraq says poll won't change Iran anti-Arab policy
7. Reformists Gain Control in Iran By AFSHIN VALINEJAD .c The Associated
Press
8. Khatami cautions world on Iranian reformers' win
9. arthquake causes damage in northern Iran
10. tehran-election-result
11. IRNA:nateq-nouri warns of enemy's cultural invasion
12. Reuters: Questions Surround Win by Iran's Rafsanjani
13. Independent: Iran's new dawn might mark the end of US influence in the
Gulf

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 03:32:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: an Official Slams United States

an Official Slams United States

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A top Iranian official slammed the United States during a
sermon Friday for professing a desire for improved ties while pushing
legislation to punish countries that help Iran's arms program.

``On the one hand they express willingness to have relations with Iran, and
on the other they pass laws which seek to punish countries helping Iran with
its weapons program,'' ex-President Hashemi Rafsanjani said at the sermon at
Tehran University.

The crowd shouted, ``Death to America.''

Rafsanjani's comments were the first by an Iranian official since the U.S.
Senate on Thursday passed a bill that directs the president to identify
foreign persons or countries that transfer weapons material or technology to
Iran and authorizes him to impose sanctions.

The House passed a similar bill last September, and is expected to quickly
adapt the Senate version and send it to President Clinton.

Rafsanjani, who now heads a powerful government advisory body, said Iranian
policy toward the United States has not changed.

``The United States has to accept that it has made mistakes in the past with
regard to Iran and the U.S. must return to us what is rightfully ours and
prove their good will if they want to have a dialogue with Tehran,''
Rafsanjani said. ``This is our position from the beginning and this is our
position today.''

Rafsanjani fared terribly in last week's legislative elections that gave
reformists a decisive victory, according to official results that have been
trickling in.

In the latest results reported Friday, Iranian radio said Rafsanjani had won
enough votes to avoid a runoff and claim a parliamentary seat in Tehran. But
his vote total was the lowest among the 30 winners. Though official results
for the other 29 seats have not been announced, they're likely to go to
reformists.

Despite the relatively poor showing in elections, Rafsanjani remains a
powerful official in the ruling clergy. Conservatives control the armed
forces, the judiciary and radio and television.

Reformists allied with President Mohammad Khatami are set to wrest the
legislature from conservatives for the first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic
revolution brought the clergy to power.

Rafsanjani called on them not to sideline conservatives when they come to
power.

``People with different political inclinations should be allowed to serve. I
hope we will not see elimination of opponents,'' he said.

Vote counting is not yet complete for last week's election, but Khatami's
allies have so far won 141 seats, hard-liners have taken 44 and independents
10. Run-offs will be held for 65 seats.

Mohammadreza Khatami, the top vote-getter in the elections, has also said
that Iran wants actions and not just words from the United States.

Khatami, the president's younger brother, heads the largest and most
influential reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

President Khatami, who came to power in 1997, has encouraged increased
people-to-people contact with the United States but has stopped short of
calling for talks.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright renewed an offer to talk
directly to Iran about U.S. concern over Iranian policies - including
accusations that it sponsors terrorism, is trying to sabotage Middle East
peacemaking and is seeking to amass an arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction.

The United States froze Iranian assets valued at $12 billion in 1979 after
the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the capture of U.S. hostages.

Russia has actively assisted Iran in its nuclear power program, which the
United States fears is being used to cover up secret efforts to build nuclear
weapons, and China and North Korea have helped Iran produce ballistic
missiles now thought to have a range of at least 800 miles.

Iran says it is not seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 03:33:21 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: CORRECTED-Rafsanjani scrapes into Iran parliament -TV

CORRECTED-Rafsanjani scrapes into Iran parliament -TV


In TEHRAN story headlined ``Rafsanjani scrapes into Iran parliament -TV''
please read in third paragraph...The last of the results of the February 18
election...instead of...February 16 election...correcting date of the
election. A corrected repetition follows:

TEHRAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Former Iranian president and conservative
standard-bearer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani scraped into the new parliament on
Saturday, state television said.

Iranian TV, monitored by the BBC in London, said Rafsanjani had won the last
of 30 seats for the capital Tehran with 25.587 percent -- just over the
threshold needed to claim a seat without a run-off.

The last of the results of the February 18 election had hung in the balance
as officials tried to resolve alleged irregularities amid accusations of
ballot-rigging in parts of Tehran seen as Rafsanjani strongholds.

Rafsanjani is a standard-bearer for the conservative clerics who have been
drubbed in the election.

But some reformers had feared a backlash from conservatives still in charge
of institutions not controlled by the reformist president or parliament if
the pragmatic Rafsanjani, once the most powerful man in Iran, lost his seat.

Reformers allied with President Mohammad Khatami clinched almost all the
capital's seats, on top of a strong showing in the provinces, in what is seen
as a ringing endorsement of the president's liberal reforms.

The top three candidates, according to the television, were the president's
brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, with 61.21 percent, Jamileh Kadivar, the
sister of imprisoned clerical dissident Mohsen Kadivar, with 47.01 per cent,
and Alireza Nouri, the brother of another imprisoned cleric, with 45.83
percent.

Final results for Tehran had been promised by noon on Thursday, but the
deadline slipped amid word that officials from the reformist interior
ministry had ordered a recount from parts of the city that were a presumed
Rafsanjani powerbase.

Results were then promised on Friday as rival conservative and reformist
election boards met to resolve discrepancies in the recount for Tehran.

As the controversy continued, an unofficial ministry count showed Rafsanjani
falling short of the 25 percent threshold while conservative papers published
a rival count, approved by representatives of the hardline Guardian Council,
that showed him scraping over the threshold.

Failure to resolve the dispute could have forced a new election.

Rafsanjani, a veteran revolutionary, pledged on Friday to respect the choice
of the voters, no matter what the outcome.

He told worshippers at Tehran's Friday prayers that the big turnout proved
the enduring strength of the Islamic revolution, and warned the United States
not to expect concessions from Iran in the wake of the reformist win.

Washington broke off ties with Tehran in the wake of the 1979 seizure of the
U.S. embassy by militant students. A recent thaw launched by Khatami has so
far failed to lead to anything like a political breakthrough.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 03:33:55 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Saudi congratulates Khatami on Iran election win

Saudi congratulates Khatami on Iran election win


RIYADH, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Fahd has congratulated Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami on the victory of his reformist camp in a
parliamentary election, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

King Fahd said in a message to Khatami that he hoped the reformists' victory
would help the Iranian president achieve progress and prosperity for
Iranians.

Reformers allied with Khatami soundly defeated entrenched conservatives on
the back of a high turnout by voters eager for change.

The agency carried similar messages from Crown Prince Abdullah and Defence
Minister Prince Sultan.

Relations between the two OPEC heavyweights have been improving since Khatami
was elected in 1997 on a platform calling for better relations with Iran's
neighbours.

The United Arab Emirates said on Friday it hoped the parliamentary election
would contribute to the resolution of a territorial dispute with Iran over
the islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 07:19:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Reformists Gain Control in Iran

Reformists Gain Control in Iran

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Reformists gained firm control of Iran's parliament after
the final election tally announced today gave them a near-sweep of the
crucial Tehran district - a big victory for supporters of the political and
social changes pushed by the nation's moderate president.

With the results, hard-liners were ousted from control of the 290-seat
Parliament, or Majlis, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution
brought the clergy to power.

Reformists won 170 seats, hard-liners and conservatives 45 and independents
10; 65 seats would be decided in run-offs in April, the official Islamic
Republic News Agency reported.

The reformists, led by Mohamadreza Khatami, younger brother of the president,
won 29 of the 30 seats in the capital. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani,
once considered a moderate but increasingly identified as a conservative,
secured the 30th seat.

Even Rafsanjani's victory was considered a blow to conservatives and to his
own political future - he won just 25.58 percent of the vote, barely
surpassing the 25 percent minimum needed to avoid a run-off. He placed last
on the list of candidates to secure a Tehran seat.

Although beaten in the elections, the hard-liners still wield power through
key institutions such as the Guardians Council, which must approve all
legislation. But reformists say they are confident that hard-liners will not
want to use those powers to block legislation and risk angering a majority of
Iranians.

Jamileh Kadivar, a popular columnist who is the sister of jailed dissident
Mohsen Kadivar, gained the second-highest number of votes. Alireza Nouri, who
has called for a national referendum to decide whether to open a dialogue
with the United States, came in third. Nouri's brother, Abdollah, is another
prominent dissident.

Tehran results from the Feb. 18 election were the last to come in because
they had to be recounted, Interior Ministry officials said. About 3 million
people voted in the capital.

Rafsanjani was backed by conservatives but also by one reformist party.
However, most voters saw him as having moved firmly into the hard-line camp.

He was the first leader after the 1979 revolution to reach out to his
neighbors and to the West, believing that Iran needed outside help to rebuild
after a ruinous war with Iraq.

But in a Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani spoke out against the United
States.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of Tehran University students chanting
``Death to America,'' he criticized a U.S. Senate bill passed Thursday which
allows for sanctions on countries helping Iran with its weapons program.

``On the one hand they express willingness to have relations with Iran, and
on the other they pass laws which seek to punish countries helping Iran with
its weapons program,'' said Rafsanjani, who heads a powerful advisory body.

It was the first comment on the bill by an Iranian official.

``The United States has to accept that it has made mistakes in the past with
regard to Iran and the U.S. must return to us what is rightfully ours and
prove their good will if they want to have a dialogue with Tehran,'' he said.

Khatami, who heads the most influential reformist movement, the Islamic Iran
Participation Front, also has said that Iran wants U.S. actions and not just
words.

His brother, President Mohammad Khatami, who came to power in 1997, has
encouraged increased people-to-people contact with the United States but has
stopped short of calling for talks.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright renewed an offer to
talk directly to Iran about U.S. concerns with Iranian policies - including
accusations that it sponsors terrorism, is trying to sabotage Middle East
peacemaking and seeks to amass an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

The United States froze Iranian assets valued at $12 billion in 1979 after
the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the capture of U.S. hostages.

AP-NY-02-26-00 0542EST

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 07:21:34 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Saudi congratulates Khatami on Iran election win

Saudi congratulates Khatami on Iran election win


RIYADH, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Fahd has congratulated Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami on the victory of his reformist camp in a
parliamentary election, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

King Fahd said in a message to Khatami that he hoped the reformists' victory
would help the Iranian president achieve progress and prosperity for
Iranians.

Reformers allied with Khatami soundly defeated entrenched conservatives on
the back of a high turnout by voters eager for change.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 07:23:45 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Questions surround win by Iran's Rafsanjani

Questions surround win by Iran's Rafsanjani

By Jonathan Lyons


TEHRAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Former president and conservative standard-bearer
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani scraped into Iran's new parliament after a partial
recount, according to final results released on Saturday.

But allegations of irregularities surrounding the vote have tainted
Rafsanjani's victory, threatening to undermine his standing as one of Iran's
leading political figures and to block his bid for the speaker's chair.

Already one close ally has suggested Rafsanjani abandon any thoughts of
leading parliament, a post he held in the early years of the revolution
before becoming president.

State television announced results -- already delayed several times -- that
showed Rafsanjani had won the last of 30 seats for the capital Tehran with
25.587 percent -- just over the threshold needed to claim a seat without a
run-off.

Reformers close to President Mohammad Khatami won the other 29, completing
their triumph across the country in the February 18 polls.

However the Tehran result, released in the early hours of Saturday,
contradicted figures issued on Friday afternoon and then suddenly withdrawn.
That count found Rafsanjani forced into a run-off -- a race analysts said he
was likely to lose.

'CLOUD OF AMBIGUITY'

``A cloud of ambiguity surrounds Hashemi Rafsanjani's entrance into
parliament,'' said a headline in the daily Akhbar-e Eqtesad, summing up
scepticism in the reformist press over the count.

The outspoken Fath newspaper said Iran's Islamic system was at stake: ``If
the trend of the cult of personality and efforts to save Hashemi continue,
then the system will face a crisis of legitimacy.''

Conservative newspapers and members of Rafsanjani's influential family say
the charges of fraud are baseless and designed to tarnish his reputation
forever.

Announcement of the final results followed day-long meetings between rival
election supervisors from the pro-reform interior ministry and the hardline
Guardian Council, each of which had conducted its own count.

The prolonged row over the results has placed the reformist government and
its electoral allies in a tough position.

Some reformers fear a backlash from conservatives still in charge of many
levers of power if the pragmatic Rafsanjani, once the most powerful man in
Iran, failed to win a seat.

But the reform movement, led by the president, has made the rule of law its
primary slogan -- a stance at odds with any attempt to alter the results to
ensure a Rafsanjani victory.

Further complicating the issue were charges from pro-reform candidate Ali
Akbar Rahmani, just behind Rafsanjani in the official result, that he had
been deprived of votes to make way for the former president. Rahmani has
asked for a recount.

REFORMERS ROMP TO VICTORY

Reformers allied with Khatami clinched almost all the capital's seats, on top
of a strong showing in the provinces, in what was seen as a ringing
endorsement of the president's liberal reforms.

The top three candidates in Tehran, according to the television, were the
president's brother Mohammad Reza Khatami, with 61.21 percent; Jamileh
Kadivar, the sister of imprisoned clerical dissident Mohsen Kadivar, with
47.01 per cent; and Alireza Nouri, the brother of another imprisoned cleric,
with 45.83 percent.

Rafsanjani, a veteran revolutionary, pledged on Friday to respect the choice
of the voters, no matter what the outcome.

He told worshippers at Tehran's Friday prayers that the big turnout proved
the enduring strength of the Islamic revolution, and warned the United States
not to expect concessions from Iran in the wake of the reformist win.

Washington broke off ties with Tehran in the wake of the 1979 seizure of the
U.S. embassy by militant students. A recent thaw launched by Khatami has so
far failed to lead to anything like a political breakthrough.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 07:25:33 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iraq says poll won't change Iran anti-Arab policy

Iraq says poll won't change Iran anti-Arab policy


BAGHDAD, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A leading Iraqi newspaper said on Saturday the
victory achieved by reformists in Iran's parliamentary election would not
change Tehran's expansionist policy against neighbouring Arab states.

``A change in Iran's government from conservatives to reformists does not
mean a change in intentions and goals,'' Babel, newspaper of President Saddam
Hussein's eldest son Uday, said.

``It is known that Iran was and still is dreaming and planning to rule over
the Arabian Gulf region no matter who is in power in Iran,'' the paper said
in a front-page editorial.

The Iranian government had used the elections ``as a fake attempt to flirt
with the Americans and to improve the image of Iran (in the United States),''
Babel said.

Reformers allied with President Mohammad Khatami defeated conservatives in a
landslide victory in the February 18 polls.

Babel said the ``language of dialogue and melting ice'' was best suited to
resolving problems between Iran and Iraq.

Relations are still strained over the release of remaining prisoners of their
1980-88 war, one of the thorniest issues hindering an improvement in ties.

Talks in 1998 led to the exchange of 6,000 prisoners and Tehran also agreed
to allow Iranian pilgrims to visit Shi'ite Moslem shrines in Iraq.

Rebels in either country fighting the government of the neighbouring state
have also contributed to tensions.

Baghdad accuses Tehran of harbouring Shi'ite dissidents who mount hit-and-run
attacks on southern Iraq. Tehran says Baghdad is arming the exiled Mujahideen
Khalq organisation and providing it with military camps along their border.

Earlier this month, Iran protested to Iraq for failing to rein in the
Mujahideen after the organisation carried out a mortar attack in central
Tehran which killed one man and wounded six. Baghdad denied involvement.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 07:26:33 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Reformists Gain Control in Iran By AFSHIN VALINEJAD .c The Associated
Press

Reformists Gain Control in Iran

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Reformists gained firm control of Iran's parliament after
the final election tally announced today gave them a near-sweep of the
crucial Tehran district - a big victory for supporters of the political and
social changes pushed by the nation's moderate president.

With the results, hard-liners were ousted from control of the 290-seat
Parliament, or Majlis, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution
brought the clergy to power.

Reformists won 170 seats, hard-liners and conservatives 45 and independents
10; 65 seats would be decided in run-offs in April, the official Islamic
Republic News Agency reported.

The reformists, led by Mohamadreza Khatami, younger brother of the president,
won 29 of the 30 seats in the capital. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani,
once considered a moderate but increasingly identified as a conservative,
secured the 30th seat.

Even Rafsanjani's victory was considered a blow to conservatives and to his
own political future - he won just 25.58 percent of the vote, barely
surpassing the 25 percent minimum needed to avoid a run-off. He placed last
on the list of candidates to secure a Tehran seat.

Although beaten in the elections, the hard-liners still wield power through
key institutions such as the Guardians Council, which must approve all
legislation. But reformists say they are confident that hard-liners will not
want to use those powers to block legislation and risk angering a majority of
Iranians.

Jamileh Kadivar, a popular columnist who is the sister of jailed dissident
Mohsen Kadivar, gained the second-highest number of votes. Alireza Nouri, who
has called for a national referendum to decide whether to open a dialogue
with the United States, came in third. Nouri's brother, Abdollah, is another
prominent dissident.

Tehran results from the Feb. 18 election were the last to come in because
they had to be recounted, Interior Ministry officials said. About 3 million
people voted in the capital.

Rafsanjani was backed by conservatives but also by one reformist party.
However, most voters saw him as having moved firmly into the hard-line camp.

He was the first leader after the 1979 revolution to reach out to his
neighbors and to the West, believing that Iran needed outside help to rebuild
after a ruinous war with Iraq.

But in a Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani spoke out against the United
States.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of Tehran University students chanting
``Death to America,'' he criticized a U.S. Senate bill passed Thursday which
allows for sanctions on countries helping Iran with its weapons program.

``On the one hand they express willingness to have relations with Iran, and
on the other they pass laws which seek to punish countries helping Iran with
its weapons program,'' said Rafsanjani, who heads a powerful advisory body.

It was the first comment on the bill by an Iranian official.

``The United States has to accept that it has made mistakes in the past with
regard to Iran and the U.S. must return to us what is rightfully ours and
prove their good will if they want to have a dialogue with Tehran,'' he said.

Khatami, who heads the most influential reformist movement, the Islamic Iran
Participation Front, also has said that Iran wants U.S. actions and not just
words.

His brother, President Mohammad Khatami, who came to power in 1997, has
encouraged increased people-to-people contact with the United States but has
stopped short of calling for talks.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright renewed an offer to
talk directly to Iran about U.S. concerns with Iranian policies - including
accusations that it sponsors terrorism, is trying to sabotage Middle East
peacemaking and seeks to amass an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

The United States froze Iranian assets valued at $12 billion in 1979 after
the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the capture of U.S. hostages.


By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Reformists gained firm control of Iran's parliament after
the final election tally announced today gave them a near-sweep of the
crucial Tehran district - a big victory for supporters of the political and
social changes pushed by the nation's moderate president.

With the results, hard-liners were ousted from control of the 290-seat
Parliament, or Majlis, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution
brought the clergy to power.

Reformists won 170 seats, hard-liners and conservatives 45 and independents
10; 65 seats would be decided in run-offs in April, the official Islamic
Republic News Agency reported.

The reformists, led by Mohamadreza Khatami, younger brother of the president,
won 29 of the 30 seats in the capital. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani,
once considered a moderate but increasingly identified as a conservative,
secured the 30th seat.

Even Rafsanjani's victory was considered a blow to conservatives and to his
own political future - he won just 25.58 percent of the vote, barely
surpassing the 25 percent minimum needed to avoid a run-off. He placed last
on the list of candidates to secure a Tehran seat.

Although beaten in the elections, the hard-liners still wield power through
key institutions such as the Guardians Council, which must approve all
legislation. But reformists say they are confident that hard-liners will not
want to use those powers to block legislation and risk angering a majority of
Iranians.

Jamileh Kadivar, a popular columnist who is the sister of jailed dissident
Mohsen Kadivar, gained the second-highest number of votes. Alireza Nouri, who
has called for a national referendum to decide whether to open a dialogue
with the United States, came in third. Nouri's brother, Abdollah, is another
prominent dissident.

Tehran results from the Feb. 18 election were the last to come in because
they had to be recounted, Interior Ministry officials said. About 3 million
people voted in the capital.

Rafsanjani was backed by conservatives but also by one reformist party.
However, most voters saw him as having moved firmly into the hard-line camp.

He was the first leader after the 1979 revolution to reach out to his
neighbors and to the West, believing that Iran needed outside help to rebuild
after a ruinous war with Iraq.

But in a Friday prayer sermon, Rafsanjani spoke out against the United
States.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of Tehran University students chanting
``Death to America,'' he criticized a U.S. Senate bill passed Thursday which
allows for sanctions on countries helping Iran with its weapons program.

``On the one hand they express willingness to have relations with Iran, and
on the other they pass laws which seek to punish countries helping Iran with
its weapons program,'' said Rafsanjani, who heads a powerful advisory body.

It was the first comment on the bill by an Iranian official.

``The United States has to accept that it has made mistakes in the past with
regard to Iran and the U.S. must return to us what is rightfully ours and
prove their good will if they want to have a dialogue with Tehran,'' he said.

Khatami, who heads the most influential reformist movement, the Islamic Iran
Participation Front, also has said that Iran wants U.S. actions and not just
words.

His brother, President Mohammad Khatami, who came to power in 1997, has
encouraged increased people-to-people contact with the United States but has
stopped short of calling for talks.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright renewed an offer to
talk directly to Iran about U.S. concerns with Iranian policies - including
accusations that it sponsors terrorism, is trying to sabotage Middle East
peacemaking and seeks to amass an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

The United States froze Iranian assets valued at $12 billion in 1979 after
the overthrow of the U.S.-backed shah and the capture of U.S. hostages.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 15:35:49 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Khatami cautions world on Iranian reformers' win

Khatami cautions world on Iranian reformers' win


TEHRAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned the
world on Saturday not to misread the significance of the impressive election
win by his reformist allies, insisting that Iran would continue to go its own
way.

``The Iranian nation will not lose sight of its goals on the basis of others'
wishes and delusions. What our nation wants is important, not what others say
or want,'' state television quoted Khatami as saying.

``The (reformers' victory) is a sign of our people's political maturity,
their desire to move on a peaceful path toward pluralism and legitimate
freedoms,'' he said in a meeting with foreign ministry officials.

``The polls are part of the dynamic evolution of our (1979) Islamic
revolution, and its constant effort to reform itself. Reforms do not imply
abandoning our principles.''

Khatami's reformist allies swept to an stunning win against entrenched
conservatives in February 18 parliamentary polls.

Western countries have expressed hope that the outcome would accelerate
democratic reforms in Iran and mark a full departure from past radical
policies.

``If world powers have good will, they must adapt themselves to the wishes of
our nation,'' the president said. ``Iran will have a fitting reaction to
those who acknowledge our independence.''

Khatami reaffirmed his stated commitment to peaceful relations with the
outside world, an aim he has pursued with a call for a ``dialogue of
civilisations.''

``Iran pursues a policy of detente not out of need, but out of wisdom and a
concern for ourselves and the world,'' he said.

``It is not difficult to invent enemies. The art is to turn animosity into a
human relationship. Iran will shape its foreign policy based on this
thinking,'' Khatami said.

He was clearly referring to the United States, which hopes the reformist
victory in Iran could pave the way for an eventual restoration of ties
ruptured in the aftermath of the 1979 takeover of the American embassy by
militant students.

Last week, several elected MPs called on Washington to take the first
concrete steps toward normalisation.

They demanded for an end to unilateral sanctions against Iran and repudiation
of allegations the Islamic republic is seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian president and conservative standard
bearer, said on Friday the reformist election victory would not lead to
concessions from Tehran.

``Iran's foreign policy and issues pertaining to Islam are stable and
immutable,'' he said.

Rafsanjani scraped into Iran's new parliament after a partial recount,
according to final results released on Saturday.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 15:36:30 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: arthquake causes damage in northern Iran

arthquake causes damage in northern Iran


TEHRAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring five on the Richter scale
struck a region in northwestern Iran on Saturday, causing minor damage but no
casualties, the official IRNA news agency reported.

A number of old houses suffered damage in the quake which hit Orumiyeh region
of West Azerbaijan province, bordering Turkey, at 11:48 a.m. (0818 GMT), it
said.

Local authorities ordered schools closed following the tremor.

Iran, which lies on a seismic line, is often hit by earthquakes.

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 16:38:04 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: tehran-election-result

thr 017
tehran-election-result (rpt for some locations)
final results of tehran election
tehran, feb. 26, irna -- the interior ministry announced saturday
that a total of 2,931,113 votes has been counted from 3,111 boxes in
tehran, shemiranat, rey and eslamshahr constituency.
the following are the final election results:
name vote percent
1. seyed mohammad reza khatami 1794365 61.21
2. jamileh kadivar 1377746 47.00
3. alireza nouri 1343520 45.83
4. mohsen armin 1224421 41.77
5. seyed hadi husseini khamenei 1223884 41.77
6. mohsen mirdamadi najafabadi 1188309 40.54
7. majid ansari 1173534 40.03
8. behzad nabavi 1148840 39.19
9. ahmad bourqani farahani 1139365 38.87
10. soheila jelodarzadeh 1119735 38.20
11. davoud soleymani 1081119 36.88
12. ahmad pournejati 1070122 36.50
13. elaheh koulaie 1054003 35.95
14. ali shakouri-rad 1053686 35.94
15. seyed ali akbar mousavi khoeini 1052344 35.90
16. vahideh alaie taleqani 1047096 35.72
17. mohsen safaie farahani 1038602 35.43
18. mohammad reza saeedi 1025495 34.98
19. seyed shamseddin vahabi 988564 33.72
20. fatemeh haqiqat-joo 983741 33.56
21. behrouz afkhami 972727 33.22
22. mohammad naimi-pour 941697 32.12
23. abolqasem sarhadizadeh 926054 31.59
24. fatemeh rakeie 896573 30.58
25. mehdi karrubi 892640 30.45
26. seyed mahmoud doaie 889986 30.36
27. rasoul montajabnia 782438 26.69
28. alireza rajaie 771677 26.32
29. elyas hazrati 756266 25.80
30. akbar hashemi bahremani
(rafsanjani) 749884 25.58
fs/ys
end
::irna 26/02/2000 12:15

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 16:39:26 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: IRNA:nateq-nouri warns of enemy's cultural invasion

thr 070
speaker-basijis
nateq-nouri warns of enemy's cultural invasion
tehran, feb. 26, irna -- majlis speaker ali-akbar nateq-nouri told a
group of top basiji (volunteer forces) students on saturday that
enemies are out to cause disechantment among the iranian scientific
community against islamic values.
warning against enemy's cultural offensive, nateq-nouri said that
enemies are in no hurry to fulfill their cultural invasion. they do
the job with patience and several years of efforts to exploit the
situation for their own ends, he added.
enemy's job is out to infiltrate the country's scientific
community so as to take away religious beliefs and ideas from
students, who are the future administrators of the islamic system, and
spread flagrancy and corruption.
the u.s. and countries other than the u.s. and israel know pretty
well that they are neither capable of nor in need of launching a
military coup d'etat in iran because the system of the country's
government and its forces would not allow them to do so, said
nateq-nouri, adding that, what is meaningful to them, and
unfortunately they have to some extent been successful in, has been a
'cultural inroad'.
nateq-nouri said that enemies are after materialization of their
goals without shedding any blood or fanning conflict but through
supporting and encouraging iranians infatuated by them.
''why don't they like the basij or the irgc (the islamic
revolution guards corps)? why is the dissolution of the irgc one of
the preconditions set by the u.s. for the resumption of relations with
iran? why are all attacks made on sanctities? why? because all these
stand in the way of cultural inroad,'' noted nateq-nouri.
he called on the audience to think, be careful, study well and
prove their loyalty to the islamic system.
''the man at war is man of science, construction and education as
well,'' he added.
nateq-nouri awarded a number of top basiji students at the
ceremony. about 300 out of 39,000 top basiji students, participating
in the nationwide basij scientific olympiad, took part in the meeting.
bg/ah
end
::irna 26/02/2000 20:09

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 16:41:47 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Reuters: Questions Surround Win by Iran's Rafsanjani

Saturday February 26 4:19 AM ET

Questions Surround Win by Iran's Rafsanjani

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Former president and conservative
standard-bearer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani scraped into Iran's new
parliament after a partial recount, according to final results released
Saturday.

But allegations of irregularities surrounding the vote have tainted
Rafsanjani's victory, threatening to undermine his standing as one of
Iran's leading political figures and to block his bid for the speaker's
chair.

Already one close ally has suggested Rafsanjani abandon any thoughts of
leading parliament, a post he held in the early years of the revolution
before becoming president.

State television announced results -- already delayed several times --
that showed Rafsanjani had won the last of 30 seats for the capital
Tehran with 25.587 percent -- just over the threshold needed to claim a
seat without a run-off.

Reformers close to President Mohammad Khatami won the other 29,
completing their triumph across the country in the February 18 polls.

However the Tehran result, released in the early hours of Saturday,
contradicted figures issued Friday afternoon and then suddenly
withdrawn. That count found Rafsanjani forced into a run-off -- a race
analysts said he was likely to lose.

'Cloud Of Ambiguity'

``A cloud of ambiguity surrounds Hashemi Rafsanjani's entrance into
parliament,'' said a headline in the daily Akhbar-e Eqtesad, summing up
skepticism in the reformist press over the count.

The outspoken Fath newspaper said Iran's Islamic system was at stake:
``If the trend of the cult of personality and efforts to save Hashemi
continue, then the system will face a crisis of legitimacy.''

Conservative newspapers and members of Rafsanjani's influential family
say the charges of fraud are baseless and designed to tarnish his
reputation forever.

Announcement of the final results followed day-long meetings between
rival election supervisors from the pro-reform interior ministry and the
hard-line Guardian Council, each of which had conducted its own count.

The prolonged row over the results has placed the reformist government
and its electoral allies in a tough position.

Some reformers fear a backlash from conservatives still in charge of
many levers of power if the pragmatic Rafsanjani, once the most powerful
man in Iran, failed to win a seat.

But the reform movement, led by the president, has made the rule of law
its primary slogan -- a stance at odds with any attempt to alter the
results to ensure a Rafsanjani victory.

Further complicating the issue were charges from pro-reform candidate
Ali Akbar Rahmani, just behind Rafsanjani in the official result, that
he had been deprived of votes to make way for the former president.
Rahmani has asked for a recount.

Reformers Romp To Victory

Reformers allied with Khatami clinched almost all the capital's seats,
on top of a strong showing in the provinces, in what was seen as a
ringing endorsement of the president's liberal reforms.

The top three candidates in Tehran, according to the television, were
the president's brother Mohammad Reza Khatami, with 61.21 percent;
Jamileh Kadivar, the sister of imprisoned clerical dissident Mohsen
Kadivar, with 47.01 per cent; and Alireza Nouri, the brother of another
imprisoned cleric, with 45.83 percent.

Rafsanjani, a veteran revolutionary, pledged Friday to respect the
choice of the voters, no matter what the outcome.

He told worshippers at Tehran's Friday prayers that the big turnout
proved the enduring strength of the Islamic revolution, and warned the
United States not to expect concessions from Iran in the wake of the
reformist win.

Washington broke off ties with Tehran in the wake of the 1979 seizure of
the U.S. embassy by militant students. A recent thaw launched by Khatami
has so far failed to lead to anything like a political breakthrough.

E-mail this story | Printer-friendly format

Earlier Stories

Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2000 16:44:52 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Independent: Iran's new dawn might mark the end of US influence in the
Gulf

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Middle_East/2000-02/fisk220200.shtml

Robert Fisk: Iran's new dawn might mark the end of US influence in the
Gulf

Comment: 'Does the US really want free speech in Tehran and a parliament
free to reject policies America wants?'

22 February 2000

The overwhelming victory of President Mohamed Khatami's supporters in
the new Iranian parliament is already being portrayed by the United
States as a "hopeful sign for the West". Washington claims it is on the
side of Mr Khatami's democratic "reformists". But the new Iran emerging
from last week's poll is likely to diminish rather than increase
American influence in the region as its traditional allies in the Middle
East lose their fear of Tehran's Islamic regime.

With Iraq still under almost daily bombardment by American and British
aircraft and Saddam Hussein supposedly "neutralised", Western diplomats
and arms salesmen have regularly used the Iranian "threat" to justify
the continuing presence of United States troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
and other Gulf emirates as well as the purchase by Gulf states of
billions of dollars' worth of weapons. But if Iranian democracy now
becomes a reality, these arguments are going to collapse.

Although the Iranian parliamentary election was primarily domestic in
content about free speech, the lifting of personal restrictions and
freedom of information President Khatami has consistently argued that
peace in the Gulf must be decided by the Arabs and Iranians who live
there, not by the United States. In an interview he gave shortly before
his own landslide presidential election, Mohamed Khatami said that the
peoples of the Gulf must "join hands" to ensure peace and security in
the area. "I believe," he insisted, "that strangers, with their military
forces, must leave the region."

The Arabs have been quick to understand the seismic shift which the
victory of the Khatamists in Iran represents. Only last weekend, King
Fahd of Saudi Arabia formally invited Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah
Seyed Ali Khamenei, to pay a state visit to Riyadh. And with almost all
European nations now maintaining good relations with Tehran Britain
reopened its embassy there last May Iran's isolation in the region is
fast turning into America's isolation.

Royal Dutch Shell and the French oil group Total have each concluded
$800m contracts with Iran since 1995, but the United States under the
d'Amato legislation allows American oil companies to invest only a
maximum of $20m in Iran. Tehran's major hotels are now packed with
European and Asian businessmen, but there are precious few American
accents to be heard in the corridors of the Iranian oil ministry.

True, Syria traditionally Iran's only ally in the Arab world is
intensely concerned at the implications of the elections. President
Assad was one of the first foreign visitors to arrive in Tehran after Mr
Khatami's presidential victory, and Damascus may well send a senior
delegation again in the next few weeks.

Iran funds much of the Hizbollah guerrilla movement which is fighting
Israeli occupation troops in the south of Lebanon, and Hizbollah
officials are themselves asking what the future holds for their movement
if the new Tehran parliament allows President Khatami a free hand in
foreign affairs. Syria has hitherto represented itself as the West's
channel of communication to Iran this was the basis of Syria's
involvement in the release of western hostages but what will be its
role now that Iran is itself being invited to talk directly to its old
enemies?

A group of Hizbollah members were discussing this very issue at Tehran
airport last week as they waited for the arrival of colleagues from
Lebanon. If America holds out the prospect of a new relationship with
Iran, offering to unfreeze Iranian assets in return for an end to the
Islamic Republic's support for the Hizbollah, they were asking
themselves, would the guerrilla battle in southern Lebanon come to an
end?

This is certainly what the Israelis are hoping, although Syria will be
in no mood to oblige. Without Israel's continued bleeding in Lebanon,
Damascus feels that Israel will be under no pressure to withdraw from
the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Hizbollah's existence thus underpins
Syria's demand for an Israeli retreat but the victory of Iran's
reformists could yet undermine the Hizbollah. However, President Khatami
has always expressed his support for the guerrillas' struggle in
southern Lebanon, and recently held warm talks with Seyed Hassan
Nasrallah, the Hizbollah chairman, promising Iran's continued assistance
to the organisation.

With the danger of a radical Iran removed from their frontiers, the Gulf
Arabs are also likely to ask why they should repay Washington for its
military "protection" by supporting a "peace" process that gives ever
greater rewards to the Israelis at the expense of the Arabs.

But there is one dark suspicion that haunts both Arabs and Iranians, and
it is founded on the conviction that the United States and Israel
despite all their publicly-expressed enthusiasm for democracy will
find that a truly democratic Iran has no place in the Middle East. In
Tehran, they have been recalling once again the era of Mohamed Mossadeq,
freely elected but swiftly overthrown in 1953 by a coup d'etat funded by
the CIA and British intelligence.

Just a few weeks ago, President Clinton was demanding democracy in Iraq
so that its people would be "democratically represented" a phenomenon
that does not exist in any other Arab state, saving perhaps Lebanon. If
America really supports democracy in Iran, why not in Saudi Arabia? Does
it really want free speech in Tehran and a parliament which will be free
to reject the policies which America wishes it to adopt? What if Mr
Khatami persists in giving his support to the guerrillas who are trying
to drive Israeli occupiers from their land? Will this be the sort of
democracy that will be left to thrive in the new Iranian dawn?

This thoughtful, intelligent president, whom so many Iranians admire,
has spoken of peace many times. And of dialogue. And of respect.

But he had better keep his security men on their toes.

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