Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Feb 2000 to 16 Feb 2000 - Special issue
There are 17 messages totalling 1338 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. Leader: People's Massive Turnout in Election Sign of System's Power
2. Poll Indicates Extremists in Both Factions Will Not Win
3. Clinton Ignores Iran's Terms, for Resumption of Ties & Talks in Air
4. China, Iran Ties Friendly in All Areas
5. GC Ready to Announce Reasons for Disqualification of Candidates
6. WHO Representative: Iran Successful in Carrying Out Health Plans
7. Rights group says Iranian polls freer than before
8. Polls put 'Iran for All Iranians' to the test
9. Patriotism, not Islam, rules Iranian poll banners
10. Iran Jewish MP says accused Jews to be freed
11. THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION'S IMPACT ON THE LEGAL AND SOCIAL STATUS OF IRANIAN
12. Arabs see democracy lessons in Iran polls
13. Iran's right says Islam in danger at polls
14. Iran Moderates Seek Place in Next Parliament
15. women expected to win more than 20 percent of seats in 6th majlis
16. Iran Election Rally Signals Change
17. Fwd: United States/Israel
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:03:54 EST
Subject: Leader: People's Massive Turnout in Election Sign of System's Power
Leader: People's Massive Turnout in Election Sign of System's Power
TEHRAN Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said here
yesterday that election is a symbol of national capability and strength and
of realization of people's rights.
Addressing officials in charge of this year's Haj pilgrimage, Ayatollah
Khamenei said that people's massive turnout in the Sixth Parliament
elections, slated for February 18, indicates the stability and strength of
the Islamic system.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said that participation in the election
is both the right and duty of people.
The country belongs to people and therefore, people have the right to decide
their own fate themselves and elect their favorite legislators through a
sound and free election as is envisaged by the law, said Ayatollah Khamenei,
adding that since the fate of the system and country depends on realization
of this right, people are duty-bound to use the right. All eligible voters
should take part in the election, the Leader reiterated.
Any person interested in the dignity and prosperity of the system would take
part in the Sixth Parliament elections, said the Leader, predicting that the
great and vigilant Iranian nation would be present on the scene of election
enthusiastically to show their support for Islam and the Islamic system.
The Leader said election should be held free from any tension and clashes.
Candidates participating in the election hold different ideas and beliefs and
god willing people would vote for their favorite candidates in a calm
Ayatollah Khamenei said that holding of 21 elections in a span of 21 years
since the victory of the Islamic Revolution had no precedence elsewhere in
Ayatollah Khamenei said that an atmosphere of political tension and violence
in society would run counter to the interests of election and the country at
large. Political tension on the threshold of election might discourage some
segments of society from participating in the election and unfortunately
there are some words and statements nowadays which seem to be pursuing this
The Leader touched on the enemy's efforts to divide the society into left and
right wings. the Iranian nation is faithful and united and such efforts to
sow discord among people has nothing to do with the texture of the society,
the leader added.
The Leader said people from various walks of life hand in hand led the
Islamic Revolution to victory and the eight-year Iraqi imposed war (1980-88)
was repelled through solidarity and cohesion among the same people.
Therefore, the Leader added, people would continue to proceed in their way
and as they have shown they would never pay attention to such divisive words.
The Leader underlined the need for people and the youth in particular to
remain vigilant on the threshold of the elections. The youth should move in
the line of election with prudence and open eyes and by observing Islamic
Ayatollah Khamenei advised those trying to disturb the social atmosphere
through political tension and rumor mongering to leave people along and let
them decide freely. The law is the backbone of election and all should accept
its results, the Leader added.
The Leader called on the Islamic Consultative Assembly to resist bullying,
greedy desires and threats of global powers.
Meanwhile, President Mohammad Khatami said here yesterday that Islam is not
only responsible for drawing up relations between man and God, but also
supervises man's life, conditions and order in this world.
Addressing members of the High Haj Council and other relevant officials, the
president said that Islam is a civil and social religion. Haj is an
outstanding example of relations between man and the Almighty God and is a
kind of social and civil worshipping that has something to do with man's
destiny in this world and in his community.
All Muslim scholars and thinkers believe that Islam is a religion that is
linked with the personal and social of man as a member of human community and
Muslim ummah, said the president.
If Muslims, he added, pay attention to the contents of Haj and prepare the
ground for its performance, they will certainly be the most powerful and
developed ummah on the earth.
He underlined the need for thinkers and scholars as well as Muslim
governments to try to find the key to Muslims' strength and dignity in
We should climb to the peaks of dignity and honor more speedily, wisely and
firmly by benefitting from such rituals as Haj,'' said the president.
He said that during Haj pilgrimage ethnic affiliations, nationalities,
languages and races lose their color and all people become humble before a
power (God) that has endeared man.
He added that Haj is a great platform and an outstanding divine worshipping
that brings numerous benefits for human beings both in this world and the
Elsewhere in his remarks, President Khatami said the Islamic revolution's
goal was based on establishment of a popular-religious system and that the
Islamic government is a social system based on Islamic insight and behavior.
The Islamic government of Iran attends to social aspects of life in an
Islamic community. In the opinion of the late Imam Khomeini, dignitaries and
the Iranian Constitution, divinity of the system is not in contradiction with
its popularity, he added.
The president said that people's right to decide their fate is a divine
aspect because man is God's creature and this is a right given to human
beings by God, said the president, adding that this (the right) is superior
to the so-called natural and conventional rights.
Those going to Haj should be careful to represent a noble and prestigious
nation and their moves should deserve this nation, he added.
President Khatami said Iranian pilgrims shoulder heavy duty in relation with
other Muslims, in forging understanding and honoring order and regulations.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:06:39 EST
Subject: Poll Indicates Extremists in Both Factions Will Not Win
Poll Indicates Extremists in Both Factions Will Not Win
By Zahra Abdi & Hengameh Mashiyati
TEHRAN Two reformists say though it is difficult to predict the actual
composition of the next Majlis, what is sure is that the reformists will get
The MPs, Soheila Jelodarzadeh and Majid Ansari, in an interview with the
TEHRAN TIMES said, "An open political atmosphere exists in the country which
is good for the future." Ms. Jelodarzadeh said, "During the fifth term of the
Majlis the people had a different thinking and they knew who will win and who
will not and this was the reason there was a lack of interest among the
masses." "This time," she said, "the people are more enthusiastic and I hope
that more people will go to the polling stations to cast their votes." "In
the Constitution, economy of the country was considered as an important
factor and due attention was paid to it," she said.
But, during the term of the 5th Majlis many factors related to the economy
were ignored, she said.
"The Constitution has reviewed all economic models including the
government-owned, private sector and cooperative-based economies," she said,
adding that it was recommended that necessary attention should be paid to all
Majid Ansari said, "I and others who share my views will focus our attention
on the economy of the country and do all to cure it. "Fortunately," Ansari
said, " the articles related to the reforms of the 3rd Five-year Plan have
been approved by the outgoing Majlis." "All efforts are being made to create
complete harmony between the Majlis and he Guardian Council for a better
future of the country," Ansari said.
"The most important issues on the agenda of the next Majlis will be safety
and guarantee for the foreign investment in the country's economy," he said.
"Another priority will be the creation of job opportunities for the youth,"
"We have to create transparency in our laws for economic affairs so that
there may not be any confusion among the prospective investors," Ansari said.
Meanwhile, the Iranian nation will decide the composition of the Sixth Majlis
on Feb. 18 and will put on a good show their presence in the scene.
In the meantime, different political parties, factions and groups which have
had a more active presence in the political scene during the past two years
are using the final days left to the election to introduce the future plans,
programs and policies of their candidates so that by securing the needed
votes they are able to materialize their slogans.
The TEHRAN TIMES conducted an opinion poll from people and evidence shows
that the more closer we get to the elections, the 2nd Khordad personalities
and groups are gaining more popularity amongst the people.
But, it can be said that the atmosphere which has prevailed the country
during the past months has become one in which a blind eye has been turned on
the most important problems of the people and this has resulted in a cold
feeling of the people toward the radical groups of the two factions.
The people will now elect people who will make decisions based on national
interests and not factional and group interests.
The TEHRAN TIMES conducted an opinion poll from 100 people 74 percent of whom
were students and the other 26 percent state employees with an average age of
25, to determine how many votes each party and faction would gain in the
It is noteworthy that 56 percent of the interviewees will vote for the 2nd
Khordad Front, 6 percent for the right wing, 8 percent for different groups,
5 percent for the religious-nationalists and 1 percent for the independent
candidates and 24 percent will not participate in the elections.
Also the prediction of these interviewees about the future speaker of Majlis
is as follows: 51 percent say Hashemi Rafsanjani, 12 percent Mahdi Karrubi,
20 percent Seyed Mohammadreza Khatami, 2 percent Majid Ansari and 1 percent
Ahmad Borqani and 14 percent could not predict who would be the future
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:11:29 EST
Subject: Clinton Ignores Iran's Terms, for Resumption of Ties & Talks in Air
Clinton Ignores Iran's Terms, for Resumption of Ties & Talks in Air
TEHRAN TIMES POLITICAL DESK
TEHRAN President Bill Clinton said on Monday that whether Iran and the United
States can end their 21-year "estrangement" depended in part on the outcome
of Iranian parliamentary elections to be held on Friday, Reuters reported
Clinton also told CNN in an "ONLINE" interview he hoped Iranian reformers
would not suffer for talking to the United States, which has sought without
success for two years to open up a formal dialog with the Iranian government.
Political pundits here scoffed at what Clinton said and referred to the
stances of Iran for resumption of diplomatic relations with the U.S.
"The U.S. has a history of oppression in Iran and this was the reason the
Founder of the Islamic Republic dubbed that country Great Satan," one
"Iran hard currency in billions of dollars has been frozen by the U.S. and
spare parts with million of dollars are in the stores of the United States,"
he said and pointed out that if the U.S.
really wants to show goodwill, it has to release all Iranian assets.
Secondly, the same U.S. should publicly apologize the Iranian for what they
have done against this nation, he said.
According to the same dispatch of Reuters, separately, the U.S.
State Department on Monday said it saw "key elements" of a free and fair
contest in Iran despite the vetting which has disqualified more than 10
percent of prospective candidates in Friday's parliamentary election.
The State Department officials were sleeping. Even the worst enemies of the
Islamic Republic never raised voice that the Iranian elections were rigged.
"We like to see these elections," Clinton told CNN. "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." "I'm still hoping that can materialize," he said. "A
lot of that is now in the hands of the Iranian people and their elections and
also the leaders of Iran." "Mr. Clinton, don't worry, the people and the
leaders of Iran know better what to do and they don't need your advice," said
While noting that some of Iran's leaders do not want a dialog with the United
States, which has not had diplomatic relations with Tehran since 1979.
"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," Clinton added.
"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." Western
analysts believe the elections could mark a turning point in a gradual move
away from the radicalism of Iran's 1979 revolution and the U.S. State
Department chose to accent the positive when assessing how Iran has organized
"What they say radicalism, the Western analysts simply forget was a message
to the oppressed to stand against the oppressors," one analyst said and
pointed out that the same is still true and the goals of the Islamic
Revolution are intact.
"Clearly there is a freer press in Iran than there ever has been before.
Clearly there is a lively political culture. Clearly candidates from
different orientations are able to run," State Department spokesman James
Rubin told reporters.
"It's really strange that Rubin has come to know the reality on the ground in
respect of Iran," the same Iranian analyst commented and said sooner is the
better.' "There are certainly key elements of a free and fair election in the
sense of the free press and the different views being put forward by
different candidates," he added.
The United States will look into the question of vetting candidates, which
tends to work against reformers, he added.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said last week the United States
hoped the elections would help bring the two countries together.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:13:25 EST
Subject: China, Iran Ties Friendly in All Areas
China, Iran Ties Friendly in All Areas
TEHRAN TIMES POLITICAL DESK
TEHRAN Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in Beijing Monday that Iran
and China have friendly ties in all political, economic and cultural areas.
Zhu Banjzao who was talking to the reporters on the forthcoming visit of his
country's foreign minister to Iran said that both countries are supporting a
multipolar world and that the improvement of ties between the two sides is in
interest of both nations as well as the world and Asia.
He called the visit of Tan Jiaxuan to Iran "very useful" for both countries.
On the recent CIA claims, he underlined that the visit will not at all
include bilateral military cooperation.
The CIA had recently said that the visit will be for the talks on the
purchase of weapons.
He also condemned the recent attack by the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq
Organization on a Tehran street.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:15:08 EST
Subject: GC Ready to Announce Reasons for Disqualification of Candidates
GC Ready to Announce Reasons for Disqualification of Candidates
TEHRAN POLITICAL DESK
TEHRAN Guardian Council (GC) announced yesterday that it is ready to inform
the reasons for the disqualification of Sixth Majlis candidates to them.
The council has already informed the reasons for the rejection of the
candidates to them, still if there are any candidates who have not been
informed they can contact the council, it said.
There were some candidates who were not eligible according to law, it said
adding, but there are some misunderstandings about this issue.
For instance, some candidates did have the required educational qualification.
Some of the rejected candidates contacted the council, defended themselves
and were announced qualified, it added. The council has tried its best to
abide by the law, it said.
Some 38 million people are eligible to cast their votes in the upcoming
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:16:33 EST
Subject: WHO Representative: Iran Successful in Carrying Out Health Plans
WHO Representative: Iran Successful in Carrying Out Health Plans
TEHRAN The representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to Iran
Khalifeh Bileh Mahmoud said here Tuesday that Iran has been successful in
carrying out health programs and singled out the role of the Iranian Blood
Transfusion Service (IBTS) as particularly commendable.
Touring IBTS facilities, he also called for use of the organization's
capacity to transfer blood to the Central Asian countries.
Meeting the Director General of IBTS Mohammad Taqikhani, Mahmoud expressed
satisfaction with the level of services rendered to patients by the
organization and called for training of similar regional entities by IBTS.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:36:35 EST
Subject: Rights group says Iranian polls freer than before
Rights group says Iranian polls freer than before
DUBAI, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A U.S.-based human rights group said campaigning
for Iran's parliamentary election on Friday was notably freer than in
previous polls, even though many candidates had been barred on religious
``The atmosphere surrounding the current parliamentary election campaign in
Iran is notably freer than the last time around, in March 1996,'' the New
York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement received by Reuters on
``But a number of human rights issues still impede a truly free and fair
election in the Islamic republic, and little has changed in the legal
framework by which rights are protected in Iran,'' it added.
Human Rights Watch said the vetting process, in which more than 10 percent of
prospective candidates were disqualified by unelected hardline Guardian
Council of clerics and jurists, had not changed since the last election.
``There has been no change in the essentially arbitrary process of excluding
candidates on the basis of their religion or political beliefs,'' it said.
``Although this time around Iran's parliamentary elections offer more of a
choice to the voters, albeit within the narrow confines of clerical rule,
there has been no substantial improvement in legal protection of the right to
take part in public affairs.''
Human Rights Watch said many newspapers were taking more independent stands
than in previous years.
``Newspapers are the primary mobilising tool of reformists. Many newspapers
today take independent editorial positions and hold all parts of the
government to scrutiny and criticism.
``However, the relative autonomy that the Iranian press currently enjoys does
not rest on any firm basis of legal protection of the right to freedom of
expression, nor even of respect of Iran's own press laws,'' it said.
The group also said dissidents and critics continued to face arbitrary
detention, unfair trial and other restrictions.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:38:26 EST
Subject: Polls put 'Iran for All Iranians' to the test
Polls put 'Iran for All Iranians' to the test
By Jonathan Lyons
TEHRAN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - President Mohammad Khatami and his reformist
allies put their promise of pluralism before Iran's voters on Friday in the
most competitive parliamentary election since the early days of the Islamic
Beneath the surface of a bare-knuckle political fight lies a clash of
cultures and generations between the reform movement and a hardline
conservative establishment that has controlled Iran since the death of
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989.
Every aspect of the one-week campaign reveals this conflict. Not surprisingly
in an Islamic republic, it can be traced back to competing readings of Iran's
Shi'ite Moslem faith.
Conservative theologians and their political allies have clung to a monopoly
of religious interpretation, one that accords civic rights only to the chosen
``insiders'' at the expense of the so-called ``outsiders.''
The unelected hardline Guardian Council of senior clerics and Islamic jurists
used its absolute powers to bar prominent reformists, whom it branded
``outsiders,'' from the election.
Khatami's faction, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, struck back with a
deceptively simple slogan designed to neutralise the conservative approach:
``Iran for All Iranians.''
Front leaders hope this inclusive message will bring out the 38.7 million
eligible voters in record numbers and secure reformist control of the
290-seat parliament. They also want to replace personality politics with that
of parties and factions.
``In one sentence, our campaign is to change the political system of Iran to
such an extent that free and fair elections can be held,'' Mohammad Reza
Khatami, a leader of the Front and brother of the president, told an
enthusiastic campus rally.
``This will create real competition and foster civic institutions, so that
all Iranians will have a place in society.''
Conservatives say such talk masks the intent of the reformers to impose their
own monopoly on political life.
``You call on all Iranians to participate and want an Iran for all of
them...This is a beautiful slogan but you betray it when you cut down your
opponents and do not tolerate them in the next parliament,'' the conservative
daily Kayhan said.
This rhetorical divide has obscured key issues including the moribund economy
and future ties to arch-foe the United States. Many want to see these
addressed by the next parliament.
CULTURAL SONG CONTEST
It is also mirrored throughout campaigning in Tehran, the battleground for 30
seats, more than 10 percent of the total.
At one pro-reform rally on Tuesday, girls in full-length black chadors swayed
to pop music and whistled loudly as the boys, segregated in line with Iran's
Islamic social code, competed for their attention.
``Thirty million kids have been born since the (1979 Islamic) revolution,''
said Faezeh Hashemi, an incumbent pro-reform MP and daughter of two-term
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
``They have reached adolescence today and they want to get out and be
Such behaviour, repeated at other reformist campaign stops throughout the
week of campaigning, has nonplussed conservatives.
The hardline daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami denounced young people at an earlier
rally for indulging in such illicit pleasures as dancing, mixing of the sexes
and rhythmic clapping.
It also decried the ``bad hejab'' of many of the women who were violating
strict rules on veiling and female modesty.
But such high-profile culture wars cannot obscure the very real hardball
politics being practised by both sides.
Hardliners deployed the Guardian Council as a first line of defence against
leading reformers and ``religious nationalists'' who have been frozen out of
politics for almost two decades.
They have used their monopoly of state broadcasting to promote ex-president
Rafsanjani, running with joint support from centrists and conservatives.
There have also been scattered attacks by hardline vigilantes on pro-reform
rallies and campaign headquarters.
Meanwhile the reform movement, with a growing diversity of candidates, has
had to lean on many candidates in to withdraw in favour of colleagues so as
not to split the pro-Khatami vote.
With a strong pro-reform showing certain in Tehran, the reformists' ability
to obey that plea could shape their fortunes in the provinces and determine
the final result of the election.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:40:45 EST
Subject: Patriotism, not Islam, rules Iranian poll banners
Patriotism, not Islam, rules Iranian poll banners
By Paul Taylor
TEHRAN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Patriotism has replaced Islam as the key
vote-puller in largely apolitical party banners for Friday's Iranian
The red-white-and-green colours of the national flag, maps of Iran and
slogans promising security, prosperity and brotherly love have superseded the
militant Islamic battle cries that dominated the first 20 years of
Fewer Moslem clerics are running for office than four years ago, and fewer
are likely to be elected -- perhaps a reflection of Iranians' weariness with
Significantly, the best-known clerical candidate, ex-president Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, appears in some campaign advertisements without his turban.
In a nation run on strict Islamic rules and fed a diet of revolutionary
slogans for two decades, the striking thing about campaign propaganda is that
even the most hardline mullahs are soft-pedalling religion and playing up
The once fierce lions of Islam are posing as lambs.
``Clearly the regime has realised that Islam and ideology don't sell any
more. Even conservatives are using nationalism to attract people,'' said
political analyst Bijan Khajepour.
An association of conservative ex-MPs features a big map of Iran in the
national colours with the slogan ``A strong Majlis (parliament) is a system
responsive to the people.''
``Understanding -- solving people's problems'' is the slogan of the main
conservative Coalition of the Line of the Imam and the Leader, loyal to the
legacy of revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The hard-right Society of Militant Clergy, the most zealous Islamic purists,
have an almost identical motto: ``Understanding -- solving people's problems
in the sixth Majlis.''
The slogans seem aimed at softening the rough edges of politicians who stand
for strict enforcement of Islamic justice, the veil and a ban on most forms
of public entertainment.
In the absence of posters of the candidates, banned by the outgoing
conservative-dominated parliament, parties and electoral fronts can use only
symbols and slogans to appeal to voters on giant roadside banners.
Many banners seem bland at first sight, but analysts say they have hidden
meanings in Iran's opaque political discourse.
The centrist Executives of Construction party, probably the wealthiest bloc
thanks to construction contractors, uses Iran's highest peak, the snowy
5,671-metre (18,610-foot) Mount Damavand, and a field of poppies, the
The slogan in giant letters, ``Security, prosperity, freedom,'' sounds like
motherhood and apple pie, except that analysts say ``freedom'' is a recent
addition to the party lexicon.
The Executives, mainly technocrats, seem to be hoping to surf on the
libertarian wave that swept President Mohammad Khatami to power in 1997.
``IRAN FOR ALL''
The main pro-Khatami party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, seems to be
appealing to simple patriotism with the slogan ``Iran for All Iranians --
spirituality, justice, freedom.''
But experts say this is an oblique rebuttal of rightist theologians' division
of Iranians into ``insiders'' who back the Islamic system and ``outsiders''
accused of opposing it.
``Spirituality'' is a recent buzzword. To some, it suggests a privatisation
of religion that prefigures a less stifling public enforcement of Islamic
Perhaps the simplest slogan has been posted by a new centre-right group,
Moderation and Development, which proclaims baldly: ``I want to live.''
The subliminal message appears to be that Iranians, caught between Islamic
enforcement and economic hardship, do not have much of a life at present.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:44:26 EST
Subject: Iran Jewish MP says accused Jews to be freed
Iran Jewish MP says accused Jews to be freed
By Mehrdad Balali
TEHRAN, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Iran's Jewish representative in parliament said on
Wednesday he had been promised that the case of 13 Jews arrested last year
for alleged spying for Israel would be favourably resolved and all would be
Manouchehr Eliasi told Reuters in a telephone interview: ``They have promised
me the case will be resolved in the near future. In 10 to 15 days the result
will be known.'' There was no immediate comment from the Iranian judiciary.
Asked if he had been assured that all the Jews would be freed, Eliasi said:
``Definitely so. They will be released.''
Asked if the espionage charges would be dropped, he said: ``Probably.''
The case, which has not yet come to court, has caused an international outcry
and hampered President Mohammad Khatami's drive for better ties with the
Diplomats say the issue has been a pawn in a power struggle between reformers
and conservatives in the Iranian establishment. Hardline clerics called last
year for the Jews to be executed.
Eliasi, running for re-election for the parliamentary seat reserved for the
Jewish minority in polls on Friday, declined to say exactly who had given him
the assurances or whether he had it in writing. ``You'd better believe me.
You will see,'' he said.
RELEASE TO FOLLOW INTENSIVE LOBBYING
The Jewish leader, who faces three opponents in the election, said he had
lobbied Iran's intelligence minister, the head of the revolutionary court and
senior government figures intensively for several months.
Three of the 13 suspects, in detention since early last year, were released
on bail on February 2. They included 16-year-old Navid Balazadeh, the
youngest of the defendants.
At the time, judiciary spokesman Hossen Mir-Mohammad Sadeqi said the suspects
would go on trial in the southern city of Shiraz, the centre of the alleged
spy ring, within several weeks. A date has still not been announced.
Israel and the United States, Iran's arch enemies, deny any links to the
case. Human rights organisations and Western governments have expressed
growing concern over the fate of the 13, fearing they will be denied a fair
Khatami, who has made the rule of law one of his central slogans, has
publicly taken responsibility for protecting the rights of Iran's official
religious minorities, which include Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters on a visit
to London last month that the Jews would get a fair, public trial.
A senior Western diplomat said a face-saving outcome could well be a trial on
lesser charges in which some of the suspects might be acquitted and the rest
given sentences equivalent to the time they have already served in prison.
The case has rattled the roughly 30,000 Jews remaining in Iran, who have
largely been left in peace since late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini declared them a protected minority after the 1979 Islamic
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:52:16 EST
Subject: THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION'S IMPACT ON THE LEGAL AND SOCIAL STATUS OF
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:58:09 EST
Subject: Arabs see democracy lessons in Iran polls
Arabs see democracy lessons in Iran polls
CAIRO (Reuters) - The prospect of a victory for moderates in Iran's
elections is riveting the Arab world, whose destiny was profoundly altered
by the 1979 Islamic revolution.
"A radical Iran inspired radical Islamists. A moderate Iran will inspire the
moderates," Egyptian political sociologist Ibrahim Saadeddin told Reuters.
"Secular Arabs and moderate Islamists alike are looking with hope to the
"A victory for the moderates will bring Iran back into the international
mainstream and it will be good for the emerging democracies of the Arab
world. It will show that even radical regimes can evolve into something more
moderate and acceptable."
Arab analysts caution that reformist President Mohammad Khatami might not
win a landslide victory in Friday's parliamentary election and say key
figures of the revolution, such as former President Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, will endure.
They say the presence of Farsi nationalists in Khatami's disparate coalition
does not herald any lessening of traditional antipathies between Iran and
its Arab neighbors.
But the significance of the struggle between Khatami's supporters and
hardline clerics, as well as Iran's experiment in combining Islam with
democracy, is lost on no one.
In Algeria, torn apart by conflict since the military blocked an imminent
Islamist election victory in 1992, moderates said the polls in Iran could
entrench pluralism there, smooth Tehran's relations with the West and be a
model for the Muslim world.
"The Iran experience shows that Muslims can build a free and democratic
government if they are allowed to express their will," said Slimane Chenine,
a spokesman for the moderate Islamist-oriented Movement for a Peaceful
Society, a junior partner in the Algerian government.
"The transformation in Iran is part of the chain of changes in the Muslim
world toward more open, pro-democracy societies," he said.
An official in Yemen, the only Arabian peninsula nation with an elected
president, echoed that view.
"Islam is the first religion to introduce the principle of shura
(consultation) which is what democracy now is based on. Iran is witnessing a
democratic experience that is worth admiring and following," said foreign
ministry under-secretary Ghalib Ali Jameel.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah 21 years ago, many Arabs
rejoiced at the humiliating blow he dealt to Iran's then allies, the United
States and Israel.
In addition to upsetting the regional balance of power, Khomeini shook the
Muslim world by installing a theocratic Islamic state that challenged
governments of all stripes, from conservative Gulf monarchies and
pro-Western moderates in Egypt and Jordan to the secular rulers of Algeria,
Iraq, Syria and non-Arab Turkey.
"Just as the Khomeini revolution had great repercussions, so defeat for the
hardliners in Iran will have the opposite effect," argued former Egyptian
diplomat Hussein Amin.
"This was the first instance of an Islamic regime in power, the major
example, and it has clearly failed to achieve the results that its
supporters dreamed of," he said.
Khomeini's bold vision invigorated Islamist militants everywhere -- at least
before the bloody 1980-88 war with Iraq sapped Iran's revolutionary energy.
Shi'ite Muslim rifts with Sunni Muslim orthodoxy also diminished its impact,
or even, as in Pakistan, led to murderous Shi'ite-Sunni feuds.
"It's been clear since the early 1990s that the Islamic revolution was
severely wounded by the Iraq war and lost its appeal by its rejection of
dialogue with Sunni Islam, especially the Muslim Brotherhood," argued
Mohamed el-Sayid Said, deputy director of Cairo's Al-Ahram Center for
Yet the Islamic revolution combined with the fall-out from the Afghan war to
succour radical groups that became the scourge of many an Arab government
but, in the end, failed to topple them.
Arab militants, many of them trained by the CIA to help kick Soviet troops
out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, returned in the 1990s to take up arms
against the entrenched rulers of Egypt and Algeria, combat Israelis in the
West Bank and Gaza, or join the armed struggles of Muslims in Bosnia,
Chechnya and elsewhere.
In Egypt, their campaign seems all but over, at a cost of 1,200 lives and
harsh repression by security forces. They appear to be a waning force in
Algeria, although violence there has already killed an officially estimated
100,000 people and is continuing.
In the Arab world, only Syria, obsessed by its Baathist rivals in Baghdad,
forged a strategic alliance with Iran that survived both Gulf wars and
fostered Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah guerrillas, now the sharpest
thorn in Israel's flesh.
Hizbollah is asserting a new role as a political party in Lebanon, where
elections -- despite Syria's grip on real power -- provide a semblance of
democracy rare in Arab countries.
A Lebanese Shi'ite activist described Iran's elections as an exciting show
of democracy unusual for the Muslim world.
"What distinguishes these elections is that they are happening in a highly
ideological regime, which describes itself as the shadow of Allah on earth,
and yet it allows the voices of dissent to be heard," he said.
A Khatami triumph could discomfit Syria and Hizbollah if this hastens better
ties with Khomeini's arch-foe, the United States, at a sensitive moment in
Middle East peace-making, Said argued.
"A full pro-reform victory, warmer dialogue and the possible restoration of
diplomatic ties with the U.S. will mean Iran giving up Hizbollah and harsh
criticism of Israel," he said.
For Gulf Arab governments that felt endangered in Khomeini's heyday, Iran's
dispute with the United Arab Emirates over three Gulf islands remains a
touchstone for improved relations.
"The elections will not change Iran's position on the islands...But if the
reformist camp wins the elections there will be an improvement in media
pronouncements and political dogma. This will lessen the tension," a UAE
Iran and the UAE have a long-standing dispute over the strategic islands of
Abu Musa and the Lesser and Greater Tunbs, located near major shipping lanes
at the mouth of the Gulf. The islands are controlled by Iran but also
claimed by the UAE.
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:03:03 EST
Subject: Iran's right says Islam in danger at polls
Iran's right says Islam in danger at polls
TEHRAN, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Iran's conservative clerics, seeking to
forestall a victory for President Mohammad Khatami's reformers in Friday's
parliamentary elections, warned voters on Tuesday that the country's Islamic
values were in danger.
Newspapers close to the traditionalists who dominate the outgoing parliament
painted a picture of moral decay among young people and women, the most avid
supporters of the president's political and cultural liberalisation drive.
The newspapers denounced fraternisation by male and female students,
singing, dancing and immodest dress at reformist campaign rallies, and
warned that old enemies were plotting to exploit Iran's growing freedom of
"Liberals, monarchists and Marxists are still present in Iran. Although they
are a minority, they are looking for an opportunity to fish in these
troubled waters," hardline Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi was quoted
as saying by the daily Qods.
The Jomhury-e Eslami daily assailed a weekend youth rally by the pro-Khatami
Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) at a Tehran sports stadium.
"Young men and women were clapping along with the music and moving their
bodies harmoniously" -- a euphemism for dancing, banned since the 1979
The newspaper said another IIPF rally in the Gulf port city Bandar Abbas
ended in a drunken brawl in which a young man was stabbed to death. A
resident confirmed the incident occurred.
SINGING, MAKEUP DENOUNCED
The right-wing daily Kayhan said a student meeting of the pro-Khatami May 23
Front in Karaj, west of Tehran, degenerated into unbridled singing and
"Young women wore heavy makeup and had inappropriate hejab (Islamic dress).
At the end of the meeting, the girls mixed with the boys and cheered the
candidates," it wrote with disgust.
Cheering, applauding and whistling are regular features of pro-Khatami
rallies while traditionalists chant religious slogans and blessings to show
approval of a speaker.
To limit expected gains by the popular president's followers, the outgoing
parliament imposed tight restrictions on electioneering, and conservative
clerics are appealing to traditional Moslems to vote as a religious duty.
They have also sought with some success to drive a wedge between centrists
and more radical reformers.
Friday's vote is the first parliamentary contest in which political parties
have vied for some 38.7 million votes.
A massive 6,000 candidates are contesting the 290 seats in Friday's first
round, with multiple-member constituencies in the main cities giving voters
a bewildering array of choices. Those who win 25 percent of the vote are
elected on the first ballot.
RIGHT PINS HOPES ON RAFSANJANI
The key to the right's damage-control strategy is former president Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, backed by the centrist Executives of Construction party,
which has several seats in Khatami's cabinet, and by most conservative
Mines and Metals Minister Eshaq Jahangiri, an Executives member, said in a
newspaper interview he was sure Rafsanjani would be elected speaker of the
new assembly and would be an asset to Khatami in promoting reform while
reining in radicals.
Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Ataollah Mohajerani, a key figure in
Khatami's liberalisation of public life, also endorsed Rafsanjani and
accused leftists of intolerance towards one of the fathers of the Islamic
Analysts say the wily Rafsanjani, a close aide to the late revolutionary
leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, offers Khatami the advantage of
containing a potential conservative backlash.
But the most outspoken reformers have denounced Rafsanjani as an opportunist
who favoured croney capitalism and presided over abuses by the feared
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:04:16 EST
Subject: Iran Moderates Seek Place in Next Parliament
Iran Moderates Seek Place in Next Parliament
By Jonathan Lyons
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's biggest centrist party claimed the mantle of reform
on Monday, reminding voters four days before key parliamentary polls that it
had paved the way in 1996 for today's budding political pluralism.
Leaders of the Executives of Construction recalled their struggle to create
an independent political force four years ago in an atmosphere of stifling
political conformity and conservative domination.
``Our movement was a necessity at that time, so we entered the political
arena. We had to travel through a minefield because no one else would do so
in those days,'' Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the party's leader, told a news
Even Mohammad Khatami, now the popular pro-reform president but at that time
on the margins of politics, refused to join the new group as a candidate for
the last parliament, citing the high probability of failure, Karbaschi said.
``This shows what a big role we played in 1996. We really sacrificed
everything, and we were under severe pressure.''
Karbaschi was a widely admired mayor of Tehran who transformed the capital
after the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988.
He has just been pardoned and emerged from prison after being convicted of
corruption in a trial his supporters said was politically rigged by
The Executives are hoping their reformist legacy will serve them well when
more than 38 million eligible voters go to the polls in the first round of
balloting for 290 seats in the expanded legislature.
New Political Landscape
But the political landscape facing the Executives, founded largely by
technocrats in the cabinet of then-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has
changed radically since the last parliamentary contest.
President Khatami's own political faction, the Islamic Iran Participation
Front, has outflanked them on the left with an ambitious program of
accelerated political, social and cultural reforms.
The Executives are no longer the only alternative to the conservative
establishment, something that served them well in the last race for
parliament but which cannot help them this time.
One new moderate faction, created just 10 weeks ago, said voters were looking
for an end to political divisions.
``The people are tired of extremism,'' Majid Qasemi, former central banker
and now a leader of the Party of Moderation and Development, told a news
``They need a calm atmosphere. Therefore, we must refrain from extremist
policies and apply moderate ones.'' The party has proposed its own list of
130 names nationwide.
The Executives may also pay a price for the controversy surrounding
Rafsanjani, their patron saint.
The former president is running for a seat in Tehran, unleashing an angry
barrage from the Left that sees his tenure as president in 1989-1997 as a
sell-out to the conservatives.
At a pro-reform rally on Sunday, students were openly disdainful of
``The students are awake and they hate Hashemi (Rafsanjani),'' activists
chanted despite attempts by organizers to calm them down.
Karbaschi brushed off the challenge of winning the huge youth vote, which
analysts say may determine the outcome of close races in many constituencies.
``We are not very interested in having a big competition with other parties
to stop them from attracting the youth,'' he said.
``If they don't like what we say or think, they can go to other parties. All
we care about is political optimism. This will be very helpful in creating
democracy in society
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:05:40 EST
Subject: women expected to win more than 20 percent of seats in 6th majlis
women expected to win more than 20 percent of seats in 6th majlis
tehran, feb. 15, irna -- 2.5 percent of hopefuls in last year's
nationwide islamic city/village council elections were women
but of the total council members elected 7.7 percent were women.
one of the interesting things about council elections is that
it happens that in a number of small cities the percentage of women
finding their way to councils is higher than that of men. for
example, in saveh, southwest of tehran, four out of five councilors
if the ratio of women and percentage of female hopefuls
finding their way to councils, which stood at 300 percent, are
repeated in the sixth majlis elections then women would capture more
than 20 percent of the seats in the 6th majlis.
at present 7.3 percent of candidates for the sixth majlis
elections are women.
moreover, a comparison of past and present hopefuls indicates
that although women in qom province had the least presence on the
scene of councils elections, with their 0.6 percent share out of the
total number of hopefuls, still they obtained the highest share in
total number of candidates elected by obtaining a 17 percent share of
the total number.
the may 23 presidential elections in 1997 was perhaps the first
to demonstrate the role women played in the gender equation of
elections and the city/village council elections was the first
example of the power women have in effectively changing the
composition of elected bodies.
the sixth majlis elections sets a new scene for activity and
fruition of women's demands and one should wait to analyze their
::irna 15/02/2000 14:48
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:09:30 EST
Subject: Iran Election Rally Signals Change
Iran Election Rally Signals Change
By AFSHIN VALINEJAD Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - In a rare show of public gaiety in Islamic Iran,
thousands of young Iranians clasped hands and danced to Westernized music on
Tuesday at an election rally for a reformist candidate.
Dancing in public places, even in sexually segregated groups as occurred
Tuesday, is virtually unheard of in Iran. The event showed how many young
Iranians yearn for public freedom in a country where nearly every aspect of
life is dictated by Islamic laws.
Social freedoms form the bedrock of the campaign by reformist candidates in
Friday's elections for the 290-member parliament, or Majlis. Pitted against
the reformists, who are backed by moderate President Mohammad Khatami, are
conservatives who want to maintain the strict Islamic rule imposed after the
1979 Islamic revolution brought the clergy to power.
During Tuesday's election rally, a band began playing Farsi-language pop
songs after a brief speech by Faezeh Hashemi, a female reformist candidate.
As the tempo got faster, about 5,000 young people - in separate groups of
males and females - swayed to the music, held hands, raised their arms in the
air and waved them to and fro.
Some conservative voters who turned up for the rally at the Shiroudi
basketball arena in central Tehran were shocked by the singing and dancing.
``This is not proper according to our Islamic culture. It is un-Islamic for
young girls and boys to be dancing together. I am afraid taboos will be
broken if this liberal type of campaign continues,'' said Taqi Alizadeh, a
Fearing the music would invite a crackdown by police, who are under the
control of hard-liners, the organizers of Tuesday's rally asked the musicians
to leave after about 30 minutes. Although public concerts are not banned,
If it were up to the reformists, Iranian women would be able to ride bicycles
freely in the streets and venture outdoors without the obligatory head-to-toe
covering, or hijab - activities conservatives condemn as un-Islamic.
Speaking to reporters after the rally, Hashemi said women ``have to break
this taboo and start riding bicycles in public.''
Hashemi, the daughter of Iran's former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, even
went so far as to say the Islamic hijab should not be obligatory.
``I personally like the hijab, but I don't see the logic in obliging people
to wear the hijab. Women should decide whether or not to wear it,'' she said.
At stake in Friday's election are issues beyond women's wardrobes and their
mode of transport.
The hard-liners have proposed a law that would allow the arrest of
journalists who write articles deemed critical of the ruling clerics.
Currently only newspaper managers have been arrested and jailed for
publishing offending articles. Several newspapers also have been closed.
The proposed law will be voted on by the new parliament, which convenes in
Reformists have vowed to defeat the bill and scrap special clerical courts
they contend favor clerics in their disputes with ordinary Iranians. The
courts have also been used to quell criticism of the ruling clergy.
``If I get elected I will vote against the proposed press restrictions and
for greater freedom of the press,'' reformist candidate Jamileh Kadivar said.
But even with a clear majority, reformists will not be able to make all the
changes they are promising.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the final say on all
matters. He can veto the president, and controls the army, judiciary, and the
state-run radio and television.
But the hard-liners are also worried by the popularity of Khatami, who since
his landslide election in 1997, has allowed greater press and social freedoms
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 11:29:38 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Fwd: United States/Israel
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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 23:28:26 -0600 (EST)
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STRATFOR.COM's Global Intelligence Update - 15 February 2000
By The Internet's Most Intelligent Source of International News &
Check out Stratfor's Executive Black Book "A Revolution
in the Dissemination of Business Intelligence"
WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR WORLD
Questions Arise Over Pipeline Project
Musharraf Showing Afghan-based Militants the Way to Kashmir
Romanian Cyanide Spill Poisons More Than Environment
Global Intelligence Update
15 February 2000
Push for Peace Process May Tie U.S. Hands in Middle East
On Feb. 14, the Jerusalem daily Haaretz reported that Israel and
the United States are developing a joint defense pact. Under the
pact, Washington would actively guarantee Israeli security. The
pact is part of an effort to secure a formalized peace between
Israel and Syria. But to secure a peace agreement, the United
States may commit itself to a long-term policy that would undermine
its relations with Arab countries. This would ultimately limit the
ability of the United States to develop and maintain relations with
The United States and Israel are discussing a joint defense pact,
according to a Feb. 14 report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The
pact would reportedly obligate the United States to defend Israel
in the event of attack. Meant to facilitate the stalled, formal
peace talks between Israel and Syria, the pact, however, could
leave the United States in an unfavorable position in the region.
It will effectively bind the foreign policies of the two nations,
strain Washington's relations with Arab countries and dramatically
limit Washington's future policy options.
The completion of the Israeli-Syrian peace process has become a
major objective of the Clinton administration. U.S. President Bill
Clinton himself has taken an active role in leading the
negotiations, inviting the leadership of both former antagonists to
the United States, mediating the talks and offering incentives to
Israel for a formalized peace agreement.
Apparently to move the stalled talks along, U.S. ambassador Martin
Indyk has reportedly proposed that the United States commit to
defend Israel, particularly in case of an attack involving weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) and long-range ballistic missiles. So
far, both the Pentagon and the State Department have refused to
comment on the existence of the negotiations. The agreement would
also reportedly place U.S. logistical bases on Israeli soil to
expedite U.S. military operations in the event of attack. The
United States, however, does not need pre-positioned supplies to
launch a retaliatory strike in the event of an attack.
Instead, the defense pact seems more like an increasingly large
package of American incentives meant to get Israel to keep the
talks alive. Unfortunately, the incentive may be more than the
United States can afford. The pact would substantially increase the
U.S. commitment to Israel's continued security, which now stands at
$3 billion annually - more aid than any other country. Other
reported initiatives include placing U.S. peacekeeping forces in
the Golan Heights and Israel's recent request for $17 billion in
military aid, including cruise missile technology. However,
Washington has been careful to avoid firm security commitments in
order to keep from antagonizing Arab nations.
The United States already provides Israel with aid, weapons and
technology but a newly formalized defense pact would tie U.S.
foreign policy to Israeli foreign policy. If conflicts between
Israel and Arab nations arise, the United States would be forced to
side with Israel - regardless of U.S. interests or relations with
the Arab nations involved. The relationship would not work;
Israel's foreign policy is often in direct conflict with the United
States. Israel is known to have sold weapons and technology to U.S.
adversaries such as China and Iran.
In the Arab world, Washington's working - if tenuous - relations
would be further endangered. Already, Persian Gulf nations have
called for the United States to lower its military profile in the
region. And Iran and Iraq have long clamored for the complete
withdrawal of U.S. forces. By building a formalized, bilateral
defense agreement with Israel, Washington ensures hostility from
Forged during the heat of the Cold War, the U.S.-Israeli
relationship has since cooled. No longer of vital importance to
U.S. strategic interests in the region, the peace process has
become a hot-button issue in Washington largely due to the fact
that it's an election year with an outgoing president who wants to
leave behind a legacy. In the hope of formalizing an already
tenuous peace, Washington may undercut its long-term interests in
the region, and ultimately re-formulate its entire policy in the
(c) 2000, WNI, Inc.
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End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 15 Feb 2000 to 16 Feb 2000 - Special issue