Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Feb 2000 - Special issue

There are 13 messages totalling 1202 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Leader Thanks People for Large Turnout in Nationwide Elections
2. Papers Comment on 6th Majlis Election
3. Positive Response from Nation
4. Global Ethics and Dialogue Among Civilizations
5. Iranian Cinema Steals the Show
6. Without Identity The Thief and the Judge
7. CNN: Reformers set to break conservative grip on Iran
8. Khatami Win Foretold Reform Victory
9. Iran Reformists Winning Big in Vote
10. 2 Jailed Iran Reformers Get Leave
11. Iran reformers poised for Tehran election win
12. Election violence kills eight in Iran-paper
13. Israel welcomes vote results in arch-foe Iran

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:24:15 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Leader Thanks People for Large Turnout in Nationwide Elections

Leader Thanks People for Large Turnout in Nationwide Elections

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution,
yesterday thanked the people for their massive participation in Friday's
nationwide elections, IRNA reported.

The Supreme Leader described the elections as "a blessing of God Almighty"
and said that the Iranian nation aptly demonstrated that they will safeguard
the Islamic Republic by turning the February 18 elections into a source of
national pride.

"All international observers viewed with surprise the way the Iranian nation
actively participated in the elections which came close on heels after the
celebrations of the 21st anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution,"
the Leader said.

The Leader added, "The Iranian nation nullified the illusion that the people
are separate from Islam and the Islamic Revolution. No doubt the Iranian
nation is the true winner of the elections which make factional success
negligible."

The Leader also thanked the officials in charge of holding the elections and
appreciated the guidance offered to the people by religious leaders and
high-ranking officials.

The Leader also called on the people to demonstrate equal enthusiasm in the
runoff elections (in constituencies where the hopefuls failed to win one
fourth of the total votes cast due to large number of candidates).

The Leader prayed to the Almighty God to help the Iranian nation attain
welfare and pride under the banner of Islam.

President Mohammad Khatami in a message to the nation Friday night praised
the "epic presence of the noble people of Islamic Iran in the elections for
the sixth term of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis)."

The President in his message hailed the people, especially the youth, whose
presence in the elections, he said, demonstrated the glory of the 21st
post-Revolution elections, caught the world by surprise and brought joy to
the well-wishers of Islam and Iran.

Whatever the result of the elections may be, its first and immediate outcome
will be the wonderful triumph of the noble Iranian nation who added another
golden page to its book of destiny, the message read.

The President further added in his message that the noble Iranian people once
again proved that they remain steadfast in strengthening the system they has
formed on the basis of Islam and spirituality for independence, freedom and
progress of the country.

President Khatami congratulated the Supreme Leader and every single
individual of the nation on such a triumph and thanked all those in charge of
the elections and hoped that the runoff elections will be also held in
magnificence.

He recommended all those finding their way to the Sixth Majlis to serve the
people while abiding by the sublime values of the Islamic Revolution and
national honor, employing all their potentials for further
institutionalization of the system and elevation of the country and the
nation in the Islamic World.

In similar messages several personalities, ministries, organizations, parties
and political groups felicitated the Leader on the occasion.

They included Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri (the Majlis Speaker), Hojjatoleslam Mahdi
Karrubi (secretary of Majma Rowhaniyoun-e Mobarez), the Interior Ministry,
Kargozaran-e Sazandegi (Executives of Construction) Party, the Green Party,
the Islamic Coalition Association, Islamic Propagation Organization, Islamic
Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Islamic Iran Solidarity Party and the
Islamic Association of Engineers.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:23:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Papers Comment on 6th Majlis Election

Papers Comment on 6th Majlis Election

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's pro-reform press said yesterday that President Mohammad
Khatami was virtually assured of a parliamentary majority after the country's
parliamentary elections.

But as first results showed reformers stampeding to victory, conservative
papers said the vote had been a triumph for the Islamic Revolution.

"The burden of reforming Iran no longer rests on the shoulders of Khatami
alone," trumpeted the Mosharekat daily, closely linked to the top pro-reform
party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF).

"Reformers will dominate the next parliament," it declared. "We still must
wait a few days for the final results, but the reform victory is clearly
visible on the horizon."

The pro-Khatami daily Fath, close to jailed reform hero Abdollah Nouri who
likely would have won a seat in the legislature had he been allowed to stand,
hailed the "moving response of the people and the reform victory."

Iran, published by the state's official IRNA news agency, headlined its
edition: "The smiling face of reform," saying the vote had "above all
expressed the national will to go full-speed down the road of reform."

Another pro-reform daily, the Akhbar-e Eqtesad, announced "the reformist wave
has overcome Parliament."

Resalat said: "Whatever the results of the vote, Iran will never vote in
favor of servitude to foreign powers or a distancing from an Islamic
society."

The conservative paper stressed that the unprecedented 75 percent turnout by
voters was in response to an appeal from Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei.

The afternoon Kayhan daily said the vote had been a "people's `yes' in a
referendum on the principles of the Islamic Republic" and noted that
reformers had not made especially strong calls for relaunching ties with the
United States.

"Hopefully that will continue to be the case," it said, vowing that the
Islamic Revolution "will attain its goal."

The afternoon Aftab-e Emrooz, a pro-reform daily, went simply with one big
headline stretched across its front page: "Iran - Khatami."

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:21:10 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Positive Response from Nation

Positive Response from Nation

SOBH-E EMROOZ * This daily quoted Ahmad Bourqani, a candidate belonging to
the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), as saying that if the reformers
win a victory in the parliamentary elections, it means they have received a
"yes vote" from the people regarding the continued implementation of
political reforms. The reformists' most important plan is to open up the
country's political atmosphere, he stressed.

Montazeri Cast Ballot

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Yesterday in his residence, dissident cleric Ayatollah
Husseinali Montazeri cast his vote in the parliamentary elections.

Montazeri has been under house arrest in Qom since two years ago for having
challenged the country's ruling clerics.

IRIB Inaction Boosted Turnout

SOBH-E EMROOZ * Deputy interior minister and head of the Election
Headquarters, Mostafa Tajzadeh, said one of the major reasons for high
turnout in Friday's elections was IRIB's lack of call for public's great
participation in the election.

No Faction Would Hold Majority

ARYA * This pro-reform daily quoted Mohammad-Javad Larijani, rightist MP in
Fifth Majlis, as saying that no group or faction would gain a majority in the
Sixth Parliament. The next Parliament, he said, would consist of powerful
"minorities," adding if the IRIB had broadcast more programs to promote
increased people's participation in the elections, public would have got
bored and would have cast less ballots.

Taraqi's Political Analysis

ARYA * Hamid-Reza Taraqi, a member of the rightist Islamic Coalition Society,
predicted that the right-wing would again hold majority in the next Majlis.
Further, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani would be one of the top five vote
getters in Tehran, he said, adding that in the northern parts of Tehran, the
people voted in favor of reformists, but those in the southern parts, who are
more faithful, voted for the rightists.

I Guarantee It!

MOSHAREKAT * This IIPP-affiliated daily quoted Culture Minister Ataollah
Mohajerani, as saying, "The university students are surprised at my support
for Rafsanjani because they are not fully informed of my positions."
Mohajerani predicted that Rafsanjani would certainly become the next Majlis
Speaker.

Nouri Voted in Jail

FATH * Abdullah Nouri cast his ballot in Evin Prison on Friday.

Abdullah Nouri, one of the closest allies of President Khatami, a member of
the Expediency Council and managing director of the pro-reform Khordad daily,
was sentenced by the conservative Special Court for the Clergy to five years
in prison on charges that included political and religious dissent. Khordad
was also ordered closed by the court.

More People Voted This Time

ASR-E AZADEGAN * This reformist daily said the number of participants in
Friday's parliamentary election would exceed that of the May 23, 1997
presidential elections.

Karbasshi Asked for Pardon, Kadivar Did Not

FATH * It is said that the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the former
Mayor of Tehran, Gholamhussein Karbaschi, was attended by Mohseni Ejeie, the
judge who convicted Karbaschi in the first place, Ruhollah Husseinian, head
of the Islamic Revolution's Documents Center and Ali Razini. The three
individuals were all graduated from Haqqani School where Karbaschi also
attended for some time. The former mayor was sent to prison based on a
complaint by Ali Razini. However, Karbaschi was pardoned and released
recently. Ejeie, it is said, was behind Karbaschi's request for pardon
submitted in a written letter. This is despite the fact that Mohsen Kadivar,
who has been in jail for a year, has not been freed yet, because he has
refused to go by the recommendations of his old classmates by asking for
pardon.

Nouri Knows Something Big

FATH * Emadeddin Baqi, an analyst who writes articles on the political
assassinations, said the murder of Prirouz Davani, happened last years, is
one of the rare cases in which the person who issued the death order is
known. Although Abdullah Nouri wanted to reveal the name of the person who
gave the order, Baqi said, Nouri was not allowed to do so by the court.
Former flight attendant, Fatemeh Qaem-Maqami, was also murdered by the agents
who belonged to the Intelligence Ministry, because she was aware of very
important information which they waned to remain secret. Moreover, Ahmad
Khomeini was killed by the same agents, as revealed by head of the Military
Judiciary, Mohammad Niazi, to Hassan Khomeini, Ahmad's son.

Phony Reformers?

AZAD * This pro-Khatami daily quoted Hussein Shariatmadari, managing director
of the fundamentalist daily Kayhan, addressing IIPF's members: "You
ungrateful people looted the country in the past but now chant the motto
`Iran for all Iranians'. You owe everything you have to Hizbollahi youth." He
went on to state that other newspapers are not professional, adding the
reporters of Kayhan are beaten in order to gather vital information.

Importance of Expatriates

PAYAM-E AZADI * This pro-Khatami daily published an article by Dariush
Sajjadi, U.S.-based Iranian journalist, as saying that based on the Iranian
Constitution there is seat in the Majlis for every 300,000 people. Therefore,
it would be appropriate for the Iranians who live in the Unites States to be
given the same right. First, this would promote much greater participation of
expatriates in the country's affairs, he noted. Second, he continued, this
would help establish a channel through which the two countries could talk to
one another to resolve their outstanding disputes.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:26:34 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Global Ethics and Dialogue Among Civilizations

Global Ethics and Dialogue Among Civilizations

Dialogue Among Civilization Is Not a Luxury But a Vital Necessity.

Dialogue Among Civilizations, However, Is Only a Procedure and Cannot Solve
Human Problems Without Solid Foundations in a Sense of Responsibility and
Common Principles in Divine Religions

By Dr. Mohaqeq Damad

The idea of dialogue among civilizations proposed by President Seyed Mohammad
Khatami and approved as an agenda item by the United Nations, is meant to
respond to one of the biggest problems in the world.

From 14th century up to 17th century the feudal system and church authority
was broken due to the tireless efforts of statesmen such as Richelieu and
Lous XIV in France, Gustav Adolph in Sweden, the Theodores in England and
Peter the Great in Russia and a new order based on immense single-nation
powers was established in Europe.

But since both nationalist and autocratic systems are apt to accumulate more
and more power, such systems were converted to giant hegemonic empires such
as the British, the French, Spanish and Ottoman empires which conquered many
realms and spread their power all over the world.

However, such a expansionist move was not limited to territorial gains only,
but was accompanied by cultural and religious domination, and small countries
which once possessed authority and credit among their citizens were
subjugated and devoured by these giants and were compelled to surrender.

Such submission was at times compulsory in which the conquerors replaced the
ancient traditions and cultures of the conquered countries with their own. In
such situations, neither the victors were willing to really export their
culture and science to the conquered countries to allow them to become a
future rival, and nor were the conquered nations were ready to give up their
ancestral traditions.

At the end of World War I in 1918 such imperialistic drive gradually
subsided. Britain and France which had emerged victors in the war sliced and
mangled the giant Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires into small nations and
grabbed all German colonies. But after World War II they had to suffer the
same fate because the awakened colonies revolted and escaped their
domination.

England showed prudence enough to gave up India but France was not ready to
peacefully part with its colonies, including Algeria which she had to abandon
after a barbarous and bloody war in the 60's.

The result of such anti-colonial drive was the birth of new countries which
gradually became members of the United Nations and found a free tribunal to
express their historical claims.

Meanwhile another giant, the Soviet Union, was dominating a large part of
Asia and half of the Europe. Thus, a vast part of the world was divided
between the capitalists, led by Washington, and the communists in Moscow and
these giants competed and bullied each other by resorting to arms to dominate
the remaining part of the world which was named the Third World. Examples of
such thirst for power was the Soviet armed intervention in Hungary and
Czeckoslovakia and the lengthy wars fought by the United States in Korea and
Vietnam. During that era, referred to as Cold War, there was no real dialogue
between the superpowers and all that was exchanged were threats and protests.
In between, if not fully allied with one of these rival camps, the Third
World countries tried to fish from the troubled waters to protect their
national interests and avoid being devoured by the giants.

But the victory of the Islamic Revolution in the 70's suddenly upset such
equations. Up to that time, anti-imperialistic struggles by the oppressed
nations was based on modernism and revisionism. Even Gandhi and his
colleagues resorted first to tradition to expel the British and then tried to
build a modern culture. But, contrary to such moves, the Islamic Revolution
wanted to return to genuine tradition and was perhaps the first country in
the world that laid its foundation on the basis of culture, and all its
future steps such as destruction of the royal regime and expelling the United
States from Iran stemmed from that culture.

The pioneers of the Islamic Revolution in Iran pursued universal goals and
declared that the only way to rid the world from the existing stalemate,
which was the fruit of secularism and materialistic thoughts, was to resort
to religion and divine teachings.

With the collapse of Marxism system in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
and the frustration of communists around the world, suddenly a vast
ideological void was developed which permitted revolutionary Islam to easily
enter the field and fill the void in favor of many oppressed masses.

This new development caused certain Western theologians to resort again to
war between the cross and the crescent. In the same way, motivated by
religious fanaticism and commercial gains, several Christian armies joined
each other and started crusade against Muslims in the 11th century A.D., in
modern times also the Western statesmen thought of waging war between
Christianity and the Muslim World, and believed that such a clash between the
two faiths was inevitable. But two important matters were ignored in such a
method of thinking.

First of all, there is the least semblance between the conditions of the 20th
century world and that of middle ages when the crusades were fought.
Secondly, the existing problems in the world are universal in nature.

The advance of science and technology in the past millennium has been so
great that one cannot change its dimension and can only change its quality.
Similar changes have happened in thoughts as well. Communication has so
improved that the reverberation of every important event is instantly felt in
all the parts of the world. Modern weapons do not know any boundary and any
mistake by leaders of powerful nations may destroy the world.

In the same manner human misery has become global. A great part of the world
is deprived of peace, neighbors look at each other with suspicion, men and
women have become estranged, children starve from lack of food and drug,
poverty and hunger have robbed people of a decent life in many countries,
justice has become a dream, malevolence and rudeness is rampant, religious
and ethnic wars are claiming daily victims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Algeria
and Turkey, and despotism and chaos is harassing many people around the
world.

Under such circumstances to speak about clash of civilization and reject
dialogue and understanding will be utter folly, because should an atomic war
break out not even the most advanced country in the West can escape its
devastating effect. Nowadays dialogue of civilization is not a luxury or
superficial item but a vital requirement. From 1950 onward the Eastern and
Western worlds have bullied each other to resort to nuclear arms to frighten
their rival in order to strike a horror balance, but nowadays this equation
has changed. Nowadays it is not the differences between two superpowers that
should be resolved in order to avoid a global war by containment. The
difference among various cultures, which desire to secure their rightful
places in the global scene, should also be taken into consideration. On the
other hand all countries know that should they fail to collectively thwart
the treat of a global war, everything is doomed to be destroyed.

One example of such threat is the pollution of the living environment so that
if various countries fail to find a practical solution to prevent its spread,
it will sicken and kill both the poor and the rich.

But dialogue is only a procedure and cannot solve human problems without
solid foundations. Such foundations can form a sense of responsibility and a
series of fundamental principles common in all divine religions.

One can collect all these common and basic principles under the name of
"global ethics". We must realize that mankind is from a single family and
essence, and that human happiness depends on collective use of divine
blessings on the Earth. We must be kind to each other and respect justice and
peace, move toward social and economic equity and try to nurture every
talent. We must base all our actions on equity and sympathy and since all of
us believe on a savior not of us must remain negligent of the poor and
deprived under the pretext of possessing different of traditions and
religions. We must derive common principles out of Iranian Constitution and
that of Human Rights' Charter and lay the basis for global ethics based on
the following principles: 1. Belief in solidarity and social and economic
equity.

2. Avoidance of rudeness and having respect for all forms of life.

3 Being kind and candid to each other.

4. Belief in equal rights among mankind.

Meanwhile, commitment to such principles must not be mistaken with unlimited
liberties.

To us, Islam is the most sublime source of moral teachings. Not only does
Islam endorse all the above principles but has far better provisions and
codes that fortify and augments such ethics. The Holy Quran has liberated
mankind from the shackles of empty traditions, religious, political and
economic hegemony, ethnic fanaticism, slavery and other like evils which
prevents mankind to attain happiness, salvation and unity with God. All
fundamental human rights have been anticipated in the Holy Quran.

Ethical principles are repeatedly referred in different chapters in the Holy
Quran but two important principles have been classified which are canons of
wisdom and the true path.

Natural human rights are based on such instinctive ethics and by reviving the
important, vital and common principles in divine religions one can manage for
common understanding among various civilizations, render big service to
global peace and contain revolt and chaos.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:27:47 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian Cinema Steals the Show

Iranian Cinema Steals the Show

Iranian Cinema Has Moved to the Forefront of International Film Culture in
the Past Decade

The following evaluation by K.M. Amladi of the success of the Iranian cinema
at world film festivals and public screens appeared in The Hindustan Times on
Thursday, January 13, 2000.

Social themes are predominant in contemporary Iranian movies, which over the
years have been gaining wider audiences.

Besides receiving acclaim at leading European film festivals, such as Cannes
and Venice, Iranian films have also impressed Hollywood with their visual
beauty, their ability to communicate profound depth of feelings and ideas as
well as their aesthetic excellence.

The nomination of last year's Oscar for an Iranian film, Children of the
Heaven by Majid Majidi (shown at the 1998 International Film Festival at New
Delhi) clearly marked the essentially box office-oriented Hollywood's
recognition of the Iranian cinema, which comprised of works by three leading
lights, namely Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi and Mohsen Makhmalbaf,
Kiarostami is attending this festival as a member of the jury for the
Competition of Asian Films, and his new film, The Wind Will Carry Us was
screened here yesterday.

Since his first short film in 1969, Bread and Alley, Kiarostami has moved
from themes focusing on child protagonists relying on their own wits to a
combination of fiction and reality, highlighting the distinction between life
and its representation and the role of art in everyday life. In this regard
Taste of Cherry made in 1997 firmly established his reputation and that of
the Iranian cinema. A film concerned with individual self-doubt,
self-ridicule, self-loathing or just plain self-weariness which ultimately
ended up in self-destruction.

The Wind Will Carry Us is not in the same class. It tries to highlight the
wide gap between urban and rural lifestyles and the social disparities that
continue to exist despite the Islamic Revolution.

Through at times irreverent images -- such as when the protagonist has to
rush in his station wagon to the top of the hill to listen to his cell-phone,
the director seems to be pointing out that urban progress is impossible when
rural standards fail to make headway? Majid Majidi's Color of God, which won
him the Grand Prix at the 1999 Montreal Film Festival, follows a blind boy's
Journey from a special education school in Tehran to his doting grandmother
and sisters in a mountain village.

The boy's father sees him as a hindrance to his second marriage and leaves
him with a blind carpenter so the boy can learn the trade.

The film was born out of an encounter between Majidi and two blind boys, when
he was shooting his earlier film, Children of the Heaven.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:28:24 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Without Identity The Thief and the Judge

Without Identity The Thief and the Judge

Mohammad-Reza Torky, the editor in chief of She'r (Poetry) magazine, is a
highly perceptive poet and accomplished translator (from Arabic to Farsi).
Torky, who has studied at Qom Seminary, is the author of numerous literary
reviews and research reports.

Ali Samavati, whose original poetry as well as translation of verse by other
poets previously appeared in this page, has provided the following excellent
translation of the poem Without Identity by Mohammad-Reza Torky. Samavati's
equally interesting translation of Parvin Etesami's poem, The Thief and the
Judge, a morality tale in the manner of the classical Persian poetry, also
appears in this page.

Without Identity

By Mohammad-Reza Torky

Translated by Ali Samavati

No creature, no demon, no human; a blend of pride and illusion Deprived from
the human truth, something close to a delusion

In the modern human caves, in a jungle of steel and cement The semi-tame man
of today; is left with no joy and merriment.

Drowned in sins and defiance, filled with oblivion and negligence Unaware of
the secrets of life; eternal in his heaven of nonsense.

A walk without the desire to reach. An eye without the pleasure to see A
laughter & without the warmth of a smile, colored with grief and misery In a
jungle as broad as the world; this injured, wandering soul Is all lost with
no identify, no spirit, no God, and no goal.

A human without love and kindness is like a forest and a sea A sea without
any commotion, and a forest without any glee Also, Samavati has translated
into English and German poetry by some of the best known figures in
contemporary Persian literature, including Hussein Shahriar and Parvin
Etesami.

The Thief and the Judge

By Parvin Etesami

Translated by Ali Samavati

People gathered in the court to see a thief

Being questioned for punishment or relief

The judge wanted to prove stealing was absurd and filthy

Thereby, he planned to condemn the thief for being guilty

But, the interrogation turned facing another way

For the thief too, had a lot to ask and a lot to say

Judge: ``Why do you do an act so odd?''

Thief: ``Why do you drink of people's' blood?''

Judge: ``You shall be punished severely, indeed!''

Thief: ``Is there a penalty for your illicit deed?''

Judge: ``What is your job? Do clearly divulge!''

Thief: ``I steal, just the same as the judge.''

Judge: ``Where is all that gold that you stole?''

Thief: ``Where is all the money you took as dole?''

Judge: ``You are very imprudent, and awfully rude,''

Thief: ``Let us talk about my deed, not my attitude!''

Thief:

``I steal what I need, same as a harmless crow,''

``I steal as a thief; but you, in the name of law.''

``I steal what I find on the shelves or on the floors,''

``I jump over the walls; you come in from the doors.''

``I steal with fear, in the darkness of the night,''

``You steal freely, in the beauty of the daylight.''

``I have done wrongful acts, but I have not been aware,''

``You knew you are wrong, but you did not seem to care.''

``How can you ever expect others to be moral?''

``When yourself do not care about morality at all?''

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:42:47 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: CNN: Reformers set to break conservative grip on Iran

February 20, 2000 Web posted at: 12:02 p.m. EST (1702 GMT)
From staff and wire reports

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian voters appeared Sunday to have handed reformers
a commanding lead in parliamentary elections, rejecting the hard-liners'
21-year grip on government.

Results were out in 172 of the 290 seats in Majlis, or Parliament, and
reform candidates had an overwhelming lead, state media reported.

With 22 million votes counted from 32 million cast, the Islamic Republic
News Agency said 67 percent of the winners were reformers, 25 percent
were conservatives and the rest independents. It did not give a
numerical breakdown.

Attention is now focused on Tehran, a prestigious constituency where
several high-profile candidates are running. The first results from the
capital, which has 30 seats in Parliament, could be known later Sunday.

The final results of the vote, however, will not be tallied until early
April.

Reformers leading in Iran's second city

Reformers close to President Mohammad Khatami won all five seats in the
central city of Isfahan and took a strong lead in Mashhad, Iran's second
city, reports from the provinces said.

They also took three of four seats in the southern city of Shiraz, with
the final place to be determined in a runoff.

"In this election, all groups accepted that they have to move within the
rules of politics and not beyond that," pro-Khatami Interior Minister
Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari said. "In this election, the only winner is the
Iranian nation."

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reacted positively to the
election returns. "The Iranian people clearly, by going to the polls in
such large numbers, have demonstrated their eagerness to use the
electoral process and let their voices be heard and chart their
country's political direction," she said.

Albright added, "Their enthusiasm is testimony to the growing strength
of democracy in Iran, which we welcome."

Record turnout led by young voters

A record voter turnout appeared to have helped the reformists. Of the
38.7 million eligible voters, some 32 million, or 83 percent, voted.
Polling places were kept open an extra two hours to accommodate the
crowds.

The heavy participation was led by Iran's youth. About 20 million
Iranians are in high schools and universities, and many have tired of
the strict Islamic laws that dictate their personal lives.

Dissatisfaction also has been registered at hard- liners' attempts to
stifle critical newspapers and at the clergy's control over the
judiciary.

Election day violence

In the first reported election-related violence, meanwhile, two people
were killed and 15 injured in the southwestern town of Shush on
Saturday, witnesses said.

The Islamic Republic News Agency said the trouble started when one group
accused the winning candidate of bribing people to vote for him. It was
not clear whether the conflict stemmed from political differences or
local tribal rivalries unrelated to the conservative-reformist struggle.

If reformers do take control of the Iranian parliament, experts say
prospects may improve for better relations with the United States, which
were severed in 1979 when Iranian revolutionaries loyal to Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking dozens of
U.S. citizens hostage for 444 days.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:19:06 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Khatami Win Foretold Reform Victory

Khatami Win Foretold Reform Victory

By VIJAY JOSHI
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's hard-line ruling clergy wanted merely to spice up
the 1997 presidential race when they approved the moderate candidacy of a
relatively unknown mullah named Mohammad Khatami.

Instead, Khatami's surprising landslide victory set in motion a reform
juggernaut that, according to weekend results, was sweeping hard-liners out
of Parliament, dealing another blow to their shrinking influence.

Reform candidates - who have promised to create a civil society with
individual and political freedoms - are riding on Khatami's success,
popularity and vision.

Khatami's election has been sanctified by the reformist movement. The
coalition that seemed to be winning Friday's election calls itself 2nd of
Khordad, a reference to the date in the Iranian calendar - equivalent to May
23, 1997 - when the presidential poll was held.

As a candidate, Khatami became a magnet for closet liberals and provided hope
to the youth and women groaning under the rigid rules enforced in the name of
Islam.

To the hard-liners, letting Khatami run was a blunder. To most Iranians it
was a boon. Here, finally, was a cleric who understood their frustrations and
promised something different. He won 20 million of the 29 million votes cast.

So far, Khatami hasn't let them down. Taking cue from his public statements,
young men and women have been able to mingle without fearing the Baseej
paramilitary forces who used to enforce religious values. Banned satellite
dishes are discreetly appearing on rooftops, the mandatory women's head
scarves are sliding back to show more and more hair.

Khatami, a soft-spoken scholar, does not advocate doing away with the Islamic
system that came with the 1979 revolution, but his moderate interpretation of
the religion has been widely accepted by Iranians, most of them devout
Muslims.

More importantly, Khatami gave Iranians the confidence to criticize the
clergy, which saw itself as the interpreter of God's word and beyond
reproach. Outspoken newspapers have flourished in his rule.

Until Khatami's election, presidential races in Iran were stage-managed. The
Council of Guardians, a hard-line clique, would nominate the clerical
contestants, usually one heavyweight and other unknowns. People had little
confidence in the elections and turnout was low.

The 1997 race changed all that. Though an outsider, Khatami, a former culture
minister, was not totally unknown. His main rival, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri,
boasted during the campaign that the challenge was welcome. He even quoted a
Farsi proverb to emphasize his point: It would nice ``to heat up the furnace
a little,'' he said.

After Khatami's victory, Nateq-Nouri's boast gave rise to a new joke in Iran.
The punch line was: ``the furnace became so hot that it burned down the
house.''

The hard-liners fought back. Using the judiciary under their control, they
shut down reformist newspapers. In response, the pro-Khatami Culture Ministry
gave licenses to others. The president's allies were jailed by the judiciary;
the reformist interior minister was impeached by the outgoing hard-line
dominated Parliament; intellectuals and students' groups were attacked by
hard-line vigilantes

But every hard-line blow only made the reformists more popular. Khatami
became a superhero.

Khatami's main advantage is that he is not an outsider trying to vanquish the
system but an insider trying to change it.

As it became clear over the last few months that people are bent on change,
the hard-liners have also started backing down.

The conservative Council of Guardians, which screened all candidates for the
parliamentary elections, allowed hundreds of reformers to run. In previous
elections, it had rejected liberal candidates on specious grounds.

The council, which also vets legislation, is unlikely to block the new
Parliament for fear of angering the people, said Mohammedreza Zohdi, editor
of the independent Arya newspaper.

He said supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, although a hard-liner, will be
loath to resort to extraconstitutional methods. Doing that would allow
reformists to accuse him of violating the sacrosanct ideals of the Islamic
revolution's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini.

In a symbol of the changing times, the reformists opened a campaign office in
a former discotheque shut down during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Dancing in public is banned.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Associated Press writer Vijay Joshi has covered the Middle
East since 1997.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:23:43 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran Reformists Winning Big in Vote

Iran Reformists Winning Big in Vote

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - A former intelligence minister whose agents were accused
of killing political enemies was among leading hard-liners going down to
defeat Sunday as it became increasingly clear that Iranians want a
reform-minded parliament.

If the returns from Friday's election continue to favor the reformists, as is
likely, it will be the first time the parliament is free of hard-line
domination since the 1979 Islamic revolution brought the clergy to power.

Results had been announced Sunday for 190 of the 290 seats in the Majlis, or
parliament. Winners are listed only by name, not affiliation, but a
background check of the candidates by The Associated Press showed the winners
included 137 reformists - or 72 percent.

Conservatives had taken 44 seats, or 23 percent, and independents had nine
seats, or 5 percent. The Interior Ministry, in charge of the elections, will
announce the final results when they become known later this week.

Meanwhile, four provincial cities were reported calm after election-related
violence Saturday that left eight dead, Kayhan newspaper reported.

The paper said three teen-agers were killed and 10 injured when police fired
into a crowd that was trying to get into the governor's office in the town of
Dasht-e-Azadegan. The young men were angry that their candidate did not win,
the paper said. It did not give the candidate's affiliation.

Five people were reportedly killed in the town of Shush in clashes with
police. They were protesting the re-election of a candidate they accused of
vote-buying, the paper said.

In Isfahan, Iran's second-largest city, reformists won all five seats. A
big-name hard-line loser there was former Intelligence Minister Ali
Fallahian.

Reformists have suggested that Fallahian should be officially questioned
about rogue Intelligence Ministry agents who murdered five dissidents in
1998. In 1997, a German court issued a warrant for Fallahian, saying Iran's
highest rulers ordered the 1992 assassination of an Iranian-Kurdish
opposition figure in Berlin.

A reformist wave has been sweeping Iran since the May 1997 election of
President Mohammad Khatami. The 56-year-old president, a moderate Shiite
cleric, has captured the hearts of the young with his efforts to widen
individual freedoms, free the press and reduce the clergy's interference in
the government, the judiciary and people's lives.

But Khatami's initiatives had been stymied by hard-liners who controlled the
outgoing Majlis.

With the new parliament convening in June, what remains to be seen is whether
the hard-liners will continue to use their key powers to block the
reformists. The Guardian Council, 12 clerics and lawyers, must approve all
bills passed by Parliament. And Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme
leader, has the final word. He heads the armed forces, judiciary and
state-run radio and television.

Many in the conservative camp appeared ready to accept the people's verdict.

``It has now been confirmed that the Iranians are responsible for their own
affairs,'' the hard-line Tehran Times said. It said Iranians have made clear
that the government must ``immediately address their problems to make the
society healthy and wealthy.''

Such comments came as hard-liners were going down to defeat across the
country.

Ali Zaddsar - an outspoken hard-liner who was involved in a failed
impeachment bid against Culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani - lost his seat
in Jiroft in southern Iran.

Another conservative stalwart who went down in the voting was Ahmed
Rasouli-Nejad, an incumbent from Damavand in northern Iran. Rasouli-Nejad
played a role in the 1998 impeachment of Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri and
last year's bid to impeach Mohajerani. Both Nouri and Mohajerani support
Khatami's reforms.

Nouri, who is serving a five-year jail sentence on charges that included
religious dissent, was allowed to go home on leave Sunday. Leaves are granted
to Iranian prisoners for definite periods to visit family. Nouri's lasts
until Wednesday.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:27:01 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: 2 Jailed Iran Reformers Get Leave

2 Jailed Iran Reformers Get Leave

By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Two popular Iranian reformists jailed by hard-liners for
religious dissent have been allowed to go home on leave.

Abdollah Nouri, a former interior minister whose imprisonment was widely
believed to have been aimed at keeping him from running in Friday's
parliamentary elections, arrived home Sunday afternoon from the Evin prison
in northern Tehran.

The other reformist, Mohsen Kadivar, was freed Saturday on a one-week leave,
the pro-reform Hammihan newspaper said Sunday. It said he was freed under a
law that allows a one-week leave after every three-month period of
imprisonment.

Nouri, whose leave lasts until Wednesday, seemed relaxed and in good spirits
at his home in northern Tehran. It was not clear why his leave was only for
four days.

Two dozen family, local journalists and friends, including Kadivar, crowded
into Nouri's modest two-story home in an upscale neighborhood. Among the
well-wishers were a number of reformist candidates in the legislative
elections, including Nouri's younger brother, Alireza.

The head of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's office, Mohammad Abtahi, and
Transportation Minister Mahmoud Hojjati were also present.

Nouri said he was being well-treated in prison and had ``settled'' nicely.
``It's not that bad,'' he said. But Nouri, a small man, seemed much thinner
and relatives said he had lost at least 22 pounds.

Nouri is serving a five-year jail sentence following a November trial that
was blatantly political. Nouri had refused to recognize the legality of the
special clerical court that tried him, calling it unconstitutional.

This is the first time Nouri has been allowed leave, which is different from
bail or parole. A leave is for a definite period meant to let the prisoner
visit his or her family.

Kadivar, a cleric and professor, has received at least two leaves in the
past. The last one was in November, when he attended Nouri's trial. Kadivar
was sentenced to 18 months in jail in April for his reformist views.

He and Nouri are close allies of the reformist Khatami, whose supporters are
set to win the parliamentary elections on a platform of easing the strict
Islamic laws imposed by the hard-liners.

Nouri's outspoken views earned him great popularity among Iranians.

A former journalist and a middle-ranking cleric, he had conducted a
letter-writing campaign against the hard-liners from his prison cell. His
greatest challenge has been to the absolute powers of Khamenei.

Nouri was tried and convicted by a hard-line court on charges that included
religious dissent.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:31:06 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran reformers poised for Tehran election win

Iran reformers poised for Tehran election win

By Jonathan Lyons


TEHRAN, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Iran's reformers were poised for a big victory in
the capital Tehran, completing a clean electoral sweep of the country's urban
centres.

The high turnout in Friday's parliamentary polls in support of President
Mohammad Khatami's broad reform campaign has already eliminated key
conservative figures from the assembly.

Unofficial preliminary results from Tehran, the battleground of Iran's top
politicians, reveal further setbacks in store for some of the Right's leading
lights.

Earlier, results from the second city of Mashhad, as well as Isfahan and
Shiraz, showed not a single conservative had managed to win a seat, although
one race will go to a run-off.

An otherwise trouble-free election was marred by the deaths of eight people
after police fired on Saturday at crowds protesting against alleged ballot
rigging in two towns in southwestern Iran.

The daily Kayhan said five people were killed in the town of Shush and
another three in Dasht-e Azadegan -- both in the oil-rich province of
Khuzestan.

Among the possible conservative victims in Tehran, with 30 seats, was former
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose poor showing in early returns could
end his political career.

Sources at the interior ministry, responsible for the count, said early
returns from Tehran showed a big lead for the Islamic Iran Participation
Front, the main pro-reform faction led by Mohammad Reza Khatami, brother of
the president.

They said Khatami, Alireza Nouri, the brother of jailed dissident cleric
Abdollah Nouri, and Ahmad Bourqani, a former culture ministry official who
helped foster the independent press, were among the early leaders.

TESTING TIMES FOR RAFSANJANI

But Rafsanjani, enlisted to boost conservative fortunes, was far down the
list. Analysts say such a showing could doom what had been expected to be a
strong bid for assembly speaker.

The head of the leading conservative coalition, Mohammad Reza Bahonar,
conceded defeat Tehran but maintained that his ticket had captured more than
half the provincial seats.

``Our predictions for the provinces have come true, but I think the results
are not as we thought in Tehran,'' newspapers on Sunday quoted Bahonar as
saying.

A spokesman for the Participation Front, meanwhile, said pro-reform
candidates had won about 135 seats so far.

Spokesman Mahmoud Ilkhan told Reuters that about 70 percent of the reformist
winners belonged to the Front, the faction closest to Khatami, and the rest
were backed by other pro-reform groups.

At issue is the large pool of so-called independents, many of whose political
views may not be known until the new parliament convenes, in May.

However, latest results carried by the official IRNA news agency listed
reformists as winning 104 seats. About 37 went to conservatives, while 63
went to conservatives and independents. Fifty-seven races will require
run-offs, IRNA said.

FLUID AFFILIATIONS

Parties and factions are a relatively new phenomenon in Iran and their fluid
nature made an exact tally impossible. However, the smaller outgoing
parliament was composed of roughly 120 conservatives, 80 reformers and 70
independents.

Nationally, reformist candidates looked set to wrest parliament from the
conservatives and their allies.

A solid pro-reform majority would boost Khatami's efforts to create a civil
society within Iran's Islamic system.

It could also help bring Iran further out of its international isolation,
normalising ties with western Europe and possibly with its arch-enemy, the
United States.

Last March Khatami became the first Iranian leader to visit the West since
the 1979 Islamic revolution, going to Italy and meeting the Pope.

In the first reports of violence, riots broke out in two Iranian towns on
Saturday when residents protested against the re-election of their incumbent
members of parliament, according to the Iranian news agency IRNA.

It said police used tear gas and shot into the air to disperse hundreds of
demonstrators who hurled stones at the governor's office and attacked banks
and state buildings in the southwestern town of Shush. Fifteen people were
injured.

Preliminary figures put turnout at more than 80 percent of the 38.7 million
eligible voters, up from the 71 percent in the last parliamentary polls in
1996, election officials said.

Some 88 percent took part in the presidential polls of 1997, which were won
by Khatami in a landslide.

12:03 02-20-00

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:31:52 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Election violence kills eight in Iran-paper

Election violence kills eight in Iran-paper


TEHRAN, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Police fired at crowds of demonstrators protesting
against alleged ballot rigging in two towns in southwestern Iran, killing
eight and wounding scores more, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The daily Kayhan said the eight, including a young child, were killed on
Saturday in clashes with police in oil-rich Khuzestan province during
protests against the results of last Friday's parliamentary election in their
districts.

The newspaper said an angry crowd had set fire to police cars in the town of
Shush and attacked banks and public buildings.

Five people including the child died in ensuing clashes with police, it said.

It reported riots had also broken out in nearby Dasht-e Azadegan after police
fired into a crowd of people trying to force their way into the governor's
office. These clashes left three people dead and 10 others wounded.

The protesters then attacked state buildings and staged demonstrations, the
newspaper said.

The official IRNA news agency earlier said 15 people had been injured in
clashes in Shush and a third town in the province. It said protesters were
angry about the re-election of the incumbent, whom they accused of
``vote-buying and bribery.''

In another incident, armed demonstrators angry about the defeat of their
favourite candidate blocked a major road in southern Fars province for
several hours on Saturday, the daily Hamshahri said.

The incidents marred an otherwise trouble-free election that saw many
incumbents, mostly conservatives, lose their seats in a surge by reformists
backing President Mohammad Khatami.

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:34:56 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Israel welcomes vote results in arch-foe Iran

Israel welcomes vote results in arch-foe Iran

By Bradley Burston


JERUSALEM, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Israel welcomed on Sunday the strong showing by
reformers in Iran's parliamentary elections but said it was too early to tell
if this would spell a new direction in Tehran's anti-Israeli foreign policy.

``The first swallow does not necessarily herald the start of spring,''
diplomatic sources quoted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as saying during
a weekly cabinet meeting.

``This is an internal and historic struggle within Iran,'' the sources said
Barak told his ministers. They quoted him as saying that Iran's policy of
``encouraging terrorism'' and ``seeking nuclear capability'' continued.

Iran has long supported militant Islamic groups violently opposed to the
existence of the Jewish state.

Preliminary returns from the Friday vote showed Iranian reformers close to
President Mohammad Khatami building a commanding lead. Islamic conservatives,
who have controlled the assembly for years, conceded defeat in Tehran on
Sunday.

``We certainly welcome these results, as they signify the rise of moderate
forces, and any moderation in our region surely has our blessing,'' said an
Israeli diplomatic official who declined to be identified.

``Chances are that we will not see policy changes regarding Israel and the
Middle East peace process any time soon. Iran opposes the peace process and
continues to demand the annihilation of the state of Israel, and from our
standpoint things have not changed,'' he said.

Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas armed and, to an extent, directed by Iran have
waged a punishing war for years to drive Israeli troops from the border
swathe they occupy in south Lebanon, Israel's last active battlefront.

Israel's defence chiefs also repeatedly voice assessments that Tehran is only
a few years away from a nuclear capability that they say poses potentially
deadly danger to all of Israel.

Israel supplied Iran with arms and military know-how prior to the 1979
Islamic revolution, which from its inception viewed the Jewish state and its
patron Washington as mortal foes.

The Iranian election took centre stage in weekend Israeli media reports.
Leading newspapers hailed the rise of moderates in front-page headlines, with
the daily Maariv quoting a Western journalist in Tehran as speaking of a
``new revolution.''

A solid pro-reform majority would boost Khatami's efforts to create a civil
society within Iran's Islamic system. It could also foster bids to thaw
Iran's international isolation, aiding normalisation of ties with western
Europe and the United States.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 20 Feb 2000 - Special issue