Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Feb 2000 to 15 Feb 2000

There are 5 messages totalling 402 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. Interview of the President with Wolf Blitzer of
2. China CNPC, Iran Oil Min Fail To Agree On Pipeline Finance
3. Iran Min Says Block On WTO Membership Is International Insult
4. JAPAN: Iran sees strategic links to Asian importers.
5. Fwd:

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:35:50 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Interview of the President with Wolf Blitzer of

Office of the Press Secretary -- Interview of the President with Wolf Blitzer
of; The Oval Office
Date: 15 Feb 2000
Time: 05:35:50
Remote Name:


02/15/2000 M2 PRESSWIRE Copyright 2000 M2 Communications, Ltd. All Rights

. . . .

Q Let's stay overseas. We have another e-mail question about U.S.- Iranian
relations: I'd like to know, Mr. President, your view on the recent
developments of Iranian -American relations as we, the Iranian youth, are
really anxiously following political developments between the two countries
and no doubt willing to finally see a healthy and mutually respectful
relationship between the two.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's what I want. You know, I said several weeks ago
now -- maybe a few months ago -- that the United States had not been entirely
blameless in the past in our relationships with Iran , but that -- and that
we wanted a good relationship with Iran ; that we did not support and did not
condone anyone who would support terrorist actions, and that we had some
difficulties with Iran , but we were viewing with interest affairs within
Iran , we wanted the Iranian people to have a good democracy, we like to see
these elections and we want to be supportive of better relationships if we
can work them out on ways that are mutually agreeable.

I think that one of the best things we could do for the long-term peace and
health of the Middle East and, indeed, much of the rest of the world is to
have a constructive partnership with Iran . And I'm still hoping that that
can materialize. A lot of that is now in the hands of the Iranian people and
their elections and also the leaders of Iran . Some of them don't want that,
but I think some of them may want that. And I think it's important that the
genuine reformers there not be, in effect, weakened because of their
willingness to at least talk to us, because I think the United States should
always remain open to a constructive dialogue to people of goodwill.

And I think that the estrangement between these two countries is not a good
thing. I think it would be better if we could have a relationship.

Q As you know, Mr. President, in this regard, 13 Iranian Jews were accused of
spying and they're being held. Is this an irritant in this? What do you want
the Iranian government to do on that front?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have been assured by the Israelis that they were not
spies. And I've done quite a bit of work on it. I'm very, very concerned
about this, because people cannot -- it is an irritant. The American Jewish
community is very, very concerned about it, and we've done a lot of work on
it. And I'm hopeful that justice will be done there and that no one will be
punished for being a spy who isn't. That's not a good thing to do. And that,
obviously, is a real -- it's one of the sticking points.

But I think that there are other people of goodwill who the Iranians
recognize are their friends, who want better relationships with them, who
have also talked to them about this, and I'm hoping that it will be worked
out in a satisfactory manner.

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Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:36:56 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: China CNPC, Iran Oil Min Fail To Agree On Pipeline Finance

China CNPC, Iran Oil Min Fail To Agree On Pipeline Finance
Date: 15 Feb 2000
Time: 05:33:49
Remote Name:

02/15/2000 Dow Jones Energy Service (Copyright (c) 2000, Dow Jones & Company,

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- China National Petroleum Corp. and Iran 's oil
ministry have failed to reach an agreement on the joint construction of a
crude oil pipeline, a CNPC official told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Specifically, the two sides failed to agree on the terms of cooperation for
the proposed pipeline, negotiations for which began earlier this month, he

CNPC was seeking to provide the labor and engineering services required for
the construction, while Iran 's oil ministry was keen to secure the financing
for the project.

The official said CNPC was ready to invest in addition to providing
engineering services, but Iran needed to demonstrate its ability to provide
the rest of the financing.

Another round of talks hasn't been scheduled yet, he said. However,
negotiations are expected to continue.

The proposed pipeline will run from the port of Neka on the Caspian Sea
coastline to refineries in northern Iran .

The pipeline is expected to have an initial throughput of 175,000 barrels a
day, expandable to 370,000 b/d after the construction of the second phase.
The entire project will cost a total of $360 million.

Construction of the pipeline is expected to have been started later this year
or early next year, and be completed within two years of the project's

The Iranian oil ministry was also heard to have contacted China Petrochemical
Corp., or Sinopec. Details of those talks weren't immediately known.

Iran 's deputy oil minister for Caspian affairs, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili,
said he expected to reach an agreement with Chinese companies for the
financing of the project later this month.

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:38:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran Min Says Block On WTO Membership Is International Insult

Iran Min Says Block On WTO Membership Is International Insult
Date: 15 Feb 2000
Time: 05:37:28
Remote Name:

BANGKOK (AP)-- Iran 's commerce minister attacked Tuesday "political matters"
that have prevented his country from joining the World Trade Organization.

In a clear reference to opposition from the U.S., Commerce Minister Mohammad
Shariatmadari said the fact that his country hadn't even been approved as a
candidate for WTO membership was "an insult to the international community."

"We have arrived at the definite conclusion that political matters are
influencing the prevention of the accession of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the WTO," Shariatmadari said at a news conference during the U.N.
Conference on Trade and Development, which runs until Saturday.

The U.S. claims Iran is a terrorist nation and maintains trade sanctions
against it, even though they officially have normal trade ties. Other Western
countries now trade normally with Iran , which is a major oil producer.

Washington has blocked attempts by Iran to begin the process toward joining
the WTO, which sets rules for international trade among its 135 members. Some
30 nations are official candidates for membership.

"If concepts such as the non-politicization of trade are considered to be
among the principal concepts of an international organization, and in the WTO
such things shouldn't be observed, then it is a matter of regret,"
Shariatmadari said.

He told reporters there should be a "mother organization" for the WTO, the
IMF and the World Bank, and that Iran believes Unctad was the right body.

In another reference to the U.S., Shariatmadari added: "Some superpowers try
to make their domestic laws extraterritorial using embargoes and the like
against other countries, especially developing countries. This sort of
flouting of laws could create anarchy in the world

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:38:48 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: JAPAN: Iran sees strategic links to Asian importers.

JAPAN: Iran sees strategic links to Asian importers.
Date: 15 Feb 2000
Time: 05:36:46
Remote Name:

TOKYO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Iran has greater strategic importance for Asian oil
consumers than for those in other regions and the two sides need to look
closely at regional cooperation, a senior Iranian official said on Tuesday.

"Iran holds the longest share along the Persian Gulf and is situated between
the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. So, Iran strategically is important and its
importance for Asian oil consumers is probably more than for other regions,"
Iranian Ambassador to Japan Ali Majedi told an energy conference.

Iran is a major oil supplier to Asia, and is the third-largest into Japan.

Majedi also called for more Japanese participation in the production of crude
and petroleum products in the Gulf countries as the first step in a new
framework for regional cooperation in energy security.

Majedi, former deputy minister of the Iranian oil ministry, also maintained
Iran's stance against a Caspian oil pipeline that will bypass its territory.

He made the remarks in a prepared speech for delivery at the Symposium on
Pacific Energy Cooperation 2000 in Tokyo.

"When political motives intervene in energy matters, usually some damages are
produced. If only economic considerations are taken into account, we will
surely see constructive cooperation and development," Majedi said.

He said the most economical route for transfer of Caspian and central Asian
oil to world markets is through Iran. "But, unfortunately, the political
games have prevented the optimum decision making in this regard."

Talks on a $2.4 billion pipeline project, backed by the United States, from
the Azeri capital of Baku to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, bypassing Iran and
Russia , have hit a snag over Georgia 's demands since January.

Iran and Russia have opposed any pipeline plan that avoids their territories.

((Tokyo Energy Desk 3 5473 3708

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:57:12 EST
Subject: Fwd:

Don't Expect Things to Change Overnight
The upcoming elections will decide the ease with which the Islamic Republic
embraces modernity.

Iran's parliamentary elections next week are probably the most consequential
in the Islamic Republic's history. It is widely assumed that the results
will determine the course of Iran's foreign policy and, in particular,
prospects for a more serious and sustained U.S.-Iran dialogue, if not rapid
Western analysts have cast Iran's political contest in stark terms of a
dualistic battle between forces of light and darkness, respectively
represented by so-called reformists and conservatives. But over-simplifying
issues and forces in Iran's politics and basing predictions about its future
course on the election outcome has reached unreasonable levels.
There is risk that if there is anything less than a resounding victory for
the groups clearly and openly identified with President Mohammad Khatami,
any possibility of significant change in Iran in the foreseeable future
would be dismissed and efforts to establish a dialogue with the U.S. would
be abandoned or at least put into an even lower gear.
To avoid such an outcome, it is essential to understand deeper developments
in Iran, beginning with the diversity of views and interests within the
so-called reformist and conservative factions.
Neither is homogeneous. Indeed, the conservative coalition has within it
elements that were considered reformist from the late 1980s until the
mid-1990s, both in economic and social issues and in foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the left of the 1980s and '90s opposed any moderation of Iran's
confrontational foreign policy, especially toward the United States.
However, since 1989, the left was kept out of government and did not benefit
financially from the reconstruction boom of the early 1990s. It thus
underwent a change and began supporting both reform and Khatami's bid for
president. In foreign policy, the main goals of these former leftists is to
reduce tensions between Iran and other countries.
These shifts underscore that interpreting the outcome of Iran's elections
simply in terms of old stereotypes could lead to false conclusions about the
country's future. Indeed, a reformist agenda can still be carried out even
without total victory for the so-called reformist camp, provided that the
left abandons its politics of revenge.
Further, in judging Iran's future directions, emphasis should be put on more
basic changes taking place and the adjustments that they will demand from
political leaders.
The following are most important:
* Demographic shift and changing priorities. Iran's population is very
young--70% is under 30. This generation's priority is economic prosperity,
or at least significant improvement in its economic prospects and a
less-rigid social atmosphere. There is a palpable feeling in Iran of a
restless and youthful energy. It must be channeled into constructive
endeavors and be allowed to express itself within a less restrictive social
* Erosion of religious values, especially those promoted by the government.
Iranian youth no longer can be made to accept deprivation or be motivated by
religious indoctrination. Indeed, it is ironic that some pre-revolution,
secularized Iranians maintain greater reverence for their religion than
those who make a daily show of religiosity. If the abuse of religion in
Iranian politics is not reduced--including either abolishing the office of
Supreme Leader or limiting its powers over elected officials--the whole
Islamic system will come under greater pressure. Already, for a large number
of Iranians, reform means secularization.
* Reassertion of Iranianism, in the sense that interests of Iran and its
people--most notably maintaining Iran's territorial integrity--should be the
guiding principle of the government's policies, both domestic and foreign.
This also means greater appreciation of Iranian civilization, in both its
pre- and post-Islamic versions.
* Creeping multiculturalism and the search for unity in diversity. During
the Iran-Iraq war, people from every part of the country took part in the
defense of the homeland. Furthermore, education, transportation and
communications networks have expanded. Tehran has grown tremendously and
become a microcosm of Iran. All these developments have led both to a
greater appreciation of the country's diversity and to the realization of
many cultural and historical factors that bind its people together. If these
forces are properly channeled, Iran can evolve into the first Islamic
country in the Middle East and even beyond where a sense of patriotism and
civic nationalism replaces an ethnocentric, repressive and assimilationist
However, efforts by outsiders to destabilize Iran--either by encouraging
separatist tendencies, as some of its neighbors do, or by putting excessive
economic pressure on it--could change this trend toward cultural and
political pluralism and resurrect a more homogenizing and constraining
In sum, while next week's elections are important, Iran's future should not
be judged on the basis of the outcome. A conservative victory could not
arrest the fundamental changes that are taking place within Iran. Nor would
a reformist victory change everything overnight.
Iran is already beyond its Islamic stage of evolution. The educational and
economic reforms of the shah's era led to a religious reaction. The Islamic
Revolution has done its work of raising the political consciousness of the
masses by its tactics of indoctrination. In doing so, it has given rise to
its own antithesis. The next stage is Iran's embrace of modernity and the
recasting of its Iranian and Islamic traditions in the modernist context.
How soon and how easily that will happen is the real question to be
- - -
Shireen T. Hunter Is Director of the Islamic Program at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.c
Visit our web page at:

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 14 Feb 2000 to 15 Feb 2000