Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 7 Feb 2000 to 8 Feb 2000

There are 12 messages totalling 783 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. FWD: URGENT: RIGHT OF RETURN
2. Privatization, It's About Time
3. Iran Makes Clear Its Stance on Relations With U.S., Israel
4. Rezaie: MKO Mortar Shelling Lacks any Military Significance
5. Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Summoned to Foreign Ministry
6. COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT
7. Unprecedented Coalition!
8. Iran Commander Threatens Retaliation Against Iraq for Opposition Attacks
9. Iran Will Consider Request to Join PGCC
10. Adapting the Vision to the Reality
11. Iran Rank 2nd in Wrestling World Cup
12. Mohajerani Absent at MAJ Session

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 12:17:07 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: FWD: URGENT: RIGHT OF RETURN

For immediate release
5 February 2000

In just one week, thousands of Palestinians and their supporters from all
over the globe have signed the online petition at
http://rightofreturn.org/be-active/petition/ sponsored by The Council for
Palestinian Restitution and Repatriation (CPRR) whose website is at
http://rightofreturn.org.

The petition affirms that "every Palestinian has a legitimate, individual
right to absolute restitution of all of his or her property and the right
to return to his or her original home."

If you have not done so, please take a moment to add your signature to the
petition. We need all Palestinians and their supporters to sign and we are
seeking your help in achieving this goal.

A paper version of the petition is available at
http://rightofreturn.org/tell-others/materials/petition.html. We kindly ask
you to print, collect signatures, and return completed forms to CPRR, P. O.
Box 21520, Washington D.C. 20009, USA.

Organizations and/or their chapters wishing to affiliate with this campaign
may do so directly at
http://rightofreturn.org/tell-others/affiliateregister/. Implied is support
for CPRR's mission statement and the text of the petition.

Should you or your organization have a website, we ask that you make a link
the petition in order to further publicize the petition.

Please help this campaign by encouraging as many people as you can to sign
the petition. The world needs to know that Palestinians are determined to
preserve their legitimate rights and that their friends stand by them.

For more information visit http://rightofreturn.org or write to CPRR, P.O.
Box 21520, Washington D.C. 20009, USA, fax (1) (775) 418-5980, e-mail:
info@rightofreturn.org.

CPRR is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to providing
legal aid to Palestinians and their heirs to achieve their legitimate
rights. CPRR's Advisory Board members include Haidar Abdul Shafi, Ibrahim
Abu Lughod, Salman Abu Sittah, Basel Aql, Naseer Aruri, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam
Chomsky, Burhan Dajani, Abulhuda Farouki, Norman Finkelstein, Shafiq
al-Hout, Said Khoury, Fouad Moughrabi, and Hasib Sabbagh.

Organizations and/or their chapters that have so far affiliated with CPRR
include:

* Alternative Information Center * American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee - Central Pennsylvania Chapter * American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee- Massachusetts Chapter * American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee - New Orleans Chapter * American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee - North Carolina Chapter * Amnesty
International at Manchester College * Arab American Institute * Arab
Women's Solidarity Association (USA) * Canadian Palestinian Foundation
(CPF) * Carolina Middle East Association * Carolina Palestinian Club * Deir
Yassin Remembered * Dutch Palestine Committee * Flemish Palestine Committee
* Friends For Palestine, Memphis, TN * Hanthala Palestine * International
Action Center * Ittijah - Union of Arab Community-Based Associations *
Michigan Committee on Jerusalem * Palestine Solidarity Association (Sweden)
* The Palestinian American Women's Association Of Southern California *
Rotterdam Palestine Committee * Union of Palestinian American Women *
Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * Center for
Economic and Social Rights (CESR) * International Progress Organization
(Austria) * LAW - the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human
Rights and the Environment * MIFTAH - the Palestinian Initiative for the
Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy * Palestinian Association for
Human Rights (Lebanon) * Panorama, Center for the dissemination of
Democracy and Community Development * The East Jerusalem YMCA
Rehabilitation Program * General Union Of Disabled Palestinians * National
Council On Canada Arab Relations * Society of Ina'sh El-Usra * Najdeh
Association (Lebanon) * Palestinian Centre for Peace and Democracy * Women
Refugee Education Network (Australia) * World Vision - Palestine * Abnaa
elBalad Movement (Sons of the Country) * Arab American Attorneys'
Association * Arab American University Graduates (AAUG) * Association of
Arab American Employees * National Lawyers Guild (USA) * Lutherans for
Reformation Truth and Justice (Canada) * Nazareth Orthodox Congregation *
Quaker Palestinian Youth Program * Environmental Strategic Research Council
(Uruguay) * Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) *
Middle East Research Associates * Palestinian Return Centre * Panorama,
Center for the dissemination of Democracy and Community Development *
PASSIA - Palestinian Acacdemic Society for the Study of International
Affairs * Shaml - the Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Research Centre *
Trans-Arab Research Institute, Inc. * Arab American Anti-Discrimination
Committee - University of Michigan Chapter * American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
* Arab Student Cultural Organization (USA) * Arab Student Organization at
Michigan State University * Arab Students United at New York University *
Arab Student Union at Berkeley * Arab Student Union at the University of
Michigan - Dearborn * Columbia University's North African & Middle Eastern
Club * General Union of Palestinian Students - Michigan State University *
The Palestine Committee at the University of Michigan * Palestine
Solidarity Committee at the University of Texas at Austin * Union of Arab
Student Associations.

This action-alert is signed by:

Sawsan Abdulrahim
Zahi Damuni
Arjan El Fassed
Hanan Elmasu
Maysam Faruqi
Adam Hanieh
Nancy Mahmoud
Mary Nazzal
Nigel Parry
Mazin Qumsieh

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:31:42 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Privatization, It's About Time

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 08, 2000

Privatization, It's About Time

Last week, in an interview with IRAN NEWS, the Secretary General of Tehran
Stock Exchange (TSE), Ahmad Mir Motahari stated that the Ministry of
Industries is the only ministry that has so far lived up to the provisions of
Note 35. This provision mandates ministries to sell their affiliated
companies to the private sector. Motahari said the Minister of Industries,
Mr. Qolamreza Shafeii had stated the previous day that 150 billion Tomans
worth of the shares of the Ministry's affiliated companies had been sold to
the private sector.

The question is why only a single ministry has embarked on transferring the
management and the shares of its affiliated companies to the private sector,
while privatization is at the top of the government's economic agenda? What
about the other ministries, which are also engaged in industrial and economic
activities? Furthermore, there are still numerous other government-run
commercial entities operating under various government foundations and
organs. Are these entities exempt from complying with the aforementioned
urgent government requirement? Another pressing question is what kind of
organization or organ is charged with the task of looking into the
satisfactory compliance of ministries and organizations with the
above-mentioned economic priority? Fortunately, the allocation of hard
currency resulting from the Export Proceeds Payment Certificates, as well as
the government policy of relinquishing its obligation to provide for current
expenditures of its uneconomic entities, will make privatization an
attractive proposition.

However, these companies must move in that direction voluntarily otherwise
the future of privatization will be bleak!

According to the Secretary-General of TSE, the volume of trade in shares
exhibits a promising 73% growth in the first 10 months of the current year.
Nevertheless, in view of the existing potentials and capabilities for
privatization in the country's economy, this growth is almost negligable.

Should other ministries, such as Power, Commerce, Jihad Sazandegi, Metals and
Mines, Transportation, etc., take a leaf out of the Ministry of Industries'
book, we shall surely witness a drastic change in our present economic
conditions.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:33:36 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Makes Clear Its Stance on Relations With U.S., Israel

Iran Makes Clear Its Stance on Relations With U.S., Israel

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Tehran would like to improve relations with Washington, Iranian
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in a recent interview with a Newsweek
correspondent.

There is no reason we should not normalize relations with the Americans
provided they pave the way for this, Kharrazi declared. Each year the
American president issues an executive order vis-a-vis Iran. It is still in
place, prohibiting trade and business, he said.

"We believe Iranian goods should be allowed to enter the American markets."
As concerns Israel, Tehran never recognized and does not recognize Israel at
all, even if Israel and Syria arrive at a peace agreement.

"We do not think Israel is a legitimate government," the minister stressed.
Israel has occupied the territories of people in that region and it should be
recognized as an occupying entity. He said Iran does not intend to deny
support of the Hizbollah as "we consider them as liberating forces, not
terrorists." "Our support for Hizbollah is humanitarian only," the minister
said.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:34:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Rezaie: MKO Mortar Shelling Lacks any Military Significance

Rezaie: MKO Mortar Shelling Lacks any Military Significance

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Former commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps
(IRGC), Mohsen Rezaie, said here Sunday that the mortar attacks carried out
by elements of the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) in Tehran
on Saturday lacked any military or operational significance.

According to Rezaie, two MKO elements had threatened construction workers at
a nearby site and after fastening their hands and legs installed a
60mm-mortar launcher in an under-construction house and fired seven mortar
shells.

He added that although three shells hit the compound of the Expediency
Council complex but no damage was inflicted on governmental offices or
properties.

Most of the shells hit nearby streets and private properties and inflicted
damage on them, he said, adding that the victims were passersby and ordinary
people, IRNA reported.

According to the former commander-in-chief, the main aim of the MKO was to
launch a psychological warfare on the threshold of the sixth Majlis elections
(February 18).

In the MKO shelling of south Vali-e Asr avenue on Saturday evening a
publishing-house worker was killed and several passersby were injured.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:37:03 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Summoned to Foreign Ministry

Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Summoned to Foreign Ministry

* French Foreign Ministry Condemns MKO's Recent Terrorist Attack

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Iraqi Charge d'Affaires to Tehran Abd as-Sattar al-Rawi was
summoned to the Foreign Ministry yesterday to be informed of Iran's strong
protest at recent terrorist attack in Tehran of the terrorist Mojahedin-e
Khalq Organization (MKO).

The protest by Iran was lodged following Saturday explosions in the capital
city of Tehran, for which the Iraqi-based MKO has claimed responsibility.

According to the Information and Press Department of the Foreign Ministry,
Iran's note of protest against the Iraqi government was also handed over to
Al-Rawi.

The note held the Iraqi government responsible for blatant violation of
international laws and regulations and the U.N. Charter, by permitting
members of the MKO to perpetrate sabotage and terrorist acts against the
Islamic Republic of Iran from its soil.

It stressed that Iran reserves the right to thwart any threats. Al-Rawi
promised to inform his government immediately of Iran's strong protest and to
follow up the issue seriously. Meanwhile, according to another IRNA report
from Paris, French Foreign Ministry in a statement issued yesterday,
condemned recent terrorist act of the MKO in Tehran.

France condemns terrorism in any form and with whatever motives, said the
statement, voicing regret over the "cowardly" terrorist attack in Tehran and
expressing sympathy with families of the victims.

A senior official at the French Foreign Ministry had declared prior to the
visit of President Seyed Mohammad Khatami to France that he knew the
terrorist nature of the MKO.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:38:27 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT

Deputy secretary-general of the Executives of Construction Party (ECP),
Hussein Marashi, said yesterday that his party is to announce 230 candidates
for the Sixth Parliamentary Elections.

Marashi told reporters that 26 out of the total candidates are from Tehran
constituency.

He said 145 of the ECP-proposed candidates would be in full coalition with
the May 23 Front, some in coalition with some other groups and a number are
independent.

Some 15 out of a total of 26 candidates enlisted by the ECP for Tehran
constituency are also nominated by Majma-e Rowhaniyoun-e Mobarez (MRM) and
about 14 are also on the list of the Islamic Iran Partnership Front (IIPF),
said Marashi, adding that three of the candidates enlisted by the Jame-e
Rowhaniyat-e Mobarez (JRM) are also on the ECP's list.

Mohsen Armin, member of the leftist Islamic Revolution Mojahedin
Organization, said Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is not different from Majlis
Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri in terms of their opposition regarding the
presidential reform movement. Adopting vague positions is the same as
opposition, Armin said.

Secretary-General of the Association of the Islamic Coalition Party
Habibollah Asgarowladi Mosalman said in a press conference Sunday that as far
as his party is concerned, the Majlis Elections must take place in a peaceful
environment and must be consistent with the Constitution.

He said destructive and defamatory rivalry is detrimental to the elections.

He added those who would be elected by voters would be acceptable to his
party even though they may not have been in his party's ticket.

Asgarowladi said as he sees it, the majority of the MP's in the next session
of the Majlis would be supporters of the Islamic Republic, of the great Imam
and of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and only with minor differences
in their practical outlooks.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:39:15 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Unprecedented Coalition!

Unprecedented Coalition!

HAMSHAHRI * This daily, associated with the Tehran Municipality, quoted
Behzad Nabavi, spokesman of May 23 Front election campaign headquarters, as
saying that the 18 groups comprising the Front have reached agreement on the
final list of 255 Majlis candidates from the provinces. The groups are likely
to reach a consensus on 20 candidates from the Tehran constituency as well.
In all, the Front would support 230 Majlis nominees, which is unprecedented
in the history of elections in Iran.

Azad to Resume Activity

HAMSHAHRI * The daily reported that Azad daily was to resume publication
Today.

Azad daily announced Saturday that it would stop publication for three days
to show its commitment and sensitivity to social values, following printing
of a caricature which was perceived to be insulting to a senior cleric.

Complaints Against Film Critiques!

SOBH-E EMROOZ * The request of Mohammad Yazdan-Panah, Azad's managing
director, for the release of the daily's caricaturist on bail was not
accepted by the Press Court Judge, Saeed Mortazavi. Yazdan-Panah said 53
complaints have been lodged against the daily by the `Headquarters of
Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil'. The complaints are against
everything published in the daily, including editorials, caricatures, film
critiques, and even literary articles, Yazdan-Panah said.

20-Year Exile

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Farideh Tehrani, daughter of Sheikh Ali Tehrani, said based
on the ruling of the Special Court for the Clergy, his father has been
sentenced to 20 years in jail and exile. He was transferred to the Evin
Prison twenty days ago and has been on a hunger strike ever since.

Is Emami Alive?

MOSHAREKAT * This daily, affiliated to Islamic Iran Partnership Party (IIPP),
quoted Habibollah Asgarowladi, secretary of the rightist Islamic Coalition
Association as saying that there is evidence that MKO is responsible for
recent explosions in Tehran, but regarding the Fadaeeyan-e Eslam-e Nab-e
Mohammadi (FENM), there is no evidence they were responsible for the
explosion. The news about FENM claiming responsibility is false, he said.

Saeed Emami, mastermind of last year's serial assassinations, was a leader of
the FENM and committed suicide in prison.

IIPP Does Not Promote Bahaism

MOSHAREKAT * Abbas Abdi, IIPP member, said Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi does not
know how to live in a nondiscriminatory conditions, and he cannot tolerate
different conditions. [Those who staged a rally in Qom] do not want to see
any opposition when they announce that Minister of Culture, Ataollah
Mohajerani, is an apostate, but they themselves create tension and crisis
only because of a caricature. He added the motto "Iran for All Iranians" is
an ideal of May 23 reform movement is not in line with Bahaism.

Mesbah-e Yazdi said recently that the said motto promotes Bahaism in Iran.

Victory in a Single-Participant Race

FATH * Akbar Ganji wrote in this pro-Khatami daily: "Rafsanjani claims he won
the presidential elections in 1989 with 97 percent of the votes, but the fact
is that there was no rival for him at that time. Only Abbas Sheibani was
allowed to run for the election so that the elections could seen to be a free
competition, but he later announced that he would vote for Rafsanjani and
urged the nation to do the same. Therefore, victory in such a competition was
not an honor for Rafsanjani and the elections was not a democratic one."

Smelling a Rat

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily quoted Ahmad Pournejati, managing
director of the rightist Arzesh-ha, questioning: "Why no objection was heard
when many newspapers whose survival depends on Islamic taxes they receive
undermined the image of Mohammad Khatami?" Referring to the recent rally
against a cartoon insulting a senior cleric, added that one may smell a rat
in these measures.

Five New Dailies

ABRAR * This rightist daily reported that five newspapers are to start
publication in two weeks: Mellat, under management of Hussein Haqqi, Ra'y,
with leftist inclinations; Ham-Mihan, whose managing director is former Mayor
Gholamhussein Karbaschi; Jam-e Jam, which will be published by IRIB, and
Tose'eh, with close ties to the May 23 Front.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:41:14 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Commander Threatens Retaliation Against Iraq for Opposition
Attacks

Iran Commander Threatens Retaliation Against Iraq for Opposition Attacks

TEHRAN (AFP) -- A top Iranian commander warned Baghdad yesterday that his
forces would retaliate for any further activity by the Iraq-based opposition,
whose leaders said they had already foiled one attempt by Tehran to avenge a
deadly attack here last weekend.

"If Iraq does not prevent the infiltration of the counter-revolutionaries on
to Iranian soil, Iran and its armed forces will riposte strongly," the head
of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Rahim Safavi, said in a statement
broadcast by state radio.

Safavi stressed he still hoped the Iranian government would succeed in
preventing further infiltration by the (terrorist) Mojahedin-e Khalq using
political means.

But he warned that his elite force had "the task and duty of defending Iran's
frontiers and ensuring security in the border zones." Safavi's statement
holding Baghdad responsible for any further Mojahedin terrorist attacks was
the most explicit warning against Iraq for several months and came amid calls
from the conservative press here for retaliation for Saturday's mortar attack
in the heart of Tehran.

"The government of the Islamic Republic must also take the Iraqi regime to
task," said the English-language Tehran Times.

Baghdad had been showing goodwill to Tehran recently, the paper said, "but at
the same time, it has been encouraging terrorists to attack Iranian
facilities. Iran must lodge an official protest against the Iraqi regime with
a real threat of retaliation."

Another daily, Resalat, said: "European countries, Iraq and Turkey must adopt
a clear stance on the question of the (terrorist) Mojahedin, for (these
states) are accused by Tehran of having a direct or indirect role in
terrorist activities in Iran".

Iran should remind its neighbors of Article 51 of the United Nations, which
authorizes the use of force against another country in a case of legitimate
defense, the paper said.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:41:50 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Will Consider Request to Join PGCC

Iran Will Consider Request to Join PGCC

* Tajzadeh-Zeller Meeting Routine

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi, said here yesterday
on the reported request made by Qatar for Iran to join the Persian Gulf
Cooperation Council (PGCC), that the offer has not yet been officially
submitted to Iran and will be duly considered when submitted, IRNA reported.

On the latest wave of terrorist acts committed by the terrorist Mojahedin-e
Khalq Organization (MKO) in Tehran, Asefi said that the mortar attacks had no
military significance and were purely wicked acts indicating the MKO's
absence of any criteria for its acts.

He said that most foreign mass media and countries are aware by now that not
only is the MKO devoid of any popular base in Iran but is also hated here,
but unfortunately, some foreign countries make available their publicity
organs to the terrorist organization and its members are interviewed by their
mass media.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman concluded by saying that the fight against
terrorism to be effective must be non-selective.

The MKO mortar shelling of south of Vali-e Asr Avenue on Saturday resulted in
the death of a publishing-house worker and injury to several passersby.

On a meeting which took place recently between Klaus Zeller, the German
ambassador to Iran and Mostafa Tajzadeh, he said that it took place at the
ambassador's request and was sanctioned by the functions of the Iranian
official as a deputy interior minister.

Addressing reporters, the spokesman added that such meetings in the Islamic
Republic of Iran are routine and common -- foreign ambassadors and diplomats
usually meet and confer with Iranian officials at different levels -- and the
meeting with Tajzadeh was no exception.

He stressed that although there are no requirements for such meetings, a
Foreign Ministry representative was present in this particular meeting.

The German ambassador just wanted to further familiarize himself with
developments taking place in the country of his mission and Tajzadeh
elaborated on efforts made by the Interior Ministry and other organizations
to this end, the spokesman said.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:48:52 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Adapting the Vision to the Reality

Adapting the Vision to the Reality

Excerpts From Cahiers du Cinema Interview With Abbas Kiarostami

"I Don't Believe in a Cinema That Only Presents Its Own Version of Reality. I
Prefer to Present Several Possible Versions, Offering the Viewers the Freedom
to Choose the One They Prefer"

In 1970, when Abbas Kiarostami directed his first short film, The Bread and
Alley, none could have foreseen that one day he would be the most celebrated
Iranian director in the world. And as he himself has pointed out, there
remains significant world prize he has not already won. The golden Lion at
the Venice Film Festival for The Wind Will Carry Us, was the latest world
trophy Kiarostami brought home.

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran in 1940. After graduation from Tehran
University's Art College, he began making short advertisement films.
simultaneously he designed credit sequences for a number of films by serious
artists of the late 40s, and then he began his collaboration with the
Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children an Young Adults as
illustrator of books for children and young people. His collaboration with
the institute finally led to the creation of his first short film, The Beard
and Alley. He then made two other films for young audiences: Break Time
(1972) and The Experience (1973), the latter a 60-minute picture. The
experiences of creating these short films, prepared Kiarostami for the next
bold step: directing his first feature film. The Traveler (1974) belongs to
the serious an drastically trend of filmmaking,and many of its features could
be traced to the director's former pictures. Between 1975 and 1977,
Kiarostami directed other short and feature films which reflected his
interest in educational topics.

While Kiarostami's first feature never went on the public screens, his second
feature, the Report, was released in 1978. His judicious selection of slices
of real life, and their faithful reconstruction in front of the camera,
earned Kiarostami the title of a realistic filmmaker. His meticulous
direction of the actors produced spell-binding scenes which at times appeared
documentary records of real life, a feature which gradually matured into a
distinctive stylistic as well as thematic element in Kiarostami's works of
the subsequent years.

In 1988 Kiarostami directed Where Is the Friend's Home?, a picture that could
be considered a significant break-through in the director's cinematic
progress.

Where Is the Friend's Home? is set in a rural area in the northern province
of Guilan, which later served as location for the director's subsequent two
pictures - And Life Goes on..., Under the Olive Trees - and has since become
one of the best-known regions in Iran for the foreign viewers. The message of
love and friendship exemplified by the efforts of the little boy in Where is
the Friend's Home? produced profound impressions on local as well as foreign
spectators.

The film was nominated for a number of prizes, including the Bronze Leopard
at Lcoarno international Film Festival in 1989.

In subsequent years Kiarostami created the documentary Homework (1988) and
the reconstructed documentary Close-up (1990).

Close-up was based on a real life incident, and although Kiarostami tried to
adopt a neutral approach, without presenting any social evaluations, the film
produced profound effects on viewers in many parts of the world. It was also
presented at numerous world film festivals and was awarded prestigious
prizes. In June 1990, after a terrible earthquake devastated parts of the
region which had served as location for Where Is the friend's Home?
Kiarostami traveled to the area to find out about the fates of the two boys
who had appeared in his film. The director's search in the areas and his
anxiety about the welfare of his two young actors provided the basis for the
film And Life Goes on ... Kiarostami returned to Kooker and Poshte, the two
villages where he shot his previous two films, a few years later to shoot the
third picture for his trilogy about the earthquake region. Under the Olive
Trees deals with the theme of love, depicting it through a film-within-film
format. The uncommon formal structure of the film appealed specially to the
foreign viewers, and gained for the film the greats number of prizes. The
Taste of Cherry, however, represents the pinnacle of Kiarostami's film
career. A man, of whose past we know nothing, has decided to commit suicide
and is looking for someone who will bury him. Finally he finds someone who
agrees to carry out the man's wish. But even this man begins to talk to the
potential suicide and is looking for someone who will bury him. Finally he
finds someone who agrees to carry out the man's wish. But even this man
begins to talk to the potential suicide about the joys of life and the taste
of cherries. The film aroused conflicting critical evaluations at home and
abroad. Nevertheless, its unique overall structure gained for it one of the
greatest film prizes in the world; it was the joint winner of the Golden Palm
at Cannes Film Festival (France, 1997).

Kiarostami won the Golden Lion of Special Jury Prize at the latest Venice
International Film Festival (Italy 1999) for his latest film The Wind Will
Carry Us, and thus he completed the list of prizes he brought home for the
Iranian cinema.

Adapting the Vision to the Reality

Excerpts From Cahiers du Cinema Interview With Abbas Kiarostami

"I Don't Believe in a Cinema That Only Presents Its Own Version of Reality. I
Prefer to Present Several Possible Versions, Offering the Viewers the Freedom
to Choose the One They Prefer"

IRAN NEWS ART DESK

In 1970 when Abbas Kiarostami directed his first short film, The Bread and
Alley, no one could have foreseen that one day he would be the most
celebrated Iranian director in the World. As the most important filmmaker in
the history of the Iranian cinema, whose pictures have won the greatest
number of international awards, including the prestigious Palme D'Or Prize at
Cannes Film Festival in France, Kiarostami has had to traverse a lengthy path
with many ups and downs. And a she once pointed out himself there remains no
significant world prize he has not already won. The Golden Lion prize at
Venice Film Festival, which he won for The Wind Will Carry Us, was the latest
world Trophy kiarostami brought home.

The 18th edition of Fajr International Film Festival is presenting a program
of homage to the veteran Iranian filmmaker in recognition of his role in
putting the Iranian cinema on the world map.

Kiarostami is particularly popular with the French film magazines, and
Cahiers Du Cinema magazine recently conducted an interview with the film
director of which excerpts are provided below:

Cahiers: Marin Karmitz, the producer of The Wind Will Carry Us, told us you
didn't have a script when you started shooting the film's.

What was your method in making the film?

Kiarostami: I only wrote a two-page outline of the film and gave it to Marin
Karmitz to read. I didn't have detailed scripts for some of my previous films
which I shot in Iranian villages. Before going to Siah-Darreh for shooting
The Wind Will Carry Us, I was most impressed by the landscapes of
countryside. But when I shooting in Siah-Darreh, I noticed that this specific
village was different from villages I had seen before. During the work, the
villagers influenced the ideas I had about the film and the outline I had in
mind. Of course I tried to impose my own viewpoint on matters, but somehow or
other I had to adapt my vision to reality.

Cahiers: What was your criteria in choosing this particular village? Which
parts of the film were improvised?

Kiarostami: I'll give you an example: in the original outline I had in mind,
the crew arrive in the village from Tehran. They talk to the old lady, and
ask her to play the role of the dying woman in front of the camera. During
the work I practically noticed that since the old lady was supposed to be
dying, I couldn't communicate with her.

I couldn't communicate with any of the villagers either, because they were
all after their everyday life and didn't have any time to answer my
questions.

I hadn't seen such hard-working people before. The village looked more like a
concentration camp. I couldn't even use children for the film. So I had to
abandon most of the ideas I had in mind before I had started shooting.
Communicating with the villagers was impossible; especially since I had
doubts about the whole project. So on the one hand, I was confronted with the
problem of the villagers not being available, and on the other, I had doubts
about the project itself. So I had to rely on the imagination of the audience
to form a complete picture of the story by sorting out the bits of the
puzzle.

Cahiers: What you're saying is only acceptable when the audience is
confronted by a film that leads to different interpretations of reality.

Kiarostami: I don't believe in a cinema that only presents its own version of
reality to the audience. I prefer to present several possible versions,
offering the viewers the freedom to pick the one they prefer.

Every once in a while I meet viewers whose imaginations are richer than mine.
I like the cinema which lets the audience construct their own mental picture
of the story. For instance, somebody pointed out that a shot in the film lent
itself to a "Sisyphian" interpretation: in the shot we see a beetle rolling a
dung with effort. A successful film is the one that makes different
interpretations possible for the audience.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:50:00 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Rank 2nd in Wrestling World Cup

Iran Rank 2nd in Wrestling World Cup

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA (IRNA) - The national Iranian team finished as runners-up
in the 29th Free-Style Wrestling World Cup, held at George Mason University's
Patriot Center, Fairfax, Virginia, from February 6 to 7.

The national U.S. freestyle wrestling team, by gaining 8 points, took the
first place, followed by Iran with 6 points, Russia with 4 points, Cuba with
2 points, and Ukraine with zero point.

Three Iranian wrestlers - Alireza Dabir, Behnam Tayebi and Alireza Heydari -
won gold medals.

The 2000 Free-Style Wrestling World Cup was held in the United States of
America between last year's five best freestyle wrestling teams in the world.

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2000 15:51:11 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Mohajerani Absent at MAJ Session

Mohajerani Absent at MAJ Session

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

* Critical Analysis of Cultural Policies and the Media

TEHRAN -- Ataollah Mohajerani, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance
declined to take part in a regular session of the Association of Muslim
Reporters (AMJ) belonging to the Rightist Political Faction (RPF)in the
country. At the outset of the meeting, the Secretary-General of AMJ and
present head of the English daily Tehran Times contacted Mohajerani by
telephone and told him: "Let me give you some friendly advice. Attend this
gathering of AMJ and respect all journalists."

The minister of culture reasoned that: "Since all of you from the AMJ failed
to attend Saturday's session of journalists which was convened on the
occasion of the Holy Ten Day Dawn Ceremonies at Vahdat Hall, I will not take
part at your session."

Tehran Times chief said that Mohajerani earlier had said: "All groupings were
equally worthy in his view. Should we ask him to participate at AMJ meeting,
he would do so." The Secretary General of AMJ continued by saying: "We deemed
it our duty to invite him to our session. The invitation had been delivered a
month ago and had been accepted by the minister." AMJ spokesman concluded:
"If the minister had attended the meeting, I would have told him that
according to my information, he was not true to his own stated values when he
flaunted the idea of encouraging greater political developments in the
Islamic Republic of Iran."

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 7 Feb 2000 to 8 Feb 2000