Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 - Special issue
There are 12 messages totalling 1808 lines in this issue.
Topics in this special issue:
1. Don't Worry About Vote-Rigging!
2. Abedini Praises Iran's Participation in Sudanese Projects
3. Iran, China Express Determination to Bolster Economic Cooperation
4. Cabinet Reshuffling
5. Marvi to Handle Case of Serial of Murders
6. People Should Be Informed of Officials' Performance
7. A Research on 10 Tehran Newspapers
8. The Real Name of Caucasus's Azerbaijan is Aran
9. mirsalim: dissemination of news vital for boosting relations
10. Jumping the gun
11. Iran election 'not a foreign policy statement'
12. LARGE TURNOUT IN THE ELECTION..
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:49:58 EST
Subject: Don't Worry About Vote-Rigging!
Don't Worry About Vote-Rigging!
HAMSHAHRI * This Municipality-affiliated daily quoted Mostafa
Tajzadeh, head of the Electoral Headquarters, as saying that the people
should not worry about vote-rigging because vote counts is carefully
monitored by the representatives of the governor, the Interior Ministry
inspectors and the Guardian Council. He added that the final election results
for Tehran would be announced by weekend.
Interpretation Beyond Religion
IRAN * Abdullah Nouri, who was allowed to leave prison for a few days,
said political reforms would not direct the society toward secularism as
conservatives believe. The interpretation of reformers from religious
principles is more comprehensive that of the conservatives. When deciding
whether or not relations should be established with the United States, he
said, all important aspects should be taken into account, most of all our
The leading reformist, Abdullah Nouri, was sentenced by Special Court for
Clergy to spend five years in jail on charges of religious and political
Trust in IIPF
ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily quoted Morteza Nabavi,
managing director of the rightist daily Resalat, as saying that the citizens
Tehran trusted the list of candidates offered by the Islamic Iran Partnership
Front (IIPF) and voted for them while hoping that the next Majlis would
cooperate more with the administration. The Fourth Majlis, he said, was
portrayed as standing against the presidential reforms and the last parliament
lack of cooperation with the administration was falsely considered to be
behind the people's problems.
Invitation to Protest Rally
SOBH-E EMROOZ * This leftist daily reported that a group of 30
theology students in Urmia held a protest rally holding black flags and
wearing shrouds for what they said were gross violations of people's votes
in Urmia. They also invited others to joint them. The reason behind the rally
has not been clarified yet.
SOBH-E EMROOZ * People of Semnan sent a letter to the Ministry of
Interior demanding that the votes be counted again because of the possible
Add up Our Votes!
SOBH-E EMROOZ * Tehran governor's office announced that it can not
comment one way or another whether Faezeh Hashemi had requested that
her votes be added to those of his father, the former president Hashemi
Rafsanjani. The letter could not be made public even if there is one, the
governor's office noted.
Faezeh Denies Reports
HAM-MIHAN * This daily close to the Executives of Construction Party
(ECP) reported that Faezeh Hashemi has denied the reports that she had
sent a letter to the Governor's office demanding that votes cast in her favor
be added to his father's. "Those who are putting out the words that my
father is in the 33rd place now try to make the people believe that if his
votes were to increase, there would have to be vote fraud," she pointed out.
Armin Praises Rafsanjani
SOBH-E EMROOZ * Mohsen Armin, member of the Islamic Revolution's
Mojahedin Organization, said he did not expect Akbar Rafsanjani to take
such a "big political risk" and nominate himself for the Parliament. However,
he added that Rafsanjani's elimination from the political scene would not be
a pleasant thing because he has a lot of capabilities.
A Big "No" to Conservatives
ARYA * This pro-reform daily quoted Sadeq Zibakalam, university
professor, as saying that the people's vote in favor of the candidates
belonging to IIPF, ECP or other parties was actually a big "no" to
"The nation did not care about the programs nor the policies of these
parties. The only concern of the people was that rightists should not be
allowed to enter the Majlis. This attitude on the part of the nation may help
political development in the short-term, but it would not be effective in the
Rafsanjani Should Thank Opponents!
ARYA * Abbas Abdi, an IIPF's member, said Rafsanjani is not a regular
person. "He should have withdrawn his candidacy as soon as he felt that the
public opinion is not in his favor. Rafsanjani should not even attend the
Expediency Council anymore. He should thank his opponents for they
expressed their feelings in a democratic way, and not through other
Gifts from Tehranis to Reformist Jailers
FATH * This pro-Khatami daily wrote in an article that the high number of
votes for Alireza Nouri, brother of Abdullah Nouri, and Jamileh Kadivar,
sister of Mohsen Kadivar, are actually gifts from the Tehrani people to
those who are in jail because of their thinking.
Assassination Attempt on MP
JAVAN * Hamid Reza Taraqi, conservative Majlis deputy, escaped an
assassination attempt unhurt, this rightist daily reported.
Rulings for Students Approved
ENTEKHAB * This rightist newspaper said Nemat Ahadi, the lawyer of
Akbar and Manouchehr Mohammadi [detained in relation to the July's
student demonstration], announced that the court rulings for the accused in
this case, which have been reported by the press, have been approved.
He added the case of Manouchehr Mohammad would be sent to the court
soon, while the death sentence for Akbar Mohammadi was confirmed.
Rafsanjani Will Get in!
ABRAR * This rightist daily quoted Ali Movahdi Savoji, rightist Majlis
deputy, as saying that Akbar Rafsanjani would certainly get into the Majlis
although he has not received high number of votes. He added that low
number of votes cast on one's behalf does not mean the person is incapable
or lacks resourcefulness.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:50:42 EST
Subject: Abedini Praises Iran's Participation in Sudanese Projects
Abedini Praises Iran's Participation in Sudanese Projects
IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK
TEHRAN-- Minister of Construction Jihad Mohammad Saeedi-Kia in a
meeting Monday with Sudanese deputy foreign minister, Hassan Abedini,
called for the expansion of economic cooperation between Tehran and
According to the public relations office of Construction Jihad Ministry, the
Sudanese official praised the development projects which are being
implemented by the Islamic Republic of Iran in his country.
Further, the two sides expressed hope that the 5th Session of Iran-Sudan
Joint Economic Commission would be held in Tehran next year, IRNA
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:51:06 EST
Subject: Iran, China Express Determination to Bolster Economic Cooperation
Iran, China Express Determination to Bolster Economic
IRAN NEWS ECONOMIC DESK
TEHRAN-- The visiting Chinese foreign minister, Tang Jiaxuan, met with
the Iranian oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, on Monday.
According to the Iranian Oil Ministry's public relations department, the two
sides discussed possible ways to boost cooperation between the two
countries' oil ministries in the Caspian Sea and the Central Asian region as
well as increasing the Islamic Republic's exports of crude oil and chemical
products to China.
Stressing the necessity for an "all-out expansion of Iran-China bilateral
relations," the Chinese FM said his country attaches utmost importance to
the economic and oil cooperation with Iran.
Meanwhile, Zanganeh voiced Tehran's readiness to boost ties with Beijing,
adding the cooperation with China is of great importance to his country
particularly in view of China's great market, IRNA reported.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:53:30 EST
Subject: Cabinet Reshuffling
By Our Staff Writer
TEHRAN Over-enthusiastic about their landslide victory in
Sixth Parliament, the Islamic Iran Participation Party
members are setting the momentum to win other packets of
power, one source told the TEHRAN TIMES.
He was referring to the recent meeting of the IIPP held
party leaders just after the Sixth Majlis elections to
party's proposals on the cabinet reshuffling to President
Mohmmad Khatami, he said.
The outcome of the meeting was a decision to ask Khatami
reshuffle his cabinet. The IIPP will suggest the sacking
ministers: Minister of Education Hossein Mozaffar,
Construction Jihad Mohammad Saeidi-Kia, and Minister of
Economic and Financial Affairs Hossein Namazi.
The source did not elaborate on the substitutes for the
The three ministers are known for their independence;
not affiliated to any faction. The cabinet is formed of
factions: The IIPP and the Executives of Construction
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:54:26 EST
Subject: Marvi to Handle Case of Serial of Murders
Marvi to Handle Case of Serial of Murders
By Our Staff Writer
TEHRAN The Military Judiciary Complex will soon hand over
case of serial murders to the Judiciary, an informed
The case of serial murders is the most complicated and at
same time most controversial one in the post-Islamic
In 1998 four dissident politicians and writers, Mohammad
Mokhtari, Mohammad Pouyandeh, Dariush Forouhar and
Parvaneh Forouhar were murdered by a group of rogue
elements of the Information Ministry.
The rouge elements were arrested after the Leader
Khamenei asked the officials to probe the case and
Khatami set up a committee to investigate the murders.
The mastermind behind the killings, Saeid Emami, once a
deputy information minister, committed suicide in a
by swallowing depilatory power.
The source talking to the TEHRAN TIMES said, the case
followed up by the Deputy Judiciary Chief, Hadi Marvi.
be no more in charge of the case.
Marvi is a close aid of President Khatami. When the case
former mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi was under
investigation, President Khatami appointed Marvi as his
representative to watch the process of investigation.
The source also said that Marvi has been appointed by
President Khatami as a special judge to issue rulings on
eavesdropping in vital cases.
At one stage President Khatami urged the Judiciary chief
play an active role to accelerate the pace of the
the murder case. Now the case is totally under the
Marvi responsible for it, the source said and expressed
that it will be completed as soon as possible.
Given Marvi's close relations with President Khatami, the
branches of government, that is, the Judiciary and
demonstrate a good cooperation to finalize the case, he
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:56:46 EST
Subject: People Should Be Informed of Officials' Performance
People Should Be Informed of Officials' Performance
By Mostafa Mahmoudi
TEHRAN Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance,
Sha'ban Shahidi Mo'addab, during the annual gathering of
Public Relations Association of Iran' elaborated on the
Majlis elections and the mass participation of the people
During the conference, Public Relations and
Shahidi said that the Iranians made an epic and showed
they are mature enough and like their system's
On the issue of the public relations Shahidi added that
lapse of two years from the President Mohammad Khatami's
presidency the issue of the public relations has not yet
He underlined the importance of the role of the public
and said that the body is to respond to the nation in an
Shahidi continued that the people are expecting the press
make them aware of the performance of the officials.
said "The media have not been successful in this
concluded that the elections showed that the people
clearly informed of the performances of the officials.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:05:49 EST
Subject: A Research on 10 Tehran Newspapers
A Research on 10 Tehran Newspapers
Payame Emruz [Today's Message]; Economic, Social & Cultural
Mar. 1998, No. 22
Word Count: 2208
Summary: The following is an interview with Dr. Naim Badiei, one of the
selected researchers of the year. The research has focused on the
differences between and similarities among the Tehran-based newspapers
from various aspects and with regards to the priority of subjects published
According to Dr. Badiei, studies show that these newspapers give first
priority to economic, trade and commercial subjects, second priority to
military issues and political violence and third priority to subjects related
arts, culture, recreation and sports. 20 percent of materials published by
these newspapers have been devoted to features, articles and interviews.
The main source of news feeding these newspapers are the Islamic Republic
News Agency (IRNA) and four prominent international news agencies.
These newspapers usually publish the same news.
"The structural analysis of the contents of the ten Tehran-based dailies,
aiming to study the similarities among and differences between these
newspapers" is the result of a research project implemented by Dr. Naim
Badiei, an assistant professor and head of the social communication group
at the Social Sciences College of Allama Tabatabaei University.
The results of this research work carried out by Dr. Badiei helped him win
the award as one of the ten model researchers of the year.
A common question we asked Mr. Badiei was that are our newspapers
really different from one another?
Q: What has been your aim in studying the structure of materials appearing
in our newspapers?
A: In this research we have reviewed the similarities among and differences
between the Iranian newspapers in terms of their focus on various issues
and subject priorities. We have also tried to scientifically examine this
generally accepted notion that our newspapers are all alike and to see
whether this notion is true or not.
Q: Are our newspapers really all alike?
A: In our study, we reached the conclusion that 79.1 percent of the
materials published in these ten newspapers in 1994 were news of everyday
events and analyses and interpretation of events constituted a small portion
of these materials.
As you know, in our country these newspapers use the same sources of
news. In other words, the most important sources of news for these
newspapers are the Islamic Republic News Agency and public relations
departments for domestic news and for major international news agencies
for foreign news. On the other hand, the focus of our newspapers is
somehow a directed focus and for this reason the banner headlines and first
page news on our newspapers are similar to one another and almost 20
percent of spaces on each newspaper remains for reports, features,
interviews, interpretations and analyses. It is in this domain that the
newspapers differ from one another.
Another thing that our newspapers have in common is that in choosing titles
and leads of news, our journalists attach highest importance to the factor of
reputation. It means who has done a thing or about whom a piece of news
is. This causes the newspapers to have almost similar headlines and leads.
Of course, our newspapers do not deal with various subjects in the same
manner. For example, the structure of news and the way they are presented
by such dailies as Hamshahri and Iran are different from those of other
dailies like Kayhan, Ettela'at and Resalat.
The dailies Hamshahri and Iran focus more on reports, interviews, articles
and editorials while the other dailies pay attention to news items.
Q: In general, what subjects are given most attention and what subjects are
given least attention by Iranian dailies?
A: The Tehran based dailies give first priority to economic, trade and
commercial news. After the economic subjects, military issues and political
violence and war occupy the most spaces. The third priority belong to the
subjects concerning arts, culture, recreation and sports. By contrast,
subjects related to education, human rights, science, health care,
development, judicial affairs, crimes and religious affairs are given less
Q: The fact that you have reached the conclusion in your studies that only
20 percent of materials being published by the press are related to reports,
articles and interviews, is a sign of weakness or strength?
A: No doubt that it is a sign of weakness, what our press is doing now
(dealing with events and ignoring the problems of the society) will create a
crisis for journalism in the society. Most of our newspapers would like to
say what happened without bothering to explain why and how those things
happened. The current function of our press is like that of radio and
television. Radio and television often tell us that something has happened or
when it has happened. But, it is in the press that we should find explanations
on why or how the incident has taken place. It is the press that can show
the connection between events and the people. As long as they fail to do so,
they won't be able to satisfy the needs of their readers. It is why our
newspapers do not have many readers. The truth is that in offering reports,
analyses and interpretations our newspapers do not act in the same manner
that people expect them to do. People expect the press to act as a means
for criticism. When newspapers are used for pro-government propaganda,
the other duty of the press in connection with criticism will be forgotten.
Based on the experiences of the past few years, if newspapers choose to
take side with certain factions that are not popular with people, they will
lose their readers.
Q: What is the reason for this?
A: One reason may be there are few qualified journalists who can write
editorials, file reports or conduct interviews. In the editorials of our
newspapers, we use mainly ready made news despatches. In other words,
instead of producing news we prefer to choose and cut down news
despatches and bulletins provide by the public relations departments, and
then put them together. This is while, innovation and production are the
foundations of journalism. To wait for news, particularly domestic news,
despatched by news agencies and to change their titles is not an innovative
journalistic work. This is why the newspapers should undergo
transformation in terms of news production. My emphasis on production of
reports, features, analyses and commentaries about events stems from this
Q: You have been teaching journalism for years. Can you say why we don't
have many good journalists.
A: In my opinion, this problem stems, to a large degree, from the attitude of
press managers to this profession. Since our press managers do not
differentiate between this profession and other professions, they do not care
for providing necessary facilities or solving problems. This attitude has
caused our journalists to be like other employees of the newspapers who
work within a certain period of time while journalism is a 24 hour job. To
this must be added the lack of proper training.
Limited facilities are at the disposal of higher education centers to train
journalists whereas elsewhere in the world students of journalism publish at
least one experimental publication per day or weekly through which they
can file reports, print news, write commentaries and conduct interviews.
Q: As you know, during the post revolution years, this idea was prevalent
among Iranian statesmen that the mass media in general and the newspapers
in particular can be used as a means to direct or change the public opinion.
Don't you think such an attitude has caused the newspapers not to be
welcomed so enthusiastically?
A: The public opinion is too ambiguous and too complex to be diverted in a
certain direction by the propaganda or information published by the mass
media. A clear example of this is the recent presidential election in the
country. As we witnessed, the publicity work sought to persuade the people
to do something but the people just did the opposite.
There are many factors effective in this arena and the mass media is only
one of these factors.
Q: How do you think we have treated the public opinion in general?
A: First we should ask ourselves whether we have cared about the public
opinion or not. I mean both the mass media and the statesmen. Second, has
the relationship between the people and the press been a reciprocal one?
In my opinion, the need to take the public opinion seriously and pay
attention to it in the politics was first taken into account after the May 23
presidential election. In the previous polling, the public opinion did not
a key role and for this reason those voting were put on a certain direction
from the very beginning. Therefore,, I think our statesmen now pay more
attention to the public opinion than they did before.
Of course, we know that not everything can be done through referendum.
The people do not always have complete information, neither do they
consider all aspects of an issue. This is why policy making cannot be based
on the public opinion. In such cases, the best we can do is to refer to the
public opinion of the experts.
But as for the reciprocal relationship between the press and the people or in
other words the reflection of the public opinion in the newspapers, the
newspapers will do good if they set forth the issues that interest their
audience. Each group of the audience have their own priorities. These
priorities are not fixed and always change.
If a newspaper focuses on political issues of the region and the world, while
the priority of its readers is economic, cultural, educational and medical
matters, it would be natural for the paper not to have a close relationship
with its readers.
Most of our newspaper are political papers. Now that nearly 20 years have
passed since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, political issues cannot
naturally be the first priority of people. Other issues have taken the place
political ones. The country has found its political form. Nobody is interested
any longer in arguments as to what the share of the government should be or
what changes should be made in it.
By contrast, the problems facing the youth such as occupation, education,
health care and in short the future of the young generation who makes up
over half of the population, have become of first priority. These problems
will undoubtedly grip the future governments.
Suppose that we offer foreign political materials to a young reader whose
prime concern is how to overcome the barrier of nationwide university
entrance examination. It will be natural for that young reader not to read
those materials. This is not all the problems we are facing. In many cases,
the political priorities of the press are determined by the statesmen and not
by the journalists themselves.
As a result, we see that a newspaper has deviated from its course. For this
reason, we believe that the degree of welcome accorded to a newspaper
depends on the extent that newspaper can meet the needs of its readers.
Q: Our mass media are said to be willing to show the situation of the world
worse than what it really is and the situation of the country better than it
really is. Have you mentioned this issue in your research?
A: No. We have not dealt with this issue directly. In order to do this, we
needed to exactly know what incidents had taken place in the world and
how they had been reflected in our press in a certain period of time. Of
course, our studies show that in choosing foreign news, our journalists pay
more attention to the news concerning violence, killing or disastrous events
while there exist a logical suspicion that not all events in the world are
violent or disastrous.
The problem may stem from this fact that the four major international news
agencies, which are the main sources of news for our newspapers, observe
the priorities of their own countries in choosing and broadcasting news. And
because the interests of a country like the United States lie in trouble
of the world, those news agencies prefer to broadcast news concerning
wars, conflicts and disputes. Unfortunately, in choosing news, we follow the
same priority of these news agencies, being quite unaware that in many
cases our priorities are different from theirs.
For this reason, the choice of negative news of the West concerning crimes,
massacres, murders and embezzlements might present a tarnished picture of
the world. Even if there is not really any malicious motives behind this, an
Iranian reader or TV watcher who is facing numerous problems, feel that
such news are aimed at remedying domestic wounds. However, we should
know that the failure to set forth the problems would not help solve those
problems. The experiences of the past few years lend proof to this claim.
By contrast, it has been experienced over and again that whenever people
are informed of the problems, they themselves contribute to find a solution
to those issues. It is here that we can speak about development journalism.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:06:57 EST
Subject: The Real Name of Caucasus's Azerbaijan is Aran
The Real Name of Caucasus's Azerbaijan is Aran
Oct. 1997, No. 53
Word Count: 3411
Editor's Note : For the purpose of distinguishing between the land of
Azarbaijan in Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, the names of the two
areas are spelled using different vowels, as underlined.
Summary: Dr. Enayatollah Reza is a celebrated researcher in the social
sciences, especially of historical subjects. His latest studies are focused on
the history of Azarbaijan and Aran. He asserts that, based on historical
texts, the real name of Caucasus's Azerbaijan is "Aran" and its former name
was changed for political reasons. In the following interview, he talks about
the content of his upcoming book titled "Azarbaijan, Aran and Albania".
Reza also responds to the accusations of Nooreddin Kianoory, the head of
the banned Toudeh Party, of which Reza used to be a member.
Q: Dr. Reza, you are practically the first Iranian scholar who has researched
on Aran and Caucasus's Albania and you have written a book on this.
Please explain your views regarding the name of Azerbaijan. Why do you
believe that there is only one Azarbaijan, the Azarbaijan of Iran, and that
there is no such land called Azerbaijan to the north of the Aras River?
A: Historically speaking, the territory in the Caucasus that lies to the
the Aras river, was never called Azerbaijan until the year 1918. Giving it
name created difficulties in the first half of the 20th century and in the
succeeding years, and these cannot be ignored. History, as well as the
works of ancient geographers and Islamic writers bear witness to the fact
that the land to the north of the Aras River, which is now known as
Azerbaijan, was known before as Albania (Alban). Classical writers, such
as Strabon and others, called this region Albania, Armenian, or Alvanak
(Aghvanak), while Iranians called it Aran. Aliyov, a historian in the former
Soviet Azerbaijan, in his article "Sources Relating the Ancient History of
Caucasus's Albania", wrote that in the Parthian era, the eastern part of the
Caucasus was called "Ardan". Greek materials referred to this place as
"Albania". Barthold, the famous Soviet scholar, believed that in the Islamic
era and, according to Arabic sources, this name has taken the forms of
"Al-ran" or "Aran", which probably is a transformation of the ancient
Parthian name "Ardan".
There is no reason to doubt that Aran was separate from Azarbaijan and
that the Aras River constituted the northern border of Azarbaijan, and Aran
had never been called Azerbaijan. The academician Barthold most clearly
mentioned the Aras River as lying between Azarbaijan and Aran or the
ancient Albania (Collected Works, Volume 7, Moscow, 1971, page 123).
Prior to the invention of the name Azerbaijan to designate Aran and
Shirvan, Tzarist Russian sources recognized only one Azarbaijan, the true
Azarbaijan. The first volume of the Russian Encyclopedia (pages 212 and
213), which was published in St. Petersburg some 102 years ago (in 1890),
stated: "Azarbaijan, which was 'Aturpatekan' in Pahlavi and 'Azarbadekan'
in Armenian, is the rich industrial northern province of Iran. It borders
Iranian Kurdistan and Iraq of Adjam to the south, Turkish Kurdistan and
Armenia to the west, Russian Armenia and the Southern Caucasus to the
north. Its border is marked by the Aras River". Had the name Azerbaijan
been used for the land to the north of the Aras, undoubtedly, this
encyclopedia would have used the name "Russian Azerbaijan" just as it had
used the designations "Turkish Kurdistan", "Iranian Kurdistan", "Turkish
Armenia", or "Russian Armenia". It can easily be seen that only one
Azarbaijan existed and that was the Iranian Azarbaijan.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution and the ensuing turmoil in the Russian
empire, Turkish politicians of the time became intent on establishing a
puppet state in the Caucasus. In 1911, a party named "Mossavat"
(Equality) was founded in Baku, which was supported by the Ottoman
Turks. It held a joint congress with Turkey's Party of Federalists in 1917. In
this congress, the two parties united and called themselves the "Democratic
Party of Turkish Mossavat Federalists". Their goal was to unite
Turkish-speaking people under the umbrella of Turkey.
The Mossavatis set up a government on 27 May 1918, and called the area
the "Azerbaijan Republic". Their capital initially was Gandjeh, but after the
occupation of Baku by the Turkish army under the command of Noori
Pasha on 15 September 1918, the capital was transferred to Baku and their
government was consolidated through the support of the Turkish army.
They ruled Aran and Shirvan, calling these areas collectively as the
Azerbaijan Republic for two years. This situation continued until 28 April
1920, at which date the Bolsheviks attacked Baku and declared the area as
a Soviet republic. The Soviets persisted in using the invented name, calling
this territory the "Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan".
Barthold disclosed the reason for choosing to apply such a name. In page
782 of the second volume of his Collected Works, he noted: "The name
'Azerbaijan' was adopted because it was presumed that through the
establishment of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Iranian Azarbaijan and the
Azerbaijan Republic will eventually become one." As can be seen, the name
'Azerbaijan' was used with a specific goal that became manifest at a later
period. Somewhere else in this same volume, Barthold wrote: "Wherever
and whenever a name should be required with which one can refer to the
whole region of the Azerbaijan Republic, one can use Aran" (page 703).
>From the very beginning, the use of the name "Azerbaijan" for Aran met
with the protests of Iranian patriots, including Sheik Mohammad Khiabani
and his comrades. But since this naming had been carried out, the
Democrats siding with Khiabani decided to change the name of Iran's
Azarbaijan to "Azadistan" (land of freedom). This fact was clearly stated in
Kasravi's book titled "The Unknown Kings", where he expressed surprise
at the use of the name Azerbaijan to refer to Aran, writing: "Why are our
Arani brothers destroying their national history and their past at the onset
their national life? This itself is an enormous loss and there is no other
example of such a strange deed in history" (second printing, page 265).
After foreign forces entered Iran in Shahrivar 1320 (August 1941), under
the tutelage of the Red Army, a party was established in Tabriz called "The
Party of Azerbaijan". It was mostly run by immigrants from the Caucasus
and the executors of Soviet policy, especially the cronies of Mir-Dja'far
Bagherov, the secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party of
the Caucasus. At first, the leaders of this party clandestinely advocated the
separation of Azarbaijan (from Iran). The excuse they used to carry out
their aims was the prevalent use of the Turkish language in this area, which
was actually forced upon the people of this region centuries ago, again
through the immigration of Turks.
Kasravi wrote: "Their secret aim was separation from Iran" (Nameh-e
Parcham, 2 June 1943). Three and a half years later, on 4 September
1945, Caucasian agents created another party named the "Democratic
Party of Azerbaijan", which ostensibly advocated adherence to the
Constitution and the establishment of provincial and state councils. Its real
goal, however, was unification with the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. The
instigators of this idea for unification invented the names of "South and
North Azerbaijan", whereas the land to the north of the Aras River had
another name as mentioned earlier.
The leaders of the Democratic Party, who purportedly advocated the
establishment of provincial and state councils, openly spoke about their
secret aims following their escape from Iran and after finding refuge on the
other side of the Aras. A message printed in the 'Azerbaijan' newspaper,
which was the official organ of the Democratic Party, explicitly stated: "The
people of South Azerbaijan, which is an indivisible part of North
Azerbaijan, like all the peoples of the world, have their hopes fixed on the
great people and the state of the Soviet Union" ('Azerbaijan' newspaper,
no. 213, Baku, 23 December 1950). In another telegram to Mir-Dja'far
Bagherov, the chairman of the Communist Party of the Soviet Republic of
Azerbaijan, these officials wrote: "Three whole years have passed since the
establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party that leads the struggle
toward national liberation and the emancipation of the southern part of our
motherland Azerbaijan, which has been suffering in the black hands of
Persian chauvinists" ('Azerbaijan' newspaper, no. 81, Baku, 8 September
Following these actions, the terms "North Azerbaijan" and "South
Azerbaijan" were skillfully manipulated into books and into translations from
Turkish and Russian in order to inculcate this idea into the minds of readers.
Some, knowingly or unknowingly, aided in propagating this idea. For
instance, these unreasonable terms were included in history and geography
textbooks and some of our translators repeated them. This practice has
progressed to such an extent that a number of our local newspapers,
without paying the least attention and consideration, have used these wrong
and damaging terms, even in their recent issues, despite the fact that it is
very easy to refute this be aware of the reality.
The author of the book "Corners of Iranian History" wrote: "The unification
of North Azerbaijan with Russia played a progressive role and the only
government that helped the people of the Caucasus against Iran and the
Ottomans was Russia" (see pages 44, 192, 224). Did this reflect the real
situation? How then can one explain the resistance of the people of that land
in the past and the uprisings of Muslims, including the one led by Sheik
Shamel in Daghestan, as well as the present reaction of the Caucasian and
Central Asian people, and the Islamic movements in these republics? In
many pages of this book, we find the terms North and South Azerbaijan.
These propagandists have been trying to pretend that Azerbaijan is a
divided land and that it should be united someday. During the previous
years, unification was to be realized with Soviet power. Today, the
propaganda has taken another form, with American propagandists having
involved Turkey and introduced it as a model. They use the wrong term
"Azeri" in referring to the people and the land of Aran. The people of Aran
should be called "Arani" as "Azeri" is a term that should be used only for the
people of Azarbaijan. There is no link between the title "Azeri" and the
people of Aran. And neither is "Azeri" the language of the people of
Azarbaijan nor that of Aran. "Azeri" is one of the Iranian dialects, such as
Kurdish, Lurish, Gillish, Mazandarani, Balouchi, Bakhtiari, and others.
There is no relation between the old Azeri language and Turkish. There still
exist in Azarbaijan groups of people living in the mountains speaking the
Azeri dialect. The language spoken by the people of Aran is not Azeri nor is
it ancient Arani. Rather, it is one of the Turkish dialects that has been
with local languages.
In the case of Azarbaijan and Aran, there are some who try to call Aran
"Azerbaijan". This is a gross mistake. While the rulers of Azarbaijan ruled
over Aran during certain epochs, Azarbaijan is a separate entity from Aran.
At times, the rulers of Tabaristan ruled over Gilan and those of Gilan, such
as the Buyids, ruled over Tabaristan; yet, Tabaristan and Gilan were
separate and are considered separate lands now, even though they are
adjacent. No one has ever denied the fact that Aran was under the rule of
Iran and belonged to it, but taking the two as the same and using the
damaging and wrong term of "North Azerbaijan" is a wrong approach.
I do not understand why some refer only to what they are interested in and
ignore most of the well-known writings. Bal'ami's work has long been
revered as a Persian work, but, he was a translator of the Tarikh-e Tabari.
The point that was noted in the Tarikh-e Bal'ami does not exist in the
Tarikh-e Tabari (see Tarikh-e Tabari, Volume 5, page 1979, translated by
Abolghassem Payandeh). But one should know that on geographical
matters, the views of geographers are preferred. I do not wish to mention all
such sources, but to clarify the situation of Azarbaijan and Aran, in the 10th
and 11th century, which happens to be the time of Bal'ami, one can see the
works of Ibn-e Khordad-beh who was the head of the 'Barid' (postal
service) of Djebal (Media), and of Ibn-e Rosteh and many others, provided
one is really seeking the truth and is not trying to verify one's own wishes
Fanaticism is a sign of stupidity. Some accuse me of viewing the Mossavatis
through the eyes of the Bolsheviks. The future will make everything clear
and those who seek to deceive will be exposed to the nation. The final
judgment will be made by men of reason, not by some ignorant fanatics.
I have not written anything regarding my beloved native land, Gilan; yet, I
have dedicated a large part of my life to the study of Azarbaijan. This shows
how much affection I feel for the people of Azarbaijan. When during my
diaspora I was living in the mouth of the dragon, I did not ignore this sacred
duty. My affection for the people of Azarbaijan cost me dearly during my
migration. I had to suffer many deprivations. The separatists made my life
and that of my family very difficult. I endured all these hardships for the
of my country, of which Azarbaijan is a part.
Now that an independent republic has been established in the land of Aran,
it would have been appropriate if it would stop abusing the name of
Azarbaijan and would use its true historical name. Currently, Iran's enemies
are unfortunately exploiting the existence of this misnomer by propagating
false and misleading information. One example is Radio Liberty, which is
run from Munich. It carries out its activities from a budget it receives from
the US Congress and its broadcasts show the sinister goals that it seeks
against the integrity of our country. You can also find similar things in the
propaganda of some other countries. It is bizarre that a number of
neighboring republics deviate from being sincere and honest, imagining the
Iranian people as being ignorant of the facts. This is not so, as we do see
and consider everything.
The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has proudly carried out its
religious and neighborly duties toward the newly independent states
bordering it. Even in the initial moments when its neighbors regained their
sovereignty, Iran ignored the issue of name and some of their unjust
behaviors, hoping that with the passage of time, its brothers and neighbors
will pay due consideration and take notice of the facts. The Islamic Republic
of Iran could make its recognition of the newly independent republics
subject to certain conditions; however, in observing its religious and
neighborly obligations, it did not choose to do so in order to enable the
emerging states to achieve stability. The steps taken by the government of
the Islamic Republic of Iran to promote economic cooperation proves this
fact. Now it is appropriate for our Aranian brothers to take these factors
into consideration and choose a path that will lead to strengthening the ties
Q: Recently, in a book published under the title "Speaking with History",
Nooreddin Kianoory accused you of repenting from the socialist ideas you
had held for many years, that you returned to Iran and joined the regime of
the Shah; in general, that you have publicly recanted your ideas and
opinions in order to have gain important positions. What can you say about
A: Regarding the shift in scientific views, I should say that one is not born
scientist and from the beginning to the end of one's life, the scientific
of a person undergoes many changes. This is required for the growth and
development of a human being. The distinction between man and animals is
that man studies and thinks and through thinking, his perceptions evolve.
This is the law of life. Hence, censuring people for changing their minds is
inane and unreasonable. Whose intelligence ever remained on the same level
as it was during one's youth? Only lunatics and retarded people could be
so. Have the scientists who have made great discoveries in the social
sciences, remained on their initial level of thought? Man studies every
problem and arrives at new concepts and his knowledge develops. The
most foolish people are those who think their own ideas constitute the
pinnacle of human thought.
As to repentance, I came to Iran under the condition that no one demand
repentance from me. I never repented publicly in any media. Those who
accuse me of public repentance are liars and I should confess that truly, no
one ever asked me to repent.
Equating development with repentance is in itself an indication of the lack of
wisdom. In my life, and especially during my migration, I have learned many
precious lessons that were not acquired cheaply. But these same
experiences taught me not to keep my way of thinking on the same level as
it was during my youth. It is surprising that while many of my writings
contain many criticisms of Bolshevism and what I had predicted has been
realized, still, you find people making such statements. Does this not
a lack of originality in their way of thinking and in the way their mind
I have been attacked from two sides, but I will bear these attacks for the
sake of the integrity of Iran and for the sake of the existence and unity of
homeland. We die and what remains for our children and descendants is the
homeland that both the old and the young should be proud of.
When I think about some of the false accusations, I cannot help from being
reminded of what the famous Russian writer, Turgenyev, said: "One day a
slick, old professional character told me while giving me advice that,
'Whenever you decide to hurt your enemy, accuse him of your own flaws
and be ruthless in making such accusations. This is of dual importance. First,
with this accusation, you pretend that you yourself are free of such flaws.
Second, your accusations appear sincere and honest ... Here you can utilize
the reproaches of your own conscience to your benefit. If you yourself are
treacherous and devoid of conscience and honesty, accuse your enemy of
treachery and dishonesty. If you are servile and subordinate, call your
enemy an odious mercenary.'"
Would those who have characterized my book as arising from my feelings
of spitefulness and enmity towards the people of Azarbaijan, characterize
their own works as the result of their own enmity and personal vendetta
against the non-Azeris who are wrongly called Persians? Are they not
accusing others of having their own flaws?
I have written a book about Azarbaijan and others have also written articles
about it. The right to judge these belongs to the community of (those who
engage in) research and (those who follow) reason, not to fanatics and blind
ignorants. The issue has been raised, and undoubtedly, it will be studied by
researchers, then the facts will become clear. I did not write the book
"Iran's Azarbaijan" in order to obtain a post. This favor I will leave to
who seek favors.
In the end I say: If returning to one's own homeland and working in a library
as a researcher in the service of culture is the same thing as obtaining posts
and affluence, this post and affluence I will gladly offer to Mr. Kianoory. In
the 28 years following my return to my beloved homeland, I have only
served in literary, cultural and research capacities and I am proud that the
result of these efforts has been tens of books, authored and translated, as
well as a role in putting together one of the most valuable encyclopedias of
the Persian language. Now, we should see whether such services are
valuable or whether the lies and the gibberish that some put together in
order to sell the results of 50 years of treason, spying, betrayal of one's
country that make people hate everything associated with socialism, as
service to their compatriots.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:07:38 EST
Subject: mirsalim: dissemination of news vital for boosting relations
mirsalim: dissemination of news vital for boosting
tehran, oct. 3, irna -- iranian minister of culture and islamic guidance
mirsalim said dissemination of information and news is the most important
means to boost regional and international relations.
in a message to the gathering in beirut of the islamic republic news agency's
(irna) middle east correspondents, the minister added that news and
information regulate relations among countries.
he emphasized that professional and accurate coverage of events,
particularly in the middle east region, is among top priorities of irna.
"in order to promote the precious values of the islamic revolution and also to
serve our national and regional interests, we need to review our news
system in the world," the message added.
the gathering was opened in the lebanese capital tuesday with participation
of irna managing director fereydoun verdinejad and lebanese officials.
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:15:07 EST
Subject: Jumping the gun
The following article was published in The Irannian
All commens should be directed there
February 22, 2000
Jumping the gun
It's true that recent events in Iran bring some sense of optimism, but to say
that "democracy has finally arrived", is in my humble opinion premature and
naive ["The ballot box"].
While 1,500 students still are in prisons and the people who threw them off
the third floor of their dorms are running around free, while no one has yet
truly been implicated for the serial murders of 1998 with the exception of
some imaginary dude, Said Emami, while it was only weeks ago when we had a
German guy in prison for the crime of having sex with somebody, while ancient
allegations and rhetoric of CIA and FBI's relationships with Saeed Emami and
his wife can be publicly mentioned by government officials, while those
responsible for mass executions of thousands of Iranians and the destruction
of Iranian economy still walk around freely, it's hard to truly speak about
Democracy's first rule, is a pluralistic government. Did anyone who
officially rejected the notion of Velayate Faghih participate in this
election? Did any party with the exception of those within the framework of
Islamic Republic participate in this election? does democracy in Iran mean
working within the frameworks of IRI? Isn't there anyone out there who could
represent thousands of Iranians who are not per se religious?
True, there is reason to be optimistic, but we Iranians have to start having
higher expectations. "Good enough" is not enough and should not be enough for
us. We have lived 2,500 years under the yoke of various rulers from the
monarchs who paid little attention to their subjects to mollas who followed
the same line with corruption and unparalleled dictatorship.
Instead of making heroes out of ordinary people who are merely doing their
job, at most, we should expect more from our government, from our officials,
from our system. We DESERVE better and we must GET better. As a nation, we
have a daunting task ahead of us. We can not be satisfied with half efforts,
with just "Good enough"!
Only when we reach a day, when no one will be arrested and jailed for their
political beliefs, no one fears expressing their opinions, and every
government official starts feeling responsible for their actions, then we
have achieved democracy. Until then, we are merely working towards it, at the
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:45:47 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran election 'not a foreign policy statement'
News from the Gulf region
Iran election 'not a foreign policy
Tehran (Reuters) - Iran's reformers, triumphant in
parliamentary polls, said yesterday they were looking to
the United States to make a clear overture to improve
relations with the Islamic republic.
At a news conference to mark their victory, they said their
movement was a domestic phenomenon and should not
be seen as evidence Iran had set aside revolutionary or
Islamic principles to please the West - in particular the
"In the past the United States supported one of the most
repressive regimes in history, which was the Shah's
regime," said Mohammad Reza Khatami, leader of the
reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front and brother of
"Now we still face hostile sanctions and allegations (of
supporting terrorism) against us that are unproven. There
is a better tone but no practical steps to pull down the
wall of mistrust," said Khatami, top vote-getter in the
Washington, which broke off diplomatic relations with
Tehran in 1980 after the takeover of the U.S. embassy,
has joined a chorus of Western approval for Iran's
elections, celebrating the polls as a historical vote for
greater openness and freedom.
"We hope the desires of the Iranian people can be
translated by their elected representatives and we hope
this trend will be reflected in a new approach to Iran's
relationship with the outside world," U.S. State
Department spokesman James Rubin said at the
weekend. But the reform movement, closing in on control
of parliament, was at pains to tell the world it was a
home-grown affair and not a stalking horse for foreign
"Our message (to the world) is they should understand
there is an upheaval taking place in Iran and not try to
think what is happening in Iran coincides with their own
interests," said Rajabali Mazrouei, elected to parliament
That upheaval, Front leaders said, reflected demands for
greater social and political freedom and realisation of the
true promise of the 1979 Islamic revolution and its
constitution. To implement that mandate, they said, they
will move quickly to guarantee freedom of expression,
protect citizens against state intrustion in their private lives
and implement fully the civic rights called for in the
For example, they pledged to overturn a ban on satellite
dishes imposed by conservatives to stamp out Western
cultural influence and to change the press laws to protect
journalists from arbitrary prosecution by the special Press
Court. They also promised to investigate fully the 1998
"mystery murders" of secular dissidents by rogue agents in
the security service.
The Front said it had so far captured 109 seats outright in
the new 290-member parliament, due to convene in May,
with another 28 pro-reform allies also elected. They were
also poised to take almost all 30 seats in Tehran and were
expected to win the majority of about 65 run-offs, set for
The Front spurned the idea of a deal with former
President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who led the
conservative ticket and was expected to make a strong
bid to be speaker of parliament. Partial returns in Tehran
had Rafsanjani in just 29th place and facing a possible
run-off, a result seen as dooming any bid for the speaker's
Asked if the reform movement needed Rafsanjani, a
pragmatic cleric and veteran revolutionary, in parliament
to accommodate the conservative minority, Mazrouei
said: "Taking into account the parliament and how it
stands now, we believe the Front has enough power... I
don't think we will need to create a balance between left
and right with Rafsanjani."
Some pro-reform elders have privately voiced concerns
that the poor showing at the ballot box by the former
president could humiliate the conservatives, who still
control many of the levers of administrative control in the
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 21:51:59 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: LARGE TURNOUT IN THE ELECTION..
21 February 2000, Volume 3, Number 8
LARGE TURNOUT IN THE ELECTION... The Interior Ministry
announced that 80-83 percent of Iran's approximately 39 million
participated in the 18 February parliamentary election, but Mohammad
Reza Abbasifard of the Guardians Council said that 70-80 percent of
electorate voted. Still, this is close to the 88 percent of the 1997
election and ahead of the 71 percent turnout for the 1996
race. Polling stations were supposed to be open for a maximum of 12
but the Interior Ministry reported that turnout was so large that
had arrived before the deadline were allowed to vote anyway.
The time it takes to get the results will vary from a few hours in
constituencies to three weeks in Tehran, the Islamic Republic News
reported on 18 February. There may have been some confusion in
Semnan, and Mazandaran provinces, which held Assembly of Experts
by-elections. The Guardians Council rejected efforts to computerize
counting system, so all votes must be counted by hand.
As of 20 February, vote-counting was complete in 194 constituencies,
according to state radio. Incumbents apparently fared badly. The
Iran Participation Party, based on its own exit polls, announced that
reformists carried 60 percent of the seats. Reformist dailies, such
"Mosharekat," Akhbar-i Eqtesad," and "Aftab-i Imruz" all claimed an
overwhelming reformist victory. Hardline publications had little to
about, and they mainly pointed at the large turnout as a victory for
Islamic revolution. Conservative coalition spokesman Mohammad Reza
Bahonar said that conservatives had won 73 out of 150 provincial
he admitted that things had not gone well in Tehran.
Run-offs will be held in constituencies where none of the candidates
percent of the votes. These include: Lahijan, Nour, and Mahmoudabad
(Gilan Province); Dehloran (Ilam); Kangavar (Kermanshah); Nahbandan,
Andimeshk, and Dezful (Khuzestan); Doroud and Azna (Luristan);
Minudasht, Gonbad Kavus, Ramyan, and Azadshahr (Golestan); and
Garmsar (Semnan). Other constituencies requiring run-offs are:
and Barkhuar Meymeh (Isfahan), Shabestar and Meshgin-Shahr (East
Azerbaijan), Razan (Hamedan), Boroujen (Chahar Mahal-Bakhtiari),
Dayyer and Kangan (Bushehr), Abadeh and Bavanat (Fars), Miyandoab,
Shahindej and Takab (West Azerbaijan), and Qorveh (Kurdistan). The
election headquarters announced that the run-offs will be held in
or early-May, state radio reported on 19 February.
Intelligence Minister Hojatoleslam Ali Yunesi told state radio on
morning that "we have not received any reports of any problems."
were, however, some problems later. Interior Ministry Deputy Mustafa
Tajzadeh, who heads Iran's election headquarters, said that Guardians
Council supervisors never turned up at some of the polling stations
and other cities, so polling was delayed by several hours at these
"Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 19 February. And in some places, voters
outnumbered ballot papers. A mosque in western Tehran refused to
doors for the election officials, so the Interior Ministry had to
ballot boxes to collect ballots from voters, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported
February. Also, a candidate in Firuzkuh and Damavand constituency was
campaigning on election day, and he ignored inspectors who told him
was against the rules.
Hundreds rioted in Shush Danial, Khuzestan Province, when the local
winner was accused of buying votes, IRNA reported on 19 February.
Police fired into the air and used tear gas to suppress the rioters,
fires and threw rocks at police. Some 15 people were injured. Similar
incidents occurred in the Khuzestan towns of Shadegan and Dasht-i
Azadegan, and there were protests in Izeh. (Bill Samii)
...BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? The last session of the fifth parliament
will occur on 22 February, and the new parliament, which will be
in May, will face several outstanding issues. Among these are vague
laws, restrictive electoral regulations, social codes that are
enforced, opening the economy to greater foreign investment,
of state-owned industries, and relations with the U.S.
But even if the new parliament seeks to cooperate with the executive
branch's plans, its ability to act is severely limited. All
legislation must be
approved by the hardline Guardians Council before it becomes law.
security organizations, the military, and state broadcasting are
supervision of the Supreme Leader's office and are not answerable to
executive or legislature. Press Courts and the Special Court for the
target regime critics. The judiciary and other governmental
even when headed by Khatami-appointees who are seen as reformists,
have many employees who have their own personal and ideological
agendas. Influential and powerful personalities who have direct
interests in the state industries and para-statal foundations will
resistant to anything that threatens their wealth and influence. And
Supreme Leader has veto power over everything.
New representatives' political affiliations make predicting how they
on legislation difficult. In the previous parliament, the large
independents did not follow any consistent voting pattern. As of 20
February, estimates indicated that independents won 36 seats. Many
candidates who were calling themselves independents were in fact
conservatives, according to observers, suggesting that once in
will vote against legislation favored by reformists. Political
Abedi added, furthermore, that there is not much difference between
candidates. The public has more choices, Abedi told AFP on 17
but this may not be translated into real changes because "Iranian
politics is a
lot like a private club."
Compared to its neighbors, Iran had a relatively open election, the
levels of participation, furthermore, may represent an attempt by
change the status quo through legal means. But even here, there are
marks about what really concerns voters. A series of interviews with
in rural Shahriar, south of Tehran, pointed out that the big issues
above have little relevance for many Iranians. They are more
basic issues, such as fuel and telephones and especially jobs,
reported on 18 February. (Bill Samii)
ELECTION COVERAGE BY STATE BROADCASTING. Interior
Minister Hojatoleslam Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari, in a 14 February
urged Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting to be impartial in its
of the parliamentary election. Apparently IRIB did not heed this
because 2nd of Khordad movement spokesman Behzad Nabavi and
secretary of the Militant Clerics Association (Majma-yi Ruhaniyun-i
Mobarez) Hojatoleslam Mehdi Mahdavi-Karrubi complained that in the
run-up to the election, IRIB's coverage was insufficient, "Fath"
15 February. This is nothing new, and IRIB is frequently criticized
biased coverage of domestic Iranian politics. IRIB Director Ali
who is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is seen by
the 2nd of Khordad movement as a hardliner.
Biased or not, IRIB did carry election-related programs during the
campaigning. State television had a program entitled "The Best
carried interviews with average citizens who commented on the
they look for in candidates. The program was interspersed with
the Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's comments on the
State radio carried live links with correspondents at the Interior
the Guardians Council who described the various election regulations.
Correspondents at provincial election headquarters provided reports,
This program also had interviews with average citizens, and it
newspaper coverage of the election. A telephone number was provided
listeners could call in their comments. State broadcasting also
election-related speeches by state officials.
On polling day, state radio carried live election coverage,
newscasts. The first item on state television newscasts was President
Mohammad Khatami's statement thanking voters. State television's
Network 1 carried intermittent election coverage, including a
election special. Network 2 carried live coverage from 9:30 GMT
This coverage consisted of live links with correspondents at polling
around the country. Also, the broadcast of Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi's
Friday Prayers sermon was delayed. (Bill Samii)
TEHRAN DENIES JAMMING FOREIGN BROADCASTS. Mr.
Nemati, director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting's
department, rejected recent reports that foreign radio broadcasts
jammed (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 14 February 2000). "Those who make
such allegations on the eve of the elections intend to create
discord," he told the 17 February "Asr-i Azadegan." (Bill Samii)
THE FINAL DAYS: CANDIDATES, PARTIES, AND RALLIES.
The week of campaigning, from 10-17 February, proceeded much as it
begun, with candidates and parties expressing their views and
endorsements, rallies, and occasional violence (see the 14 February
"RFE/RL Iran Report" on the first few days of campaigning).
and state officials urged the public to vote. And the Guardians
itself continuing to defend some of its rejections of particular
Islamic Iran Participation Party candidate Ahmad Burqani, for
suggested that Iran and the U.S. should resume communications, "Iran
reported on 13 February. Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution
candidates, such as Mohsen Armin, discussed current issues like the
killings of political dissidents, "Sobh-i Imruz" reported on 14
Ayatollah Mohsen Musavi-Tabrizi, a reformist candidate in the
of Qom, where 71 candidates are competing for three seats, said he
limits on judicial power and an opening of the economy, the "New York
Times" reported on 16 February.
Former Tehran mayor Gholamhussein Karbaschi reminded a 14 February
news conference that, at the time of its formation in 1996, the
Executives of Construction Party was taking a daring step, and it
opened the doors for other non-religious organizations. In a
the IIPP changed the order of its candidates list, choosing the
brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, as its top candidate. Khatami
Hojatoleslam Mehdi Mahdavi-Karrubi, who was moved to 16th place on
the list. In a clever move, the IIPP also selected an Armenian
Artanus Baghumian, for its Isfahan list. He is one of the only
candidates to ever be on a mainstream candidate list. Voters can
choose one minority candidate or an entire list of regular
they cannot do both.
The parties' campaign slogans shifted away from ideology and
commitment. Two of the main conservative bodies -- the Tehran
Clergy Association (Jameh-yi Ruhaniyat-i Mobarez-i Tehran) and the
Coalition of the Line of the Imam and Leader Ò emphasized
in their slogans. The ECP described "Security, Prosperity, and
its publicity. And the IIPP called for "Iran for all Iranians." In
campaign literature was dropped from aircraft, and t-shirts with
pictures became fashionable. Slogans promoting 29 Bahman (18
as another 2 Khordad (the day President Mohammad Khatami was elected)
The reformist publications Fath, Asr-i Azadegan, Sobh-i Imruz,
Imruz, Azad, Arya, Akhbar-i Eqtesad, Bayan, and Hayat-i No published
their candidate endorsements on 13 February. They endorsed 30
candidates, including Burqani, Khatami, Armin, Karrubi, and a number
other prominent reformists.
Initially, campaign rallies were not very well-attended, possibly
out of fear of
violence. But a 13 February IIPP rally attracted thousands, and they
chanted against candidate Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who may be
next speaker of parliament. They also chanted against Isfahan
Akbar Fallahian, who served as Minister of Intelligence and Security
1989-1997. Fallahian has received a lot of criticism in the
for his tenure as MOIS chief.
There were more violent incidents as well. A percussion grenade went
near Fallahian's house, "Kayhan" reported on 14 February, after
one was thrown at his election headquarters a week earlier.
attacked the election headquarters of another candidate, former
Minister Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, on 13 February. A man
was stabbed to death at a IIPP rally in the southern city of Bandar
"Jomhuri-yi Islami" reported on 15 February.
A Tehran rally of the ECP was disrupted, "Kayhan" reported on 16
February, when bystanders tore up posters of Hashemi-Rafsanjani,
destroyed some Iranian flags, and chanted "Musaddiq, Mussadiq, we
continue your path" (Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq was ousted in a
1953 coup and is still an icon of the nationalist movement). A
which nationalist figure Habibollah Payman, whose candidacy was
was speaking was disrupted when a brawl broke out and lights were
extinguished, "Fath" reported on 17 February. In Qazvin, nationalist
journalist Fatimeh Govarai was arrested, "Fath" reported on 17
...PUBLIC URGED TO VOTE... In the days before the election, senior
Iranian officials urged the public to vote. But statements to this
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hojatoleslam
Mohammad Khatami were noteworthy.
Khamenei told prospective Hajj candidates on 15 February that they
participate wholeheartedly in the election, because "elections
people's participation and restoration of their rights." Saying that
both a right and a duty, he added that "it is important what
people who could vote take part in the elections and vote." Khamenei
on to say there must be a "tranquil and friendly atmosphere." He
public to vote for candidates who are "able to stand up to coercion,
scare-mongering, excessiveness, and avarice of world powers, and
the problems of the country and the nation." He closed by
U.S., foreign radios, and those who are susceptible to propaganda.
Khatami urged women and the young, among his greatest supporters, "to
participate actively" in the elections in an 8 February speech.
that there has been progress in women's affairs, but much more
be done if women are to have an active presence in economic, social,
political arenas. At the same speech, Khatami apologized to
candidates. This part of the speech was not cited by state
which is criticized for its hardline and anti-reformist tendencies.
"Mosharekat" daily reported it the next day.
Khatami again addressed electoral issues during his 11 February
marking the revolution's anniversary. He again addressed the young,
"Our revolution is the youths' revolution and they played an
in this revolution... The revolution also belongs to today's youth."
he urged people to elect candidates that will not oppose the
branch's policies. Khatami said that "The government will be able to
more confident steps to serve you, if it were to enjoy the
cooperation of a
qualified parliament and a parliament which carefully scrutinizes
and decisions of the executive officials and the judicial
Khatami's 16 February address to the nation urged everybody to vote.
said: "Noble and great nation of Iran!...Friday...is a day for
Senior clerics, such as Sources of Emulation Ayatollah Nasser
Makarem-Shirazi, and Ayatollah Yusef Sanei urged massive
So did State Prosecutor Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadai. Interior Minister
Hojatoleslam Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari also urged massive participation,
during a speech in Rasht, because the "election is a manifestation of
republicanism of the system and an opportunity for the entire
play a role in the management of the country." Dissident cleric
Hussein-Ali Montazeri-Najafabadi urged people to choose their
with care, because if a parliamentarian pursues harmful policies,
elected him or her are considered accessories, "Sobh-i Imruz"
12 February. (Bill Samii)
...AND GUARDIANS COUNCIL SPEAKS OUT. The Council of
Guardians has been subjected to a steady stream of criticism for
candidates specifically and for its power of "advisory supervision"
elections generally. President Khatami apologized publicly to the
candidates on 8 February (see above), and on 12 February, Interior
Minister Musavi-Lari urged voters to overcome the pessimism created
Musavi-Lari told the 14 February "Hamshahri" that the Guardians
was trying to disqualify ten more candidates. But it was too late,
Interior Ministry announced on 16 February that there was a total of
candidates running for parliament.
Then 890 candidates withdrew, the national election headquarters
announced on 16 February, which would bring the total to 5,193. The
candidates presumably withdrew to avoid splitting the reformist
The Guardians Council announced on 15 February that all disqualified
candidates were provided with written explanations. Those who
got a fair hearing and were shown the relevant documents, except in
where "this had to be done for legal reasons and for the sake of
safeguarding the rights of third persons or the country's interests.
'IT WASN'T ME.' Manuchehr Eliasi, parliamentary representative for
Iran's Jewish minority, said on 16 February that all 13 Jews
year on espionage charges would be released. Three of them were
on bail in early-February. He predicted that the charges against all
"probably" would be dropped, according to Reuters. Israel continues
press for the release of the remaining 10 prisoners. Israel's Deputy
Minister Nawaf Musalihah asked Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic,
country's top Muslim politician, to intercede with Iran on the
behalf, Voice of Israel reported on 17 February.
Washington, meanwhile, urged Iran not to execute three Bahais --
Zabihi-Moghaddam, Hedayat Kashefi-Najafabadi, and Manuchehr Khulusi.
"In all three cases it is clear that the individuals were arrested,
sentenced to death solely because of their religious beliefs," White
spokesman Joe Lockhart said on 11 February, according to Reuters.
Iranian judicial official Esmail Asadi said none of the three
been sentenced to death, Iranian state radio reported on 13 February.
Asadi added that one of three was arrested in the case of the 13
spies. Regarding the White House's expression of concern, Asadi said
"We believe that, like in the past, they seek to conspire against
the course of
the Islamic Republic of Iran and interfere in our internal affairs."
Omid Teflin, in a comment on the Jewish prisoners released on bail,
misunderstanding led to the arrests. "That's all it was with me, a
told AFP on 13 February. (Bill Samii)
WHY COLOMBIAN BEEF? Iran imported about 200,000 tons of beef
annually, IRNA reported on 10 February, but it will no longer need
so. The Construction Jihad Ministry's Deputy Minister for Livestock
Ahmad Kabiri, said Iran "has attained self-sufficiency in production
animal products." Kabiri added that Iran can now export its surplus
Which makes one ask why Iran was so keen to build a slaughterhouse
meat-packing plant in Colombia (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 27 December
1999). A Colombian official had said the project was intended to sell
20,000 tons of meat per year to Iran, Santa Fe de Bogota's "Semana"
reported last November. (Bill Samii)
TEL AVIV BLAMES TEHRAN FOR HIZBALLAH ACTIONS. As
Hizballah struck against Israeli forces in Lebanon, reports about
Iranian support for the organization resurfaced. The implication of
claims, mainly from Israeli sources, is that Iran is responsible for
to the Israeli presence in Lebanon. Iran does not deny supporting
and it almost certainly does supply Hizballah with weapons. But even
without Iranian support, Hizballah appears likely to be prepared to
its actions, because Israeli actions have alienated portions of the
The Israeli Defense Forces said in early January that Tehran had
Hizballah to sabotage the Middle East Peace Process, and that Iran
encouraged Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad to cooperate with
Hizballah. Soon thereafter, a senior IDF intelligence officer gave
parliament more detail on the Iranian encouragements, which included
provision of more arms and training and bonuses for successful
the first week of February there was a report in Tel Aviv's
Iran had stepped up its supply of equipment, arms, and ammunition to
These reports, if accurate, may explain recent Hizballah attacks in
southern Lebanon security zone, a 15 kilometer-wide strip patrolled
Israeli forces and the South Lebanon Army. Five IDF soldiers were
Also, Akl Hashem, second-in-command of the SLA, was assassinated.
Israel retaliated on the night of 7-8 February by launching
infrastructure targets in Lebanon, such as electrical power stations.
Seventeen Lebanese civilians were wounded in these attacks. Israeli
Minister and former Deputy Chief of Staff Matan Vilnai explained
airstrikes were a hint to the Lebanese government that it should
Hizballah, according to the "Mideast Mirror." Fearing retaliatory
rocket attacks by Hizballah, civilians in northern Israel took
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy warned that "the soil of Lebanon
burn" if Hizballah fired any rockets.
Hizballah took the hint, but only partially. It responded by killing
the IDF and the SLA in the security zone on 8 February, rather than
launching Katyushas. An IDF official explained that Hizballah's
successes were due to lookouts trained by and equipped with special
equipment from Iran, "Yediot Aharonot" reported on 8 February. IDF
officials also claimed that Israeli outposts were being hit by
Optically-tracked, Wire-command-link (TOW) anti-tank missiles that
supplied to Iran in the mid-1980s as part of the arms-for-hostages
"Haaretz" reported on 10 February.
Retaliatory actions like Israel's recent ones have if anything
resolve of its opponents, according to a series of articles in the
media. An editorial in the 8 February "As-Safir" said: "It is our
resist and to stand up to aggression. We must pay the price for
land. Our weapons are few: we have only our blood, our will, and our
of martyrdom to sustain us... We also enjoy some support from certain
Arab and international quartersa ..." "After its infrastructure is
of Lebanon will turn into a field for resistance," "al-Qods
because "the Lebanese will have nothing to lose."
Israeli parliamentarian Rekhavem Zeevi recognized the impact of Tel
actions. He wrote in the 9 February "Maariv" that "The death of the
No. 2, Col. Akl Hashem, the bombs at the gates of our outposts, the
continuous shelling of our forces Ò all these bolster Hizballah's
and place the great and strong IDF in a ridiculous light."
This brings the discussion back to suggestions of Iranian
Hizballah's recent actions. On 8 February, Foreign Ministry spokesman
Hamid Reza Assefi reaffirmed Tehran's "support for the resistance
the Lebanese government and nation." Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
said on 14 February that Israel should withdraw unilaterally if it
attacks on its personnel to end. He added that "It is the legitimate
Hizballah and of any Lebanese individual to resist against the
therefore we cannot deny Hizballah or the Lebanese government this
legitimate right." When asked about the alleged TOW missiles,
the reports were baseless and Tehran only supplies "humanitarian and
Muhammad Funaysh, a Hizballah member of Lebanon's National Assembly
(parliament) described reports of Iranian-instigated meetings
party, Hamas, and the PIJ by saying: "This is a pure lie. It is
true at all." He went on to say that such reports are part of a
"against our resistance and our people with a view to covering up the
enemy's terrorism and attacks against civilians." Asked if there is
coordination between Hizballah, Hamas, and the PIJ, Funaysh stated
"In the course of resisting the occupation, we are not linked to any
quarter other than the will of our people." (Bill Samii)
Compiled by A. William Samii.
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 - Special issue