Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 7 Feb 2000

There are 5 messages totalling 351 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. In an Outcast's Story, Defiance of Iran's Mullahs
2. U.S. Wins Wrestling World Cup Crown
3. LECTURE: The recent political developments in Iran and the opposition
4. Temsah-e Yazdi!

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 20:39:33 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: In an Outcast's Story, Defiance of Iran's Mullahs

EHRAN, Iran -- But for his battered brown brogues, Hossain Khorram might
never have told his story. But there was something in the overstretched,
heavily scuffed leather of his shoes, and the back seams held together
with string, that suggested that the heavyset Mr. Khorram, quietly
sipping tea in an artists' workshop in old Tehran, was harshly down on
his luck.

An inquiry about the shoes opened the way to a riches-to-rags tale. Mr.
Khorram, who is 53, said they were a hand-lasted pair that he had bought
for $500 more than 20 years ago and wore still because his monthly
income as a freelance evaluator of paintings, ancient scripts and other
antiquities rarely exceeded $300, and in many months amounted to

He could barely afford food for his family, he said, much less new

Beyond that, he said, the brogues were "the only thing left" from his
days of wealth, before the Islamic revolution cast power to the mullahs,
or Muslim clerics, who remain Iran's rulers today. In the blood bath
that followed the overthrow of Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi in 1979, Mr.
Khorram's father, Rahim Ali Khorram, an immensely rich contractor who
built roads and airports for the government, and sometimes used his
2,000-man work force as a political shock force in support of the shah,
was executed by firing squad.

As the evening lengthened, Hossain Khorram's reminiscences became, in a
way, a parable of modern Iran. The story he told in the workshop, and
over supper later in his cramped three-room apartment in a working-class
district of south Tehran that is owned by a friend, was one of
Shakespearean proportions, of how Iran's once-powerful fell from grace,
and the once-powerless rose to supplant them. But it seemed, just as
much, a warning for the mullahs, who face a popular challenge now that
in many ways is as serious as the one that toppled the shah.

On Feb. 18, and in a second round of voting in March, the clerical
establishment will face its sternest challenge yet when the country's 30
million voters go to the polls in a parliamentary election. If the
reformers, led by a new generation of liberal-minded Muslim clerics, can
overcome the disqualification of hundreds of reform candidates and break
the hard-liners' stranglehold on the 290-seat legislature, they could
begin moving Iran toward greater democracy and respect for human rights.

Many Iranians, including Mr. Khorram, think that could be the beginning
of the end for clerical rule. "The mullahs promised the poor the world
-- free electricity, free transportation, a dividend for every family
from the country's oil wealth -- and what did they get?" he asked.

In fact, worse than nothing.

There are millions who have no jobs, and those who do have to take two
or three jobs to survive. Is it any wonder people say the mullahs are

That Mr. Khorram dared to speak up, and allow a Western reporter to
quote him, is a measure of how Iran is changing. Not long ago, anybody
with his troubles would have been well advised to stay silent. For more
than 20 years, as one of Iran's new dispossessed, he has been stripped
of his civil rights, rebuffed by a bureaucracy entrusted with restoring
the assets of members of the old ruling class, barred from traveling
outside Iran and repeatedly spurned in his attempts to get a full-time

But the winds of change are blowing through Iran, and the clergy are
bending with them. While the courts continue to imprison dissident
clerics, editors and other activists in an attempt to blunt the popular
clamor, many Iranians are speaking up, in ways harshly uncomplimentary
to the mullahs. Increasingly, too, there is defiance of the social and
moral rigidities imposed by the clerical leadership.

Middle-class women think little of attending dinners in figure-hugging
dresses and fashionably streaked hair, covering themselves with cloaks
and head scarves only in public. Love affairs outside marriage, in
theory punishable by death, are increasingly common in Tehran's wealthy
suburbs. Alcohol is widely available. One theory is that the mullahs
have come to care less about how Iranians behave privately as they are
forced to care more about holding on to power.

In taking advantage of the new mood, Mr. Khorram is hardly impartial. In
1979, the mullahs, declaring his father "an enemy of God on earth" and
guilty of widespread corruption in his business dealings with the shah,
seized everything his family owned. That included the construction
company, a Tehran amusement park, several mansions, dozens of bank
accounts and a collection of priceless Persian carpets, old European
furniture, paintings and sculptures.

His father's execution was crueler by far. Mr. Khorram, quoting prison
guards, said Rahim Khorram, 56, suffered a fatal heart attack when he
was taken before the two mullahs acting as his judges to hear his
sentence after a five-minute trial. The mullahs -- Muhammad Geelani and
Sadegh Khalkhali, later dismissed for excessive harshness by Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini -- ordered guards to take him to the execution ground
nevertheless. "The mullahs said, 'It doesn't matter, the sentence must
be carried out anyway,' " Mr. Khorram recalled. "So they dragged him out
and fired three shots into his chest."

Weeks later, the younger Mr. Khorram, in the first of several periods in
prison, was himself led, blindfolded, before a firing squad. But the
fusillade turned out to be blanks, the "execution" an amusement for the

Two decades later, tears well up in his eyes when he recalls what he saw
as he walked back to the cell. "There were four other men who were taken
out there with me, and they weren't so lucky," he said. "Their blood was
flowing across the cobblestones. There are some things no man should
ever see."

Still, Mr. Khorram said, Iranians had reasons to be disenchanted with
the shah, considering how the old ruling class lived. For 16 years,
until he was 26 and returned to Iran to help run his father's
businesses, Mr. Khorram was educated at Swiss boarding schools, and at a
university in Zurich, where he earned an engineering degree. He toured
Europe in Jaguars, Maseratis and Lamborghinis with his brothers, Gholam
Reza, now 46, and Ali, 42, spending part of a monthly allowance of about
$25,000 gambling in the Monte Carlo casino. Both brothers now live
virtually penniless in Tehran.

"I was a rich man's boy, without any worries," Mr. Khorram said. "But in
the shah's time there were many who couldn't eat. Iranians stopped
loving him because he lost contact with them.

In the end, he cared so little for the people who supported him, like my
father and General Nassiri" -- Nematollah Nassiri, the shah's childhood
friend who headed the secret police -- "that he left without ordering
them released from prison, where he'd sent them to appease the people
protesting in the streets."

Mostly, Mr. Khorram speaks without self-pity, but his voice falters when
he talks of finding a way out of penury that offers his wife, Mekhri,
38, herself the daughter of a once well-connected family, and their
daughter, Jayran, 13, and son, Salar, 3, a better future.

"They have taken away from me the smallest thing a man can hope for, the
chance to build a future for my children," he said, as his daughter sat
sad-eyed beside him on the arm of a sofa, her arm around her father's

As for the mullahs, Mr. Khorram believes that whatever happens in the
parliamentary election, their days in power were numbered from early on
in the revolution, when they, like the shah, lost their connection to
the people. "For years, people have been comparing their lives under the
mullahs to life under the shah and saying, 'The dictatorship of the
boots was better than the dictatorship of the slippers,' " he said.
"It's too late for me, but perhaps for my children's generation, who
will have learned not to mix politics and religion, there can be a
renaissance for Iran."

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 20:40:24 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: U.S. Wins Wrestling World Cup Crown

By Athelia Knight Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, February 7, 2000;
Page D03

Cary Kolat, Lincoln McIlravy, Joe Williams and Kerry McCoy won gold
medals last night to lead the United States to the FILA Freestyle
Wrestling World Cup 2000 championship before 3,512 at Patriot Center.

The Americans beat Russia in their final dual match to finish 4-0 in the
five-team tournament for the team gold medal. Iran (3-1) won the silver
medal, and Russia (2-2) took the bronze. Cuba (1-3) placed fourth and
winless Ukraine was fifth.

The four U.S. gold medalists were unbeaten in their weight class. For
Kolat and McIlravy, the World Cup titles were their third straight.

Last night, Kolat dominated Zelimkhan Akhmadov of Russia, 10-0, to
capture the gold medal in the 138.75 pound class. McIlravy beat Zaour
Kazbekov of Russia, 11-1, to win the gold medal at 152 pounds.

U.S. Coach Greg Strobel credited McIlravy, whose 4-3 comeback victory
over Yosmany Sanchez helped the Americans beat Cuba 19-10 earlier in the
day, with igniting his teammates.

"I really think one of the keys was [McIlravy] not stopping when he was
down," Strobel said. "He kept up the pressure and kept scoring. And that
sparks the whole team. It just proves it's not over until it's over."

Sanchez was up 3-0 with about a minute left in the match when McIlravy
came back to score two quick one-point takedowns. With nine seconds to
go, McIlravy was down 3-2 when he scored a two-point takedown. McIlravy,
a three-time NCAA champion, said he wasn't worried when he was behind in
the match.

"Going through college at the University of Iowa, we train for
adversity," McIlravy said. "We train for this type of situation. . . .
So I know when my body is tired and hurting, I know he's going to be
really hurting."

Also striking gold for the United States were Williams (167.5 pounds),
who won his first World Cup title by defeating Chamil Aliev of Russia on
a referee's decision after the two were tied at 2 after overtime, and
McCoy (286 pounds), who beat Oleg Khorpiahov, 4-0, to claim his second
straight World Cup title.

"I think the way our guys competed was a great thing," Strobel said.
"They fought every match."

Three U.S. wrestlers--Eric Akin (119), Eric Guerrero (127.75), and Les
Gutches (187.25)--won silver medals.

For Gutches, the 1997 world champion, the silver might feel slightly
tarnished because it involved his third straight World Cup loss to
Cuba's Yoel Romero, who won their match, 3-1, and went on to take the

Gutches has one victory in four matches with Romero, last July at the
Pan American Games.

"It was a match that was long awaited for both of us," said Romero, 22,
who blew kisses to the crowd and pumped out his chest in a brief victory
celebration. "It is both of our ambitions to win the gold medal at the

The loss only intensified such ambitions in Gutches.

"It's a big match, no doubt," he said. "But, in some ways, it's all
practice until the Olympics. If I beat Romero in the Olympic finals, no
one will remember this. Don't get me wrong: I hate to lose. Today, he
took it to me. Obviously, he came to wrestle and wanted it more."

Strobel said last night that Gutches had been hindered in the
competition because he had been unable to train for several weeks
because he underwent shoulder surgery in November. He said Gutches
returned to practice in January.

Against Cuba, five of the eight Americans won their matches--Guerrero,
Kolat, McIlravy, Williams and McCoy. McCoy won by forfeit because his
opponent, Alexis Rodriguez, injured his ankle and did not wrestle.

Kolat, Williams and Guerrero did not allow the Cubans to score any
points in their matches.

In other dual matches, Iran upset Russia, 17-15, and beat Ukraine, 22-9.

Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 20:45:37 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: LECTURE: The recent political developments in Iran and the opposition

Payvand's Iran News ...

LECTURE: The recent political developments in Iran and the opposition

Iranian Studies Group at UC Berkeley presents:

"The recent political developments in Iran and the opposition abroad" A
lecture by Dr. Saeed Rahnema of the Department of Political Science,
York University, Canada. Saeed Rahnema's publications includes, The
Rebirth of Social Democracy in Iran? (Baran Publisher, 1996), Interviews
with members of Iranian opposition abroad.

Date: Saturday February 12, 2000

Time: 7:00 PM

Place: Room 240, Life Science Building University of California,

Lecture in Persian

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 20:46:57 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Temsah-e Yazdi!
(see the cartoon
A cartoon in the January 30, 2000 edition of the reformist Iranian
newspaper Azad depicts hard-line Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi
Mesbah Yazdi as a crodocdile, a symbol of treachery and deception.
Iranian clerics demanded Friday, Feb. 4, 2000, that the culture minister
be executed and lashed out at President Mohammad Khatami's policies in a
scathing response to the cartoon. The clerics said the caricature was
encouraged by Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani and the Khatami
administration's relaxed stance toward the media.(AP Photo/Hasan

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 20:42:44 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>

18th at 22.00 CET (repeated 19th February at 15.00, 20th February at
20.00, 4th March at 15.00 and 5th March at 20.00 CET)

Revolutionary Journey, part of CNN's Perspectives series, traces
Christiane Amanpour's return to Iran twenty years after the overthrow of
the Shah. The hour-long documentary trails Amanpour as she takes a fresh
look at the country she was forced to flee so long ago. The world she
knew then no longer exists; the life of privilege, of Western freedoms
and cultural sophistication, is as dead as the villa she lived in as a
child. Overrun with weeds, crumbling and marred by graffiti, Amanpour's
childhood home is a metaphor for the destruction of the society that the
Ayatollah Khomeini crushed out.

Something astonishing is happening in Iran: the country that has lived
under the harsh repression of a fundamentalist regime for the past two
decades is, finally, rebelling. Nothing less than a new revolution is
being born, and its creators are young people, kids, students, boys and
girls, rebelling in a way that no one in Iran has dared to do since the
Ayatollah first seized power from the Shah. These young people have
passion, along with the power of numbers; an astonishing 65% of the
population of Iran is now under 25. They are Iran's own baby boom
generation; they never knew the pre-revolutionary era of the Shah, and
even the Ayatollah is a dim memory for them.

The world now knows they are not afraid to go public with their beliefs
- last Spring, thousands of young people took to the streets, rioting
for reforms, angrily demanding the changes they believed would be theirs
when they helped to elect the moderate President Khatami.

But what the world does not know - what even the powers that be in Iran
cannot fathom - is that the rebellion goes much deeper than mere
political demands. In this hidden world, young people live their lives
with a degree of freedom unimaginable in the Iran of Western perception.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 7 Feb 2000