Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 8 Feb 2000 to 9 Feb 2000

There are 15 messages totalling 867 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Expect More Attacks on the Press
2. EXPEDIENCY COUNCIL HEAD: Islam Is Harbinger of Freedom of Thought
3. IPO Calls on People to Take Part in Nationwide Rallies February 11
4. Support for Caricaturist
5. COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT
6. All Eyes on the Flight of Simorgh
7. Iran to Hire American Basketball Coach
8. Iran Selected as Head of Executive Committee of World Food Program
9. Final List of Candidates Out, 6,083 Approved, 576 Rejected
10. Khatami's brother blasts those behind rising political tension
11. Iranian parties gear up for parliamentary elections
12. SUPPORT SIT-IN OF 170 REFUGEES IN IRAQI KURDISTAN
13. Funeral Held for Iranian Victim
14. Iran Head Apologizes to Candidates
15. U.S. says hopes Iran elections will improve ties

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:51:10 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Expect More Attacks on the Press

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 09, 2000

Expect More Attacks on the Press

General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corp (IRGC) said in a recent speech that: "The enemy has overrun the
bunkers of the press in this country."

Once again, on the eve of the extremely sensitive and fateful Sixth Majlis
elections, we are witnessing an all out assault on the fourth pillar of
democracy, which is the press.

Immediately after the crisis caused by Azad daily's cartoon and the
subsequent sit-in in Qom, Iranian journalists stood by in dismay while the
Minister of Islamic Guidance, Ataollah Mohajerani, was called upon to defend
his handling of the press.

Jailing the cartoonist, Nikahang Kossar, who had allegedly insulted Ayatollah
Mesbah-Yazdi, did not help to calm the situation. As a matter of fact things
went from bad to worse. In some election campaign speeches in the past few
days, the flames sere fanned even more. Certain issues dangerous to the press
have been taken up in some of these speeches. It looks as though enmity
against the freedom of press has become the latest popular fashion. Nowadays,
few speeches are made without being streaked with rash inferences to the
press.

The press, however, should by now have come to a comprehensive assessment of
the situation. It should have by now dawned on the press that their immense
effect and influence are the target of these vindictive attacks. Our press
should hold their heads high and brace for more malice and vilification
coming their way without giving in an inch.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:52:21 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: EXPEDIENCY COUNCIL HEAD: Islam Is Harbinger of Freedom of Thought

EXPEDIENCY COUNCIL HEAD: Islam Is Harbinger of Freedom of Thought

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council,
on Monday in a meeting with `The Camp of Free Thinkers' said while the
imposition of beliefs is used as a modern method in the psychological
warfares in the world, Islam stands as the harbinger of freedom of expression
and thought, IRNA reported.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani, referring to the Quranic verses, said one of the aims
pursued by the Prophet Mohammad (S) was to provide the human race with the
freedom of expression to debate in a healthy atmosphere. No doctrine or
religion has supported the freedom of thought as much as Islam, he added.

Advising the different political camps and formations to refrain from going
to extremes or acting based on factional issues, he said, "We should act
within the limits determined by Islam which is the best guarantee for the
freedom of human beings."

Pointing to the failures of unpopular currents throughout the history of
Iran, Ayatollah Hashemi said in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution those
groups which were not supported by the people acted against the nation but
the Iranian people has continued their Godly path with the help of Islam.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:54:30 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IPO Calls on People to Take Part in Nationwide Rallies February 11

IPO Calls on People to Take Part in Nationwide Rallies February 11

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- On the auspicious occasion of the anniversary of the Islamic
Revolution's triumph, the Islamic Propagation Organization (IPO) yesterday
called on the Iranian people to take part in the nationwide rallies to be
held on Friday February 11, IRNA reported.

The IPO said in a communique here yesterday that the victory of the Islamic
Revolution led by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, put an
end to 2,500 years of monarchical rule in Iran.

"People across the country will take to the streets to condemn the
conspiracies of the world arrogance against the Islamic Republic of Iran in
the past 20 years," it said.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:56:47 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Support for Caricaturist

Support for Caricaturist

HAMSHAHRI * This Municipality-affiliated daily reported that journalists
would get together Thursday in a bid to show support for Nikahang Kowsar, the
young caricaturist who was taken to jail for drawing a cartoon perceived to
be insulting to Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi. The Press Guild has retained a
defense attorney for Kowsar and announced that all writers, caricaturists and
satirists can take their works to the Thursday gathering to be displayed for
the public.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to the Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Hashemi
Shahroudi, some 300 Iranian journalistsr called for immediate release of
Kosar.

Allegations Against Mohajerani

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This pro-reform daily reported that Mohammad Reza Fakker,
conservative Majlis deputy, has accused Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani
of giving the interests of the money paid by Hajj pilgrims to mercenary
newspapers. "He should be dismissed, so that Islamic values would no longer
be abused," Fakker said.

ECP Supports Mohajerani

IRAN * This IRNA-affiliated daily quoted Mohammad Atriyan-Far, senior member
of the Executives of Construction Party (ECP), as saying the party supports
Mohajerani as one of its senior officials, an intellectual and a politician.
He added that Mohajerani himself recommended the party not to release a
statement in his support, "because we were certain that the issue would be
resolved by the Leader's mediation." Following the publication of an
insulting caricature in Azad daily, some Seminary students held a rally in
Qom demanding the dismissal of Culture Minister Mohajerani.

Enemy Among the Press?

BAYAN * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, deputy IRGC
commander, as saying that the enemy has captured many key centers in the
country including the press. It does not have a direct influence in the
newspapers, but some in the press pave the way for the enemy's plots.

Khatami Inherited a Decayed Economy

FATH * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Ezatollah Sahabi, a nationalist figure
who was barred from running for Parliament, as saying that during the tenure
of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani only a superficial development
was achieved and the Khatami Administration inherited a decayed economic
system which cannot be changed fundamentally because of political
difficulties the government is facing. "Majlis Speaker Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri
was proud at the time of elections that the Majlis approved a budget bill
without deficit, but this is a mere lie."

Patriarchy is Outdated

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily quoted Abbas Abdi, IIPP's senior member,
as saying that he has no personal grudges against Rafsanjani, as was claimed
recently by the former president's daughter, Faezeh Hashemi. In the eyes of
Rafsanjani, government means patriarchy, but the time of patriarchy has gone.
Government is not the people's boss, it is their representative.

Authorities Should Explain

MOSHAREKAT * This IIPP-affiliated daily quoted Hamid Reza Jalaiepour, Asr-e
Azadegan's senior official, as saying that the explosions near the
Presidential Office by the terrorist group MKO shows that the perpetrators
resort to any means, including the killing of innocent people, to reach their
objectives. Since the organization of Fadaeeyan-e Eslam-e Nab-e Mohammadi
(FENM) has also claimed responsibility for the attack, it is likely that
Saeed Emami's gang is responsible for it. Security officials should explain
about this issue.

FENM, an underground group led by Saeed Emami, was behind last year's serial
assassinations.

News Conference After Elections

MOSHAREKAT * The committee for defending the rights of those murdered in the
political killings was to hold a press conference and give a report about the
serial murders. But the press conference was postponed until after the
parliamentary elections because the Interior Ministry said it would reduce
the risk of tension, a committee member said.

Several dissident writers, as well as a nationalist figure and his wife were
assassinated in political killings last year. It was found that renegade
agents of the Intelligence Ministry, led by former deputy minister Saeed
Emami, were behind the murders. Saeed Emami committed suicide in prison.

Karbaschi Resting to regain Strength!

ARYA * Hussein Marashi, ECP official, said the current absence of the party's
secretary, Gholamhussein Karbaschi, is because he is taking some time off to
rest after his release from prison before resuming political activities.

Political Dwarves!

JAVAN * This rightist daily quoted Mohammad Mohajeri, an editor of the
hardline daily Kayhan, as saying that a number of "political dwarves" have
entered the scene and people may vote for them just for fun.

Final Candidates

ASR-E AZADEGAN * The daily quoted an informed source as saying that the
Guardian Council has provided the Interior Ministry with the names of
nominees whose qualifications have been approved Monday. He said the
qualifications of Hamid Reza Jalaiepour and some sitting MPs, as well as the
Armenian MP form the majority faction have been approved by the Council.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:57:37 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT

COUNTDOWN TO FINAL BALLOT

The latest opinion survey carried out by a government institution indicates
that the top five vote getters in the Tehran constituency in the forthcoming
parliamentary elections would be as follows:

1. Mohammad Reza Khatami, President Khatami's brother 2. Ali Reza Nouri
(brother of Abdullah Nouri), managing director of the closed daily Khordad 3.
Mehdi Karroubi, secretary-general of the Majma Rouhaniyoun Mobarez (MRM) 4.
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council (EC) 5. Jamileh
Kadivar, spouse of Ataollah Mohajerani, minister of culture.

Hussein Marashi, deputy secretary of ECP, said the party would support 230
candidates, 26 of whom would be from the Tehran constituency. Fifteen of the
26 nominees are also supported by the leftist MRM and 14 by the Islamic Iran
Partnership Party (IIPP). Three candidates of the rightist Jame-e Rohaniyat-e
Mobarez (JRM) are also on ECP's list.

The Majlis hopefuls can start electoral campaign beginning Thursday,
announced the election headquarters. The campaign is to last seven days until
February 18.

The Interior Ministry's Election Headquarters said based on the decisions of
EC, the Guardian Council (GC) had to make available to the ministry the list
of those candidates whose qualifications have been confirmed in the first and
second stages of the vetting but yet rejected by GC, no later than February
7.

The list of disqualified candidates is expected to become public today.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:59:02 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: All Eyes on the Flight of Simorgh

All Eyes on the Flight of Simorgh

Nominees for Crystal Simorgh Prizes in the Competition of the Iranian Cinema
Are Announced by the Jury

IRAN NEWS ART DESK

The jury of the Competition of the Iranian Cinema, comprising Nemat Haqiqi,
Kamal Tabrizi, Amin Tarokh, Mohammad Bozorgnia, Shahram Asadi, announced the
nominees for Crystal Simorgh prizes in various filmmaking categories:

* Best Art Direction

Zhila Mehrjui for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Mohsen
Shah-Ebrahimi of Mummy 3, Parvin Safari for Barani, M. Shah-Ebrahimi for Born
in September, Hassan Farsi, The Starry Sky.

* Best Make-up

Mehrdad Shokrabi for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Mehrdad Mirkiani
for Mummy 3, Mohsen Musavi for Born in September, Reza Radmanesh for Barani,
Mahmud Mahmudi for Her Eyes.

* Best Special Effects

Mohammad-Javad Sharifi for Born in September, Morteza Akbari for The Missing
Half, Davud Rasulian for Notebook From the Heaven.

* Best Editing

Ruhollah Emami for Coming of Age, Hussein Zandbaf for Mammy 3, Hassan
Hassandoost for Mix, Bahram Dehqani for Born in September, Haide Safi-Yari
The Bride of Fire.

* Best Musical Score

Ahmad Pezhman for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Majid Entezami for
The Protest, Mohammad-Reza Aliqoli for Born in September, Kambiz Roshan-Ravan
for Coming of Age.

* Best Cinematography

Mahmud Kalari for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Mohammad Aladpush
for Mummy 3, Ali-Reza Zarrindast for Coming of Age, Bahram Badakhshani for
Barani, Ali Allahyari for The Polluted Hands.

* Best Actress

Mitra Hajjar for her performance in Born in September, Mahtab Karamati for
Barani, Leyla Suri for One More Day.

*Best Actor

Hussein Yari for Coming of Age, Faramarz Qaribian for Barani, Dariush
Arjomand for The Protest, Ruhollah Hosseini for The Child and the Soldier,
Parviz Parastui for Mummy 3.

* Best Script

Bahman Farmanara for Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, Khosro Sinai,
Hamid Farrokhnezhad for The Bride of Fire, Masud Jafari Jozani, for Coming of
Age, Mohammad Rezaie-Rad for The Child and the Soldier, Parviz Shahbazi for
The Whisper.

* Best Direction

Masud Jafari Jozani for Coming of Age, Bahman Farmanara for smell of Camphor,
Fragrance of Jasmine, Seyed Reza Mir Kari for The Child and the Soldier,
Dariush Mehrjui for Mix, Masud Kimia'ie The Protest.

* Best Film

Coming of Age, directed by M. Jafari Jozani, produced by Jozan Film; Smell of
Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine, directed by Bahman Farmanara, produced by
Morteza Shayaste (Hedayat Film, Fazlollah Yusefpoor); Born in September,
directed by Ahmad-Reza Darvish, produced by Tamasha Cultural Institute, Soore
Film Development Corporation; Barani directed by Abolhassan Davudi, produced
by Soore Film Development Corporation; The Protest, directed by Masud
Kimia'ie, produced by Seyed Zia Hashemi.

Winners of the Crystal Simorgh prizes will be announced at a closing ceremony
at Rudaki Hall on Thursday.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 06:59:58 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran to Hire American Basketball Coach

Iran to Hire American Basketball Coach

IRAN NEWS SPORTS DESK

TEHRAN - A team from the U.S. will participate in the 2nd Sports and Nations
basketball tournament to be held here next August, it was announced
yesterday.

President of Iran's Basketball Federation, Ali Ghazanfari, at a press
conference here yesterday said 16 teams will participate in the 2nd Sports &
Nations tournament, including a club from the U.S.

He said: " We have invited some clubs from the U.S., Russia, Yugoslavia,
Hungary, Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Japan, South Korea and France and all
have voiced their readiness to participate in the tournament. We hope to hold
the competitions with 16 teams."

He added the federation on Monday started its first international basketball
tournament for kids, dubbed "Friendship and Better Future", and teams from
Syria, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Germany and Italy are competing with three
teams from Iran.

Ghazanfari said: "If the National Olympic Committee approves, we will hire an
American coach for our national teams. Of course, he will be hired
tentatively and we will sign with him after we find him suitable for the
teams."

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 07:01:19 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Selected as Head of Executive Committee of World Food Program

Iran Selected as Head of Executive Committee of World Food Program

IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Members of the Executive Committee of World Food Program (WFP), in
the first session of the new year, yesterday selected Mohammad Saeed
Nouri-Naeeni, Iranian ambassador to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), as the new chairman of the WFP's Executive Committee for
a two- year period, IRNA reported.

The U.S. representative was the former head of the WFP Executive Commission.

WFP is one of the principal organs providing relief to refugees of war,
natural disasters as well as homeless and its executive committees comprises
of 42 members.

Speaking at the introduction ceremonies, Executive Director of the WFP Katrin
Bertini wished the Iranian representative success in his capacity as the new
chairman of WFP's Executive Committee.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 07:07:50 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Final List of Candidates Out, 6,083 Approved, 576 Rejected

Final List of Candidates Out, 6,083 Approved, 576 Rejected

TEHRAN TIMES POLITICAL DESK
TEHRAN The Supervisory Board of the Elections (SBE) yesterday announced that
from a total of 6,856 candidates, 6,083 have been approved and 576 were
rejected, a statement issued by the Guardian Council said.
The elections for the 6th term of the Majlis will be held on Feb.
18 across the country when 290 lawmakers will be elected by the voters of the
age of 16 and above.
Meanwhile, some 197 candidates withdrew in various stages, the statement said.
In the first stage the executive boards rejected 407 candidates, it said
adding in the final assessment before hearing the protest of the candidates,
the number of disqualified candidates reached 762.
But after hearing the complaints of the candidates the final number of the
rejected candidates declined to 576.
Despite direct and indirect pressures to the SBE, it tried its best to
implement its legal duties to help peace and tranquility in the society,'' it
said.
The affiliations of the disqualified candidates were not immediately known.
Meanwhile the Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari said yesterday that
the Guardian Council has crucially changed its approach in vetting the
candidates in the current elections compared to the previous elections.
He lauded the council for reassessing the rejected candidates' eligibility,
specially those who belong to the martyr families.
Many believe that the outcome of the elections will determine the future
course of reforms launched by Khatami's administration.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old was stabbed in the neck while he was distributing
brochures on behalf of the moderate Islamic Iran Participation Party, a party
official said yesterday, according to a dispatch of AP.
The dispatch quoting IIPP said Taha Birjandi was attacked by two men while he
was distributing pamphlets with his sister Negar, 22, in northeastern Tehran
Monday. The assailants insulted the woman and attacked Birjandi when he
confronted them, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
according to the dispatch.
The identities of the attackers were not known.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 07:10:29 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Khatami's brother blasts those behind rising political tension

Khatami's brother blasts those behind rising political tension
Iran - Wednesday, 09 February 2000 - Agence France Presse



TEHRAN, Feb 9 (AFP) - The brother of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami,
himself a leading reformist, blasted those trying to boost political tension
throughout Iran Wednesday, nine days before elections and two days after he
was attacked at the hustings.

Mohammad-Reza Khatami, who aides said was stoned by conservatives at an
electoral meeting Monday in the provinces, said he "condemned the attacks
from by different pressure groups", without further explanation.

"Tensions are high in this campaign, which explains these type of attacks,"
Khatami, head of the reformist Participation Front, he said at a press
conference.

An aide said a meeting of some 5,000 people at a stadium at Andimeshk in the
southwest province of Khuzestan was disrupted by fundamentalist
conservatives, injuring one person, one of Mohammad-Reza's entourage said.

The attackers "shouted hostile slogans and threw stones at the platform,"
disrupting the meeting. They then attacked the premises of the local branch
of the Participation Front, breaking windows and forcing their way in.

Over recent days, other Front election meetings have been disrupted by
fundamentalist elements in the northern city of Rasht and other provincial
towns, the reformist press reported Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, a Front election meeting at Tehran's polytechnic
institute was cancelled at the last moment without explanation.

Several reformist figures including Abbas Abdi, the former editor in chief of
the reformist newspaper Salam -- whose closure last July sparked the worst
unrest in 20 years - were to have taken part in the rally.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 07:13:38 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian parties gear up for parliamentary elections

Iranian parties gear up for parliamentary elections
Iran - Tuesday, 08 February 2000 - Agence France Presse


TEHRAN, Feb 8 (AFP) - Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami Tuesday
called on his key constituency of young people and women to turn out in force
to vote in this month's parliamentary elections, as all parties geared up for
the start of the official campaign in two days' time.

"The elections are the most decisive sign of the people's participation in
their own destiny and in democracy, and that is why women and young people
will play a determining role in the important poll lying ahead of us," he
told a gathering of women, reported by state radio.

The lines are being drawn between two rival camps, the reformers and
conservatives, with myriads of small parties and associations drawing
themselves up into loose coalitions to battle it out on February 18.

The reformist camp is headed by the "Second of Khordad Front" coalition --
named after the day in the Iranian calendar in which Khatami won his
overwhelming victory in 1997 -- which has brought together a range of small
radical and progressive parties, whose slogans are political and social
rather than economic. The coalition's spokesman, Behzad Nabavi, said it was
backing 255 candidates across the country.

The coalition's biggest member, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF),
is fielding some star candidates, including Mohammad-Reza Khatami, the
president's brother, and Ali-Reza Nuri, brother of the popular former
interior minister, Abdollah Nuri, currently in jail for "anti-Islamic
propaganda."

At the same time, some prominent former radicals have joined forces with the
Second of Khordad Front, including Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, former interior
minister, and Hadi Khamenei, brother of the country's supreme leader, Ali
Khamenei.

In Tehran, which counts as a single constituency with 30 seats, Second of
Khordad has rallied behind a list of 30 names, headed by Mehdi Karoubi, who
heads the radical Association of Combattant Clerics.

Reformist posters are going up all over town, preaching "liberty, security
and justice." The reformers brandish the prestigious name of Khatami and
promise to defend his reforms, but clear proposals for tackling Iran's
parlous economy are thin on the ground.

However, other more moderate reformers are sticking with former president
Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, whom the conservatives -- the majority in the
outgoing parliament -- have put at the head of their list.

Rafsanjani also heads the moderate Executives of Construction list, and
enjoys the valuable support of the popular reformist former mayor of Tehran,
Gholamhossein Karbaschi, who was recently released from jail, where he had
been held on corruption charges, which he maintained were trumped up by
political opponents.

"Mr. Rafsanjani will certainly be the next speaker of parliament," said
Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, spokesman for the conservative Followers of the Line
of the Imam and the Leader, a coalition of 15 groups, of which the most
prominent is the Association of Combattant Clergy.

The election campaign opens officially at midnight on Wednesday and will last
for exactly one week.

The definitive list of candidates will be published on Wednesday. The Council
of Guardians which vets every would-be MP, announced Tuesday that it had
accepted 6,083 candidates, out of the 6,856 who put forward their names.

Most of those turned down were reformist supporters of Khatami, or members of
the banned but tolerated internal opposition.

The next parliament will have 290 seats -- 20 more than the previous one,
reflecting the increase in population -- and members, elected by universal
direct suffrage, will sit for four years.

Candidates must receive at least 25 percent of the votes, otherwise they will
have to go to a run-off ballot.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 07:56:26 EST
From: CHAIRNGO@AOL.COM
Subject: SUPPORT SIT-IN OF 170 REFUGEES IN IRAQI KURDISTAN

International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR)
Press Release
GPO, PO Box 7051, New York, NY 10004
Tel: 212-747-1046. Fax: 212-425-7260 E-mail: ifiric@aol.com
www.hambastegi.org
SUPPORT SIT-IN OF IRANIAN
REFUGEES IN IRAQI KURDISTAN

February 8, 2000: On February 6, 2000, 170 Iranian refugee men,
women, and children began a sit-in at the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Soleymanieh Office in Iraqi
Kurdistan to protest that agency's indifference towards refugees.
One hour after the sit-in's commencement, UNHCR security
guards attacked and beat protesters. Despite the assault and
freezing weather conditions, the sit-in continues.

Today, February 8, Hagir Saeedi, the International Federation of
Iranian Refugees (IFIR) Soleymanieh Branch Representative, and
members of the sit-in coordinating committee met with UNHCR
representatives to discuss the sit-in. The refugees are demanding
that the UNHCR:

* Register all refugees and provide refugee determination interviews,
* Review rejected casefiles,
* Re-commence third country resettlement interviews and transfers,
* Increase resettlement quotas, and,
* Provide financial and medical assistance.

Though the demands are all aspects of the UNHCR's responsibility
toward refugees, that agency agreed only to the first demand and
instead insisted on an end to the sit-in. Given that the UNHCR has
been out of commission for most of 1999 and 2000 and has failed
to comply with previous pledges, the meeting was cut short by refugee
representatives who declared that the sit-in would continue until
the UNHCR provided an official response to the situation of Iranian
refugees in that region. 3,700 Iranian refugees live in abject poverty
and insecurity in Iraqi Kurdistan given the expansive presence of
the Islamic Republic of Iran in that region. They languish for years
without basic UNHCR protection and resettlement possibilities.

IFIR condemns the UNHCR's disregard for refugee lives and safety and calls on
groups and individuals to defend the demands of Iranian refugees in Iraqi
Kurdistan. The UNHCR must be held accountable for its assault on Iranian
refugee rights. Send e-mails and faxes to the UNHCR Erbil and Baghdad:
unhcr-erbil@un.org, irqba@unhcr.ch, fax: 873-175-4271; UNHCR Geneva: e-mail:
hqpr00@unhcr.ch, fax: 41-22-739-7353 with copies to IFIR (ifiric@aol.com).

SAMPLE LETTER

DATE

unhcr-erbil@un.org
irqba@unhcr.ch
hqpr00@unhcr.ch
UNHCR Iraq fax: + 873-175-4271
UNHCR Geneva fax: +42-22-739-7353

To Whom It May Concern:

I / my organization condemn (s) the UNHCR's disregard for refugee
lives and safety in Iraqi Kurdistan, and support(s) the demands of 170
Iranian refugees who are protesting the UNHCR's inhuman policies
by conducting a sit-in at the UNHCR Soleymanieh Office since February
6, 2000. UNHCR security guards attacked and beat the protesters
one hour after the commencement of the sit-in.

I / my organization demand(s) that those involved in the assault be held
accountable for their actions. I also ask your office to immediately
address the legitimate demands of the refugees, which are:
* Registering refugees and providing refugee determination interviews
* Reviewing rejected casefiles
* Re-commencing third country resettlement interviews
* Increasing resettlement quotas and resettling refugees on
an expedited basis
* Providing financial and medical assistance to refugees

The UNHCR must provide an official statement regarding the status of
Iranian refugees in that region. Iranians fleeing the Islamic Republic
of Iran must be protected from persection.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

NAME
ADDRESS
E-MAIL

CC: ifiric@aol.com

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 22:07:38 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Funeral Held for Iranian Victim

Funeral Held for Iranian Victim

.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranians on Wednesday buried the victim of an insurgent
attack in the capital amid chants of ``Death to the hypocrites'' and ``Death
to America,'' state-run radio reported.

President Mohammad Khatami has condemned the mortar attack Saturday, which
killed one person and wounded five others, as an ``act of vengeance,'' the
radio said.

The Mujahedeen Khalq opposition group claimed responsibility for the
bombardment of a complex of government buildings in the city center.

A large crowd attended the funeral of Mohammad Alijani, 29, who worked at a
publishing house, the radio said.

Iran has launched ground and air attacks in the past on Mujahedeen military
camps inside Iraq. The group has several camps along Iraq's eastern border.

The blasts Saturday occurred at a complex that houses the offices of the
president, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, parliament and the
judiciary.

AP-NY-02-09-00 1215EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed
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Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 22:08:41 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Head Apologizes to Candidates

Iran Head Apologizes to Candidates

.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - In a pointed show of solidarity, Iran's moderate
president has apologized to candidates who were disqualified by a hard-line
election body from this month's parliamentary polls, a newspaper reported
Wednesday.

The affiliations of the disqualified candidates were not immediately known,
but Iranian moderates have expressed fears that the supervisory election
body, the Guardian Council, would eliminate those who do not fully endorse
the policies of hard-liners among the ruling clergy.

``If there are people who feel their rights have been violated in some way, I
apologize to them as a humble (civil) servant,'' the Mosharekat daily quoted
President Mohammad Khatami as saying during an official function Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, the Guardian Council, charged with screening candidates for
the Feb. 18 elections, said it had rejected and disqualified 576 applicants
from a total of 6,856. It said 6,083 had been approved and 197 had withdrawn
their nominations.

Khatami's comments, although uncommon for a president, were typical of the
soft-spoken leader who is extremely popular among Iranians for his efforts to
initiate political and social reforms.

The function where Khatami spoke was broadcast on Iran's state-run radio and
television, but Khatami's apology was not. Mosharekat, which is run by
Khatami's brother, Mohammad Reza, accused the media of censoring the
president's comments.

The elections are turning out to be a battle between reformists allied with
Khatami and hard-line clerics, who have lost ground since Khatami took office
in 1997, but who still hold a slight majority in the Majlis, or parliament.

The outcome of the elections will determine the future course of reforms
launched by Khatami's administration. The hard-liners are opposed to
deviating from the strict Islamic codes of conduct in social and political
life that have been in force since the clergy took power in the 1979 Islamic
revolution.

AP-NY-02-09-00 0925EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed
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Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 22:12:44 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. says hopes Iran elections will improve ties

U.S. says hopes Iran elections will improve ties


WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The United States, in its most explicit comment
yet on parliamentary elections in Iran this month, said on Tuesday it hoped
they would help bring together the two countries, which broke off ties 20
years ago.

``The United States recognises that there are conflicting forces at work in
Iran, as there are in many nations,'' Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
said in testimony submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

``Our hope is the Iranian people will want and be able to choose approaches
that lead to better relations,'' she added.

U.S. officials generally avoid commenting on Iranian domestic politics for
fear of giving Iranian hardliners an opportunity to say that Washington
supports their moderate opponents.

Anti-Americanism remains a popular theme for some Iranians despite a gradual
decline from the enthusiasm of the Islamic revolution against the U.S.-backed
Shah of Iran in 1979.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for example, said last week that
Iranians would deliver a ``slap in the mouth'' of the United States by voting
in large numbers in the parliamentary elections on Feb. 18.

After the election in 1997 of President Mohammad Khatami, widely described as
a moderate, the United States hoped for a rapprochement with its former ally.

But U.S. officials were discouraged when the hardliners who hold many of the
levers of power made clear they did not plan any change in their hostile
attitude toward the United States.

Albright said, ``Over the last two years, there have been unmistakable signs
of public support in Iran for a more open approach to the world.''

She added, ``We have welcomed President Khatami's calls for people-to-people
dialogue, his verbal condemnation of terrorism and his regret over the 1979
hostage episode. The upcoming parliamentary elections could provide evidence
that the trend towards openness is gathering speed.''

In one gesture toward Iran, the United States condemned on Monday the mortar
attack near the presidential palace in Tehran and offered its sympathies for
the victims.

An Iraqi-based Iranian opposition group, the Mujahideen Khalq, claimed
responsibility for the attack, which killed one man and injured six people.

``We have seen reports of the attacks claimed by the MEK (Mujahideen Khalq)
against targets inside Iran. The U.S condemns these attacks, as we have
previous terrorist attacks by the MEK inside Iran, and extend our sympathies
to the victims,'' a U.S. State Department official said.

20:00 02-08-00

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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 8 Feb 2000 to 9 Feb 2000