Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Feb 2000 to 3 Feb 2000

There are 5 messages totalling 843 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Future of Iran
3. Israelis Accused in Iran Arms Sale
5. Signature drive to support students

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 18:34:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Future of Iran


Speech given by H. M. Reza Pahlavi to the Members of
The Delta Phi Epsilon National Foreign Service

Georgetown University - Washington, D.C.
February 1st, 2000

I am honored and privileged to be here tonight, in this noble institution of
higher learning.
I had the pleasure of giving a speech in this University about 10 years ago.
I am truly glad to be back!

When talking about Iran and the Middle East, it is often quite hard to know
from where one is to begin. There is much to be said, and a lot more to be
done. Tonight, I will keep my
comments limited to what I believe to be the most important issues faced by
my countrymen
on the eve of the next parliamentary elections on February 18th.

As always, my focus has been on the young generation - the generation that in
my opinion
represents the last hope for our country to emerge from darkness, and once
again, find its
path towards a better future. Let me begin by giving you a brief analysis of
the current state
of affairs in my homeland.

In the Revolution of 1979, Khomeini came to power, and the Islamic Republic
proclaimed. Iran had just witnessed a major political crisis, leading to a
drastic change in the
way the country was to be governed. It did not take long for the people of
Iran to realize the
consequences of this change. Needless to say that, by then it was too late,
and they were
already trapped. A theocracy was installed, where medieval mentalities cast
their shadows,
and thus succeeded to enforce obscurantist laws.

The nature of this regime is fundamentally rigid, and as such it cannot
change. All one has
to do is to study the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. While there is a
provision for
amending the constitution, there is no possibility of changing the theocratic
character of the
regime, its mode of government, and the supreme power of the "Faqih" (or the
Theologian). Such features are deemed irrevocable and unalterable forever.

Moreover, the leaders of this regime have taken God as an alibi, to cover for
their ineptitude
and chronic mistakes.

They claim to be his surrogates; and as surrogates, they have imposed their
will on the
citizenry. They claim that, since Islam is a polity ruled by God,
disobedience toward God's
surrogate rulers is seen, not only as a sin against the Almighty, but as a
crime against the
State. This would of course leave no room for criticism, disagreement or

In order to better comprehend the suffocating nature of this regime, its
disposition towards
the implementation of meaningful reforms, and the theatre in which President
Khatami, or
any other person for that matter, could operate, one must take into account
the following

First of all, there is talk about law; and then, there is talk about civil
society. The question is,
which law? If one is to believe that Civil Society could not possibly exist
in a
non-democratic environment, then one must also believe that a theocracy,
which bases its
legitimacy on Divine Law as opposed to legislated man-made laws, could not
possibly be
compatible with it either. Therefore, in concept or in practice, the Islamic
republic is

After more than two decades, Khomeini's successors still refuse to move
towards genuine
moderation. Surprisingly, the West, and the American Government in
particular, has been
over zealous in the attempt to find such "moderate" characters within the
Islamic regime.
But the leading "liberal" horse, the current president, has basically
reiterated and
espoused Khomeini's utopian philosophy: A year after his election, during a
speech on the
occasion of the Second International Congress commemorating Khomeini, Mr.
stated: "...discoloring the theocratic nature of the Islamic regime is quite
contrary to the
ideals of Imam Khomeini..." And, as recently as yesterday, he has stated that:

"...the Revolution's achievement, namely the constitution, should be defended
in all aspects..."

This man has apparently impressed the West by proclaiming himself: someone
who stands for the Rule of Law. But it is precisely this very Law of the Islamic
Republic that most Iranians today are protesting against! Barbaric acts of punishment such as
public stoning and amputation are now fundamental to their "Rule of Law". Writers and
prominent members of the opposition are not only jailed, but also murdered; religious
minorities are deprived of their most basic human rights; and the revolutionary guards and
morality police continue to abuse citizens as much as ever.

During the first year of Khatami's presidency, as documented by several human
rights organizations, there have been at least 260 public executions, as well as 7
public stonings.
Under his watch, the Parliament has passed two of the most reactionary laws
on women in the regime's history: The first requires that all medical facilities be
segregated by sex. The second effectively bans publication of women's pictures on the cover of
magazines, as well as any form of writing that "creates conflict between the sexes and is
opposed to the Islamic laws."

In all government institutions, universities and airports, there are separate
entrances for women, where they are searched for lipstick, and other weapons of mass
destruction! No infraction is too small to escape notice. According to a well-known former
English professor at Tehran University, "one woman was recently penalized for laughter of a
giggling kind!"
Is this what Mr. Khatami considers standing for women's rights?

Furthermore, soon after he was appointed, Khatami's new Education Minister
issued a new directive forbidding students from bringing materials bearing the Latin
alphabet, or other "decadent" Western symbols, to the classrooms.
Let us not forget that the majority of the votes Mr. Khatami received came
from the youth and women of Iran who had put so much hope in the promises he made during his
campaign. Is this moderation? I think not!

Some may say that Khatami is not to be blamed. More often than not, the
Western media portrays acts of repression as measures taken by hard liners against him - as
if he, and not the people who were actually murdered or oppressed, was the real victim!
Anyway you look at it, our country's problems are not being dealt with.

Meanwhile, the people of Iran are subjugated to the new, yet still archaic,
Law of the Land:
Article 72 of the Islamic Republic's Constitution states that: "The majority
vote is subordinate to God's will: it is legitimate and valid only when it conforms
to the official religion. All legislation is subject to a veto by the council of guardians if
not in conformity with Islam."

Last week, a prominent member of the ruling clergy and an advocate of this
regime, made this enlightening comment on its behalf: "We believe that the most qualified
person is chosen by the Almighty, and hence, the vote of the populace has no meaning or impact!"

Furthermore, according to the recent Associated Press report on January 26th,
the Supreme Leader himself, Ayatollah Khamenei, had this to say about criticism: "My
authority is indisputable...the true meaning of the Supreme Leader is that the person in
charge of the Islamic government does not make mistakes, and if he does, he will not be the
Supreme Leader from that moment."

Sadly, this person has direct control of the Intelligence Ministry, the
Judiciary, the Armed Forces, and the broadcast media... If you think that it is the President who
is in charge, guess again! At the end of the day, it is the Supreme Theologian or the
"Faqih" who has the ultimate veto power, and this is whom the President must report to.

Meanwhile, the people of Iran, especially the youth, have been in the
forefront of the protest movement, demanding meaningful reforms. Instead of witnessing the
fulfillment of campaign promises made by the President, they have been humiliated,
repressed, tortured and imprisoned. Many are serving long prison terms, and tragically, some are
awaiting execution as a result of having participated in the recent peaceful student
uprising. Don't you dare hold up a bloodstained T-shirt of a fellow student, savagely beaten
up by the regime's militia, in front of a camera! If you do, you will be condemned to
death! Is this moderation? I think not!

How can the current leadership make any progress toward Civil Society when
its current Constitution contains an article (#24) which supposedly recognizes freedom of
the press, speech and publication, except: "when detrimental to the fundamental
principles of Islam."

It is not only the opposition voicing such outrage. Even close relatives of
leaders and influential members of this regime have been critical of it. For example, the
former president's daughter has been quoted as saying: "...young people are lured by the culture
of the West, because Iran has not allowed them to celebrate their own traditions in an
entertaining way..." The wife of the last prime minister of the regime stated that: "the
Islamic Government has lost the war on the Hejab (veil)... the Islamic values have
failed to protect women, and to win their support."

Last December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution
censuring Iran for its violations of human rights. The resolution expressed: "...grave
concern at executions, cases of torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as
well as the failure to meet international standards in the administration of justice and
the absence of due process of law..."

Despite the fact that there have been some 45 previous condemnations of Iran
by U.N. committees and forums for its human rights violations, little has been done
to correct the problems.

The regime's rigidity has a negative impact beyond our domestic scene. For
example, full diplomatic relations between Iran and Egypt is on hold due to the regime's
insistence on naming one of Tehran's main streets after the assassin of the late President
Sadat, essentially making a hero of a murderer! Should we then be surprised that the
Islamic Republic has been and remains the greatest opponent of the Middle East peace
process? While Israelis and Palestinians are coming together at the peace table, the
regime in Iran wants to be more Catholic than the Pope!

Inescapably, this regime is simply stuck in the mud. It is incapable of
adjusting to 21st Century reality and circumstance. Since 1979, the population of Iran has
practically doubled, and we must remember that 70% of Iran's population is under the age
of 30.
Therefore, they had nothing to do with the so-called referendum in favor of
this regime in 1979.

A U.S. diplomat, Ambassador James Akins, has appropriately pointed out that:
"It would be ironic and tragic if we were to open relations with the Iranian theocracy
just as the Iranian people have concluded that it must go..." Nevertheless, the status
quo seems to prevail, and unfortunately, there have not been any convincing indications
that the foreign policy of the United States and her principal allies is about to change.

It would be futile to expect the leaders of this regime to commit to a
realistic scenario of reform. They do not have Iran's interest in mind, only their own; And they
will hang on to it as long as they possibly can.

I spoke earlier about the upcoming parliamentary elections. It may interest
you to know that a famous, or I better say, notorious character, referred to by Iranians as
well as the international media as "the butcher of the Iranian Revolution", Ayatollah
Khalkhali, has announced his endorsement and move into President Khatami's camp.

In an interview with the French daily "Le Figaro" on January 14th of this
year, he has demonstrated no regrets, and has been quoted as saying: "If my victims were
to come back to Earth, I would execute them again, all of them, without exception."
In the course of this interview, he further commented that: "...I carried out the laws of
Islam. All those whom I condemned to death were according to the Koran...It was necessary to
execute those persons who were corrupt and immoral. Some of them escaped the country
and I was not able to punish them. That's a pity. But the fact that they never
returned to Iran proves that they considered themselves guilty..."

And, when the reporter asked him to comment on international prosecutions of
Nazi War Criminals and other recent cases in Bosnia and Kosovo, Mr. Khalkhali replied:
"Are you saying that I may be summoned to an International Justice Tribunal at The
Hague? No, it is not possible! If I had acted wrongly, Imam Khomeini would have told me..."

Speaking of the Nazis, during the Second World War, it has been said that
even they had contrasting elements amongst their ranks. Some were suggesting that
Ribbentrop, the diplomat and Foreign Minister at the time, was more moderate than Himler, the
head of the
Gestapo, and later Head of the German Police Forces. Did this change anything
about who they ultimately were, and what they ultimately represented and defended?

Similarly, you can compare Khatami to Khalkhali or others all day long. In
the end, they unswervingly defend and represent the regime of "Velayat-e-Faqih" or the
"Jurisprudence of the Supreme Theologian". You have to examine Iran's leadership in
precisely this context. The real question should be, what does Khatami ultimately represent,
and what is his real duty?

Let there be no mistake: Khatami is there to prolong the Islamic Republic -
he is not there to end it! In other words, he is committed to upholding the very ideology his
constituents so openly oppose!

It is obvious that, to have any chance of survival, this government must
implement meaningful reforms, and, like a Hail Mary pass thrown in the dwindling
seconds, have a glimmer of hope in regaining the people's support - but, in reality, it
cannot reform without negating itself! I am reminded of George Bernard Shaw who said: "the best
reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves!"

If at any point in time, Mr. Khatami, and/or his successors, sincerely wished
to embark on the path to reform, they would have to accomplish, as a minimum, what
Gorbachev had to do in the former U.S.S.R., for a realistic Glasnost and/or Perestroika to
take shape. Ironically, just as Gorbachev realized that he could not possibly inherit his own
undertaking, neither will the present and future clerical leaders of Iran, and thus the Islamic
regime itself.

The solution for Iran and Iranians clearly lies beyond this regime. Nothing
short of a legitimate and bona fide national referendum and free elections could
determine my country's political future. Our best hope for Democracy and Civil Society is
for all freedom loving citizens of Iran to embark on the evolutionary path of non-violent
change. We must equip them, especially our youth, with the best weapons and tools: knowledge,
access, communication and dialogue, amongst themselves, as well as with the
international community. Our society has reached a point where people are cognizant of
their own fundamental and political rights, and are progressively becoming aware of
responsibilities unfortunately shunned by their current government. We must realize that it is
not through bloodshed, but through wisdom, that our future will be built.

Speaking of the international community, I can say that inconsistency, or
selective morality, should not be taken lightly. Human Rights ought not be a subjective issue; it
is a Universal Principle, regardless of whether one is Chinese, Bosnian or Iranian.

George W. Bush has recently commented on the role the U.S. must play, not
only vis-à-vis its own citizens, but also vis-à-vis the international community, in
promoting and assisting the emergence and continuity of democracies, and democratic institutions.

President Clinton, in his recent State of the Union Address has similarly
indicated that:
"Globalization is about more than Economics. Our purpose must be to bring
together the
world around freedom and democracy and peace, and to oppose those who would
tear it

When we look at recent triumphs in bringing democracy to countries that
replaced their former order, from Europe to the Americas, one wonders if this
movement will
continue into the Middle East as well? At the same time, one ought to have
expectations. The obsession demonstrated by successive U.S. Administrations in
searching for "moderates" within the Islamic regime, is not one of them. All
my efforts
through this exercise and speech would be in vain if the same mistake that
has been made
repeatedly for the past two decades continues to linger. Isn't it about time
to bring the
people of Iran into the picture?

Let us, for a second, imagine a frightening scenario to any of us, wherein a
theocracy was to come to power in America. If Jim Jones was the supreme
theologian of
the United States, with David Koresh as his president, could Americans, or
the rest of the
world for that matter, have different expectations than what they have today
from the
Khameneis and Khatamis of Iran? Wouldn't it make more sense if the CNNs of
this world
would find a way to safely interview the students, as opposed to offering a
platform to
someone like Khatami who is there ultimately to undermine them, and instead
lectures the
United States about the philosophy of the pilgrims, as he did in his
interview which was
conspicuously aired just before the U.S. - Iran World Cup 1998 soccer match.
Do you need
this kind of "cultural exchange"? In what way does this contribute to
progress in Iran?
And does it in any way reflect the aspirations of Iranians?

It is all right to open channels for dialogue, and by all means, to establish
as much
meaningful relations as possible with Iran - provided of course that the
condition for
normalization of relations with Iran would not be limited to the regime's
revision of its
modus operandi vis-à-vis the world community: it should be inclusive and
subject to
drastic improvements in its behavior vis-à-vis the people of Iran as well.
This simple, and
yet distinctive observation and posturing by the outside world, especially
the United
States, makes a tremendous difference.

After 21 years of receiving mixed signals, and practically being ignored and
marginalized by
the futile search for non-existing moderates, the people of Iran want to know
whether they,
and not their captors, are the benefactors of improved relations; whether
they will have to
face their oppressors single handedly, or receive moral support from
freedom-loving nations
around the globe, who will not let them down in such momentous hours of need?
will not forget, in the darkest hours of their entire history, who
acknowledged their plight
and acted upon it, and who ignored it.

In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that,
parallel to my political
activities and duties in support of my countrymen's efforts both at home and
abroad, I have
created a non-political, cultural and research foundation called "The Mihan
(or homeland)
Foundation", which aims to provide the world with an appropriate and true
image of my
country and its people. If anything, Iranians have suffered greatly from an
unjust and
stereotypical characterization wherein they are often equated with the vile
actions of their

This foundation also aims at promoting and portraying the values of a Civil
Society. And,
ultimately, it aims at providing a forum for dialogue and communications
between Iranians
at home and abroad, as well as the international community. This, in my
opinion, is an
appropriate process that can greatly strengthen the hands of my fellow
countrymen; to the
point that if equipped with such means of access, exposure and contact, I
really believe that
politics will take care of itself.

Iranians need not be told what to do, especially these days when they have
learned so
much in such little time; I have always believed that they only need the
political opportunity
to pursue and fulfill their goals and aspirations.

And, speaking of aspirations, I would like to stress the fact that my
comments tonight are
not motivated by any personal ambitions to reclaim the throne. My only goal
is to fulfill a
patriotic obligation and national duty, and to contribute to the noble
crusade my fellow
countrymen have been waging against the forces of injustice and tyranny.

One day soon, Iranians, without the pre-conditions of having to choose from a
or filtered short list prepared by the Council of Guardians, and free from
the dogmatic
requirements and limits imposed by the current Constitution, will go to the
election booths,
and by casting their untainted and un-coerced votes, will finally have a
chance to determine
and decide their country's future. Once popular sovereignty and national
is restored, this sole mission in my life would come to its fruition.

The task is difficult. We all know that freedom does not come gratuitously:
It has to be
exacted. And it is only in its absence that a nation appreciates its true
meaning, and
therefore gains the most incentive in pursuing it.

I have confidence that, with a dose of new hope, Iranians will soon gain
their freedom; and
my hope is for all of us to be able to celebrate this moment, and finally be
able to call
ourselves a new democracy. After all, Iran is the cradle and birthplace of
the first declaration
of human rights. This is why I, together with so many of my compatriots, will
consent to the decay of our motherland, and will always proudly call
ourselves Iranians.

Thank you very much for your kind attention

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 20:19:56 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>


D a s t a a n E n s e m b l e
A tribute to Rumi & Hafiz

Hamid Motebassem: Tar & Sitar
Arshad Tahmasebi: Tar
Mohsen Karamati: Vocal
Hossein Behroozinia: Barbat
Pejman Hadadi: Tonbak & Daf

Sun Feb 20 @ 8:00 pm
Centenial Theatre
2300 Lonsdale, N. Vancouver
$27:00 Info: 604-990-7272

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 20:27:49 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Israelis Accused in Iran Arms Sale

Israelis Accused in Iran Arms Sale
By Laurie Copans
PETAH TIKVA, Israel — The lawyer for two Israelis suspected of selling
military equipment to Iran on Wednesday accused police of making the arrests
only to please the U.S. government.
Eli Cohen, 50, and Avishai Weinstein, 32, were arrested Tuesday following more
than a year of international investigations. Israeli police say that with
Weinstein's help, Cohen sold the equipment in 1996 through a South Korean arms
dealer to Iran, a country that has called for Israel's destruction.

"At the end of the chain was Iran, and Cohen knew it," prosecutor Avital Amid
said at a hearing Wednesday where Cohen's detention was extended for eight
and Weinstein's for five days.

Defense lawyer Haim Misgav accused police of making the arrests under pressure
from the U.S. government, which is trying to curtail Iran's efforts to arm

"It seems that Israel is trying to do a great deal to please the American
administration," Misgav told reporters.

Misgav said his clients were only involved in the sale of 40 armored personnel
carriers, converted for civilian use, from Dutch and Belgian companies to a
British firm. The surplus equipment was then sold to a firm in Singapore, he

"Eli Cohen didn't knowingly sell or deal with equipment with the knowledge
it would reach Iran," Misgav said.

Cohen told reporters that he only "oversaw a deal between two European
countries" but he didn't buy or sell anything.

The lawyer said Cohen was arrested in 1992 in the United States in a similar
case, but that prosecutors could only prove he evaded tax authorities. He
served six months house arrest.

Israeli police accused Cohen in 1997 of selling equipment to Iran, and he was
sentenced to a suspended prison term of three months.

Cohen is a known Israeli dealer in military equipment who often buys materials
from the Israeli army, Misgav said.

The European companies involved in the deal are well-known and respected and
did not commit any crime, Misgav said. No other people have been arrested in
connection to the case, he added.

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 20:28:14 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>


By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor

TEHRAN 30TH Jan. (IPS) Iranian reformist press and press organisations, backed
by the Guidance and Culture Minister, reacted sharply to the latest
of a prominent orthodox cleric who had accused independent publications and
newsmen to have received large amount of money from the American Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In a letter to both the Information Minister and the Prosecutor of the Islamic
Revolution Tribunal, the Islamic Guidance Minister Mr. Ata'ollah Mohajerani
urged them to make it clear if ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi was right
in stating that the former CIA Director was in Iran distributing money among
Iranian reformist press or not?

According to the cleric, a former CIA Director came to Iran disguised as
tourist with a suite case full of dollars, met with a certain number of
publishers and directors of reformist publications giving them money.

The ayatollah, known for his provocative declarations, did not identified the
CIA Director or the journalists who received the bounty, nor did he explained
when and how he entered the country and how the man was able to pass the
airport's security controls transporting a large amount of money without being
detected by custom officials and arrested by security services.

"It is necessary to verify the correctness of His Excellency's allegations. In
case he is right, the names of the newsmen and publications who had received
money from the CIA must be declared for the knowledge of both the public and
competent administrations in order to bring them to justice and if he is
it is of vital importance that his declarations be officially and publicly
denied in order to save the honour and credibility of the press", Mr.
Mohajerani observed in his letter, stopping short of calling for his trial.

"Above the 20 millions Dollars the CIA has officially allocated to destabilise
the Islamic Republic, the agency is distributing hundreds of millions of
dollars among liberal cultural centres and journalists", the eminent
fundamentalist cleric had stated, speaking at a gathering of conservative
theologians in the city of Qom, 150 kilometres south of Tehran.

Protesting to the declarations of Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi, the Association for the
Defence of the Press warned about "plots" by the conservatives aimed at
discrediting the Iranian free press, observing that the cleric's
declarations are made on the eve of crucial parliamentary elections the
"monopolists are certain to lose".

This view is shared by many Iranian observers who told Iran Press Service that
far from being "benign chat with naïve theologians", Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi's
are part of a "larger scheme" by the conservatives to mount ordinary people
against the reformists, create violence and hopefully stop the electoral

"What is disturbing is that not only Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi is considered as one of
the most prominent of the fundamentalists ideologues known for his staunch
opposition to President Khatami's intended reforms, he is also firmly
by the ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic regime", one

In a statement made some months ago, Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi had ruled that ordinary
believers could and has the duty of killing immediately and anywhere whoever
dare insult Islam or even question the basic principles of this religion
without trial or courts.

His remarks drew sharp criticism from reformist newspapers and theologians who
accused him of inviting the population to anarchy and civil disobedience.

But far from being rebuked, the embattled leader confirmed this otherwise
provocative declaration, describing ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi of one of the
Shi'as most eminent personalities.

The public praise expressed by Mr. Khameneh'i for ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi was
denounced by supporters of President Mohammad Khatami as the leader's open
invitation for anarchy and disdain of law and order.

Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi's new blunder is regarded by analysts as new blow to both the
conservatives and the position of the leader himself.

"Already badly jolted, his position weakened, his credit harmed, his
personality diminished, Mr. Khameneh'i can no longer remain silent. He has
either to reconfirm his support for ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and in this case he
will be regarded as the mastermind of anti-reformists plotting against the
popular President or rebuke him, in this case cutting himself from the
conservatives who makes his power-base", one analyst explained.

In a regime where, unlike any other in the world, the public media has
officially not the right to air the views of the political parties during the
electoral campaigning, newspapers plays an important role and taking into
account the popularity and large circulation of the reformist publications,
conservatives do their best to present this independent press as being
manipulated by both the "US great Satan and the Zionists", according to
observers and political analysts.

"The CIA is also inviting Iranian journalists to the United States in order to
be brain-washed and this at a time that some officials welcome such
invitations", ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi asserted in an obvious reference to the
Guidance Minister Ata'ollah Mohajerani whom he loathes.

In similar accusations, General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, the Commander of the
Revolutionary Guard had recently alleged that "American and Zionist spies had
infiltrated the highest spheres of decision making and cultural centres".

Calling on the revolutionary guards to counter American cultural offensive
against Islam and the Islamic Republic by organising demonstrations and
collecting petitions, Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi said defending the vital question of
velayat faqih was a prime duty of the Iranians, both revolutionary guards and

Supporting Mr. Mohajerani, journalists and publishers expressed Sunday the
to see the competent authorities, including the Intelligence Ministry, the
Islamic Revolution Tribunal, the Clergymen's Special Tribunal and the
to respond positively by calling Mr. Mesbah-Yazdi's shots.

"The deafening silence of the conservatives is itself a denial (of Mr.
Mesbah-Yazdi)", Mr. Mohammad Reza Zohdi, publisher of "Arya" daily observed.

Expressing his "astonishment" at such "big lies" being ushered by a senior
cleric who is supposed to never lie, Mr. Zohdi said the authorities must do
their best to shed light on ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi's allegations "in order
in the future no one, regardless of his rank or position, could utter such
grave accusations against the independent press". ENDS MESBAH-YAZDI REACTION

Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 01:39:03 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Signature drive to support students

(please visit for more information and
how to sign this letter to support imprisoned Iranian student activists)

To: The Honorable Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, New
York Fax: (212)963-4879

To: Honorable Mary Robinson, The United Nations High Commissioner on Human
Rights, Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: 01141-22-9170123

The Honorables Kofi Annan and Mary Robinson:

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judicial authorities have announced that Mr.
Ahmad Batebi and Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, two of the many students arrested last
July during the protest against violent invasion of their dormitories, have
been secretly tried and sentenced, respectively, to ten years in prison and
death. It is revealing to compare the speed of these trials with the fact
that the vigilantes who stormed the student residences in the middle of the
night, like the 1998 murderers of four writers and two pro democracy
leaders, Parvaneh and Dariush Foruhar, are yet to be named or charged.

At a time when the United Nations is devoting considerable resources to
implement President Mohammad Khatami’s “Dialogue Among Civilizations”
proposal, it is imperative that you call upon the Iranian government to free
the accused students or put them on trial in an open court, provided that
they can choose their own lawyers and international observers are present
during the entire proceedings.

It is indeed ironic that Iran’s ruling theocrats want to engage the
international community in a conversation about the importance of cultural
diversity in the world, but they terrorize their own country’s dissident
thinkers, artists and democratic activists. In view of the massive empirical
evidence produced by the United Nations Special rapporteurs, Human Rights
Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation of Human
Rights (FIDH) showing gross human rights violations in the Islamic Republic
of Iran, we strongly believe that the continuation of the U. N. sponsored
conference on “Dialogue Among Civilizations” must be made contingent upon
Iran’s respect for the fundamental rights of its people.

Your excellencies, the lives of two innocent human beings are on the line.
Your intervention is urgently needed.

cc: The Honorable Vaclav Havel, President of Czech Republic, Fax:
Archbishop Desmond Tuto, South Africa, Fax: 011-27-21-4245-225
Maurice Capithorne, United Nations Special Rapporteur, Fax: 4122-917-0123
Ms. Karen Kennerly, Pen American Center, New York, Fax: (212)334-2181

Mr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International, U.S. Fax:

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, (212)334-2181

Amnesty International Office, London, Fax: 011-44-171-956-1157

International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), France, Fax:331-463-12160

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 1 Feb 2000 to 3 Feb 2000