Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 - Special issue

There are 20 messages totalling 1275 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Iran to launch wargames in strategic waterway
2. INTERVIEW-Iraq opposition not affected by Iran vote
3. U.S. Sees Chance for Talks With Iran
4. Ex-president Rafsanjani squeezes into Iran assembly
5. NEWSMAKER-Rafsanjani under fire in Iran poll
6. Iran to hold peaceful exercises in the Gulf
7. Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal
8. Iran formin hopes vote means change in relations
9. IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 23, 2000
10. PRESIDENT: Afghan Crisis Is "Great Tragedy of the Century"
11. Triumphant Reformers Set Out Program for More Open Iran
12. Asefi on Worldwide Coverage of Iran's Majlis Elections
13. Iranian, Chinese FMs Review Afghan, Iraqi Crises
14. Austria Calls for Upgrading Iran-EU Relations
15. Final Election Results Expected Thursday Noon, Tehran Governor
16. Army, IRGC to Launch War Games in Persian Gulf
17. Expansion of Iran-Romania Ties Discussed
18. Speaker Thanks Nation for Creating Epics in Feb., 2000
19. U.S. Welcomes "Historic" Iranian Vote But Remains Cautious on Real Change
20. No Runoffs for Tehran Constituency

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 12:35:44 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran to launch wargames in strategic waterway

Iran to launch wargames in strategic waterway

By Ali Raiss-Tousi


TEHRAN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Iran will launch ten days of air, land and sea
manoeuvres on both sides of the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, naval
commanders said.

``The manoeuvres will be held in the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and
the Persian Gulf in five phases,'' Rear-Admiral Abbas Mohtaj, commander of
Iran's navy, told a news conference on Wednesday.

``Various units of the regular navy, army and air-force as well as the
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will take part in the exercises which will
last ten days,'' he said.

Around 60 warships, 120 rocket-launching speedboats, 45 helicopters and jets
as well as all three of Iran's Russian made Kilo-class submarines will take
part in the manoeuvres dubbed ``Unity 78'' around the Strait of Hormuz,
through which 20 percent of the world's oil passes.

``The aim of the exercises is to increase the combat readiness of the naval
forces in safeguarding the country's sea borders and evaluating military
equipment newly procured or upgraded,'' Rear-Admiral Ali Akbar Ahmadian,
commander of the naval arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards said.

NEW HARDWARE TESTED ``The United States thought that by pressuring China
not to transfer the know-how of the C-802 naval missile to Iran, we would not
be able to make it operational, but this year we will deploy a modified and
advanced version of the missile,'' Ahmadian said.

The Revolutionary Guards will carry out so-called Over The Horizon Targeting
tests in order to increase the effective range of missiles to 120 km (75
miles) from the current 30 km (19 miles), and also fully integrate their
newly acquired multi-purpose Mi-117 helicopters, he added.

Electronic warfare measures will be tested as well as new radar capabilities
along with deployment of marines and teams of frogmen along the coast.

Also on trial is a new homegrown anti-ship missile, Fajr-e Darya, and
upgraded naval fire-control systems, Mohtaj told reporters.

Officers from the Omani navy are to attend the manoeuvres according to a deal
struck between the two countries to send military observers to each others
naval exercises.

Iran has improved ties with its Arab neighbours since the election of
moderate President Mohammad Khatami in 1997, partly easing earlier tensions
in the region.

Gulf Arab countries have welcomed the victory of Khatami's reformist allies
in last week's parliamentary elections.

Tehran opposes the presence of U.S. and other Western navies in the region
and has often called for comprehensive regional defence pacts.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 12:37:46 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: INTERVIEW-Iraq opposition not affected by Iran vote

INTERVIEW-Iraq opposition not affected by Iran vote

By Kinda Jayoush


BEIRUT, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The Tehran-based leader of Iraq's main Shi'ite
Moslem opposition said on Wednesday the election of reformers in Iran would
not hurt Iranian support of his group.

``I do not believe that these elections will have a negative impact on our
relations with Iran,'' Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, head of the Supreme
Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), told Reuters in an
interview.

``All the powers and parties in Iran have a united stand towards the Iraqi
(opposition) cause...Even the Iranian constitution confirms the supportive
position.''

President Mohammad Khatami's pro-reform allies swept to victory in last
Friday's elections. The result has been seen as a mandate to open to the West
-- possibly leading to cooler ties with Iraq's opposition that is backed by
Iran's conservatives.

The Iraqi leader criticised U.S. policies towards Iraq. In 1998 Washington
allocated $97 million to help Iraqi groups trying to topple President Saddam
Hussein.

``We have repeatedly said that a change in Iraq should be brought around by
its own people. What the Iraqis need is to be protected from the daily
annihilation and oppression in Iraq,'' he said.''So why don't people focus on
that instead of concentrating only on mass-destruction weapons, which is also
an important issue but not the only issue?''

The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of
Kuwait that can only be lifted if Baghdad eliminates all weapons of
mass-destruction.

Al-Hakim was speaking during his first official visit to Lebanon, mainly to
show support to guerrillas fighting to drive Israel out of south Lebanon.

``I came to demonstrate moral support to the Lebanese government and
resistance following Israel's recent aggression on the country,'' al-Hakim
said. ``I believe that a united Islamic position in such circumstances would
bolster the Lebanese resistance facing the Israeli enemy.''

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 12:38:21 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. Sees Chance for Talks With Iran

U.S. Sees Chance for Talks With Iran

By TERENCE HUNT
.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) - Declaring that ``there may be some change in the offing,''
the White House reached out today to reformers in Iran who scored a stunning
electoral victory by capturing at least two-thirds of the seats in the
parliament.

The vote was a major setback to hard-liners opposed to President Mohammad
Khatami's reform program and could offer the possibility of engagement
between Washington and Tehran.

``We have said for some time that we want to engage in a constructive and
authorized dialogue to address all the issues that concern us,'' White House
spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

He said the outstanding issues include any Iranian programs to produce
weapons of mass destruction, support of terrorism and opposition to the
Middle East peace process.

``I think these elections at this stage indicate that there may be some
change in the offing,'' Lockhart said, ``but I think we need to let that
process finish ... and more importantly see what comes of it as far as the
(Iranian) government's ... willingness to address these issues.''

Of the 195 parliamentary seats decided so far, reformists have won 141, more
than 70 percent. Final results are to be announced Thursday.

The United States severed relations with Iran after radical followers of the
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and
took 52 Americans hostage. The United States still maintains economic
sanctions against Iran and accuses it of being a sponsor of terrorism.

Lockhart brushed aside suggestions that it was up to the United States to
take the first step to renew ties.

``I don't think this is a matter of who takes what step,'' he said. ``If they
are willing to engage in this dialogue, I think that would be a positive
step. We'll have to see.''

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 12:39:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Ex-president Rafsanjani squeezes into Iran assembly

Ex-president Rafsanjani squeezes into Iran assembly


TEHRAN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,
who headed the conservative and centrist tickets, has finished 29th in the
race for Tehran's 30 seats in parliament, unofficial final results showed on
Wednesday.

Interior ministry officials said the final count in the capital showed
Rafsanjani, once the country's most powerful politician, had enough votes to
claim a seat and avoid a run-off.

They said the count showed reformers backing President Mohammad Khatami,
paced by his youngest brother Mohammad Reza Khatami, had won the 29 other
places.

The conservative Kayhan newspaper carried a similar account.

Official final results from Tehran are expected to be announced on Thursday,
six days after polls seen as a referendum on President Khatami's broad social
and political reforms.

In second place, behind the president's brother, was Jamileh Kadivar, top
woman vote-getter in last year's Tehran city council race and sister of
imprisoned dissident cleric Mohsen Kadivar.

Alireza Nouri, brother of another popular imprisoned cleric, was third.

Rafsanjani's poor electoral showing shocked his supporters and appears to
have doomed his bid for parliamentary speaker, a post he used to great effect
in the early years of the revolution.

Nationwide, the reform movement romped to victory as voters threw out leading
conservative incumbents and broke the right's grip on the assembly.

Members of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, led by Mohammad Reza
Khatami, said on Tuesday they had already won outright 109 seats in the
290-seat parliament, with allied reformers taking another 28 seats.

The unofficial results from Tehran show 27 members of the Participation Front
ticket claiming seats, with two other pro- Khatami reformers also winning
places in the chamber.

Almost 70 races will go to run-offs, expected sometime in April, giving
reformers the chance to clinch a majority in the next parliament.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 12:43:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: NEWSMAKER-Rafsanjani under fire in Iran poll

NEWSMAKER-Rafsanjani under fire in Iran poll


TEHRAN, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,
whose candidacy has split reformist ranks in Friday's parliamentary polls, is
fighting to maintain his role as a pragmatist pivot in Iran's revolutionary
politics.

Castigated by many reformers for threatening to undermine their bid for a
parliamentary majority, Rafsanjani has been welcomed with open arms by the
troubled conservative camp as a saviour.

His bid to win a parliamentary seat and be elected as speaker has split the
broad-based reformist coalition that brought President Mohammad Khatami to
power in 1997.

While radical reformers attack Rafsanjani as a back-room deal-maker of the
past and a stranger to the politics of transparency introduced by Khatami,
his centrist backers say he is faithful to the popular president.

``The rightist camp is clinging to Hashemi (Rafsanjani) as their ship of
salvation as they realise they do not have much popular support,'' said
Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh Hashemi.

``Mr Rafsanjani has never opposed Mr Khatami in the past two and a half
years. I am sure he will support the government more than anyone else,
because he has been in charge of the government and knows what difficulties
the president faces,'' Hashemi, a member of parliament, told Reuters.

But Abbas Abdi, a key radical reformist leader, said Rafsanjani could be
discredited at the polls by failing to draw most votes, as might be expected
for a member of the revolutionary Old Guard.

``His era is past...If he does not top the polls, that is really a defeat for
him,'' Abdi told Reuters.

RAFSANJANI HAS MAINTAINED CENTRAL ROLE

After serving two terms as president from 1989 to 1997 and speaker of
parliament throughout the 1980s, Rafsanjani has maintained his place at the
top of the political hierarchy.

He now heads the Expediency Council, an influential body that advises Iran's
spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and can pass legislation over the
head of parliament.

Rafsanjani still has wide support among mainstream Islamists as a pragmatist
trying to reconcile Iran's Islamic revolutionary ideals with its urgent need
to solve daunting economic problems and open up to the outside world.

Political analysts say the former president could play an instrumental role
in reviving the moribund economy and give Khatami the political backing he
needs to make a diplomatic deal with the United States.

After acting as the right-hand man of late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini in a decade of revolution and war, Rafsanjani championed Iran's
quest to rebuild its shattered economy and break out of international
isolation.

Rafsanjani, 65, is widely credited in Iran with persuading Khomeini to end
the eight-year war with Iraq in 1988.

Born in a pistachio-growing village in southern Iran, Rafsanjani went to the
holy Shi'ite Moslem city of Qom to study theology at the age of 14.

He joined the Islamist unrest led by Khomeini against the pro-Western
monarchy in the early 1960s and was jailed five times over the next 15 years.

He was a relatively obscure figure at the onset of the 1979 Islamic
revolution, but Khomeini appointed him to a top ruling body.

He escaped an assassination attempt with minor injuries in May, 1979.

Rafsanjani built up his mass base over the 1980s partly by his sermons at
Tehran mass Friday prayer meetings, where he is sometimes introduced as ``the
eloquent voice of the revolution.''

Rafsanjani is married and has two daughters and three sons.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 16:29:59 EST
From: Iran Man <IRANEHMAN@AOL.COM>
Subject: Iran to hold peaceful exercises in the Gulf

Iran to hold peaceful exercises in the Gulf

Iran's armed forces will begin ten days of exercises in the Gulf, designed
to
send "a message of peace, security and unity to friendly countries in the
region."

February 23, 2000, 05:00 PM
From Arabia On Line
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's armed forces will begin ten days of exercises in the
Gulf Thursday, designed to send "a message of peace, security and unity to
friendly countries in the region," press reports said Wednesday.

The manoeuvres, named Unity 78, will involve all branches of the armed
forces, including the elite Revolutionary Guards, the reports said, quoting a
military
official.

Last month Iranian President Mohammad Khatami declared the Gulf is "Persian
for eternity," but called for "regional solidarity" against foreign troops in
the area.

"If we say today that foreign forces must leave the Persian Gulf, it is
because this region belongs to the nations and countries of the region," he
said, in a clear allusion to US forces based in Arab Gulf states.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:28:25 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal

Official: Iran Will Be More Liberal

.c The Associated Press


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's foreign policy will become more liberal following
last week's defeat of hard-liners in parliamentary elections, Iranian Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Wednesday.

``The positive actions of other countries will receive positive reaction from
the Islamic Republic of Iran,'' he was quoted as saying by state television.

But Kharrazi said Iran's relations with the United States will still depend
on Washington's taking ``practical steps'' - a position his government has
stated before.

In Washington earlier Wednesday, White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said it
``is a matter of who takes what step.''

``If they are willing to engage in this dialogue, I think that would be a
positive step. We'll have to see,'' Lockhart said, commenting on Friday's
parliamentary elections that reformists appeared to dominate.

Among the successful candidates are many who advocate better ties with the
United States.

But Washington's agenda for the talks may not go down well in Tehran. The
United States says it wants to discuss Iran's alleged program to produce
weapons of mass destruction, its alleged support of terrorism and its
opposition to the Middle East peace process.

Kharrazi hinted the United States was not taking positive steps to improve
the atmosphere for talks.

The United States is preventing the transport of central Asian oil by a
planned pipeline running through Iranian territory and prohibits the import
of Iranian goods, the foreign minister said.

The European Union said Wednesday it was interested in closer ties with Iran.

``The European Union recalls its interest in consolidating the broad dialogue
it has maintained with Iran and reiterates its will to promote closer ties
with the Iranian government,'' said a statement released in Lisbon, which
currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

The 15-nation Union also hailed the Iranian people for the ``massive''
electoral turnout - 83 percent of 38.7 million registered voters - saying it
was a sign of ``engagement in the democratic process.''

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:29:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran formin hopes vote means change in relations

Iran formin hopes vote means change in relations


TEHRAN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister said on Wednesday he hoped
the reform victory in Iran's elections would lead to a ``major change'' in
its relations with the world.

``We hope with the international reaction to the large turnout in the
election, we will see a major change in Iran's relations with the regional
nations and the entire world,'' Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as
saying by the official IRNA news agency.

President Mohammad Khatami's pro-reform allies swept to power in Friday's
parliamentary elections against entrenched conservatives thanks to a large
turnout by voters eager for change.

Commenting on U.S. and other Western reaction to the elections, Kharrazi
said: ``We expect practical steps to be taken by them. No doubt any positive
action taken by other countries would receive (a) positive response from
Iran.''

Iran's traditional foe, the United States, called the reformers' victory an
historic vote for greater openness and freedom, while European states
welcomed the outcome and said it could help Iran emerge from its
international isolation.

``The election sent a message to the other countries, especially the Western
states, that only making positive statements is not enough and words should
come in conjunction with action,'' Kharrazi said.

Since President Khatami's election in 1997, Iran has worked hard to improve
its relations with nearby states and Europe.

Iranian conservatives said on Tuesday the win for reformers would not bring
big policy changes because many members of parliament were still faithful to
the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:39:40 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 23, 2000

IRAN NEWS EDITORIAL FEBRUARY 23, 2000


Victory of Reformists: A New Test for Khatami's Government

After several months of heated campaign the reformers eventually won the
Parliament and opened a new chapter in the government's economic,
political, social and cultural activities.

One important agenda for the Sixth Majlis is its relation with the government
and how it will cooperate with Khatami's economic policies? Up to now
one of the reasons for the unsatisfactory economy was said to be lack of
cooperation between the Majlis and the government and the hurdles that the
conservative right wing was throwing in front of the government. But now
that the reformists have won the elections, there is no reason for the new
Majlis to differ with the government.

Meanwhile, what is important in this connection is that supporting President
Khatami's government does not mean supporting all his economic policies
and activities. Surely, a real supportive Majlis must offer logical
consultation
service to the government to improve the economy and the people's living
standards. For example, a change in the drafting of the Third Plan or change
of ministers was done under the pressure of the conservatives in the Majlis.
Another important duty of the the performance of the various ministries,
clarify the fate of privatization, investigate and trace the culprits whose
misguided policies led to the existing problems and specially the billions of
dollars in foreign loans during the Construction Era.

Reformists must know that the people have not cast their votes for their
names, but due to a need for reforming the economy, improving the living
conditions, changing the country's economic policies and eliminating
monopolies. Surely, the electorate expect the new Majlis to respond to
these vital needs and the deputies cannot stand indifferent to such demands.

The Majlis must also try to remove the obstacles in the way of membership
of the country in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

While cooperating with the government, the reformists must act as rational
critics, monitor the government's performance and keep the people's
interests in mind. They must know that the people's vote has put a heavy
responsibility over their shoulders and they must devise necessary legislature
to eliminate the people's difficulties as soon as possible.

In conclusion, it is necessary to remind the new Majlis that the sweetness of
victory will become more sweeter when we see further success for the
reformists in the coming years. Let us not witness a day that the public
would choose other reformists to improve the works of the present ones.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:41:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: PRESIDENT: Afghan Crisis Is "Great Tragedy of the Century"

PRESIDENT: Afghan Crisis Is "Great Tragedy of the Century"

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- President Seyed Mohammad Khatami referred to the
Afghanistan crisis as one of the "foremost tragedies of the century"' which
has "pained the heart of all humanity."

Speaking in a meeting with members of the OIC Committee on Afghanistan
yesterday, President Khatami stated that the unsettled situation in
Afghanistan was a major threat to the regional countries and to international
peace. He said that suitable means should be found for a peaceful solution
to the crisis.

Khatami who is the current chairman of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC), said that diffusing the current crisis and putting the
country on the path to independence and establishing the sovereignty of the
people of Afghanistan to determine their own destiny was the most
expedient solution to its problems. The President said that all the parties
and
groups in Afghanistan should cooperate and seek every possible human,
political and international leverage in order to achieve this aim.

The OIC chief said that the issue of drug production in Afghanistan was one
of the current threats to the neighboring countries. He said that Iran and
Pakistan were not excluded from this threat. He added that terrorism was
also a danger in Afghanistan where international help should be sought to
end the scourge. President Khatami stated that the OIC should readily
cooperate with the United Nations and the 6+2 group in order to initiate
positive and constructive means to solve the Afghan dilemma.

6+2 comprises the six neighbors of Afghanistan plus Russia and the United
States.

Members of the OIC Committee on Afghanistan are from Tunisia, Pakistan,
Guinea, and the special envoy of the OIC secretary general.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:41:34 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Triumphant Reformers Set Out Program for More Open Iran

Triumphant Reformers Set Out Program for More Open Iran

TEHRAN (AFP) - Hot on the heels of their landslide victory in
parliamentary elections, Iran's reformers yesterday set out their program for
a more open society, vowing to open up to the foreign media and even the
long-hated United States.

Emboldened by their capture of Parliament, long a bastion of their
Conservative opponents, the reformers pledged to end a five-year-old ban
on satellite dishes aimed at shutting out the foreign media.

Their leader, Mohammad-Reza Khatami -- brother of Iran's reformist
President -- also promised to create a "new atmosphere" with the United
States and to get to the bottom of some of the murkier scandals to have hit
the Islamic Republic in recent years.

"We support the free flow of information -- that's why, once we're in
Parliament, we're going to change the law which bans satellite dishes," said
Rajabali Marzrui, newly elected MP from the central city of Isfahan for the
main reformist faction, the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

He promised the new majority in Parliament would swiftly repeal the ban on
dishes imposed in 1995 by hardliners intent on preventing the Islamic
Republic being invaded by "Western depravity."

Standing alongside him, Khatami -- the top vote-getter in Friday's polls --
promised that Parliament would also work to create a better atmosphere for
Iran's long-troubled relations with the United States.

"Parliament doesn't have a direct role but it will be able to create a new
atmosphere which may help to eliminate tensions," President Mohammad
Khatami's younger brother said.

But he stressed that the reformers, whose smashing success was praised by
Washington, would be no soft touch and would continue to demand a
relaxation of U.S. economic sanctions in return for any thaw in ties.

"We attach great importance to our national interests and we want relations
of equality," the younger Khatami said.

"The U.S. government defended the atrocious regime of the Shah. But we
still haven't seen any concrete change in U.S. policy," he complained.

"It's still imposing economic sanctions on us and not making any conciliatory
gestures. We're waiting for something substantial," he said.

The reformist leader, who has a good chance of being elected speaker of
the new Parliament and steering his older brother's program through the
Legislature, also vowed to get to the bottom of a string of scandals that
have outraged reformers in recent years.

He pledged that Parliament would launch its own investigations if the
authorities failed to come up with convincing explanations for a string of
murders of dissidents in late 1998 as well as a violent police clampdown on
a campus demonstration last July which led to the worst unrest here since
the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

"We hope that the relevant authorities will provide a full explanation of the
(murders of dissidents) ahead of the new parliamentary session but, if they
don't, we will certainly follow it up," he vowed.

Fellow reformist MP Hamid-Reza Taraqi criticized the outgoing
Conservative-led Parliament for dropping an inquiry into the brutal killings
which shocked public opinion here.

"The commission of inquiry ended its work without finding any significant
leads in the murders," Taraqi complained.

The authorities' explanation that the murders of Nationalist opposition
leaders, Daryush and Parveneh Foruhar, and dissident writers, Majid
Sharif, Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad Puyandeh, were the work of
rogue agents has failed to convince reformers.

Khatami said he also expected a full explanation of last July's police action
against a campus demonstration in the capital protesting the closure of the
leading reformist daily Salam.

"I hope this case will be fully explained," he said.

A court martial of Tehran Police Chief Farhad Nazari and 19 other officers
accused of exceeding their orders in the violent suppression of the
demonstration is due to open next yesterday.

But the contrast between the slowness of the court martial and the speed
with which the courts prosecuted and convicted the student demonstrators
has sparked criticism from the reformers.

A total of 1,500 demonstrators were arrested in the capital, many of them
picked up by Islamic vigilantes called in to help suppress the six days of
riots which followed the action against the demonstration.

One death sentence has been confirmed by the courts and around 1,000
other people are still being prosecuted or have already been convicted.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:42:57 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Asefi on Worldwide Coverage of Iran's Majlis Elections

Asefi on Worldwide Coverage of Iran's Majlis Elections

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here Monday
commented on remarks made by officials of some countries on the sixth
Majlis elections in Iran, saying the worldwide coverage given to the
elections highlighted the people's enthusiastic participation.

He said the holding of the sixth Majlis elections with the people's massive
participation was a sign of the enthusiasm and dynamic nature of Iran's
revolutionary people, and also proved that democracy and the people's
right to determine their fate were institutional realities in the country.

Referring to the worldwide coverage the elections received from the foreign
media, he said he believed the important fact was the persistence of the
Iranian nation in safeguarding its ideals and its efforts to make them a
reality
in various situations, IRNA reported.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:43:24 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iranian, Chinese FMs Review Afghan, Iraqi Crises

Iranian, Chinese FMs Review Afghan, Iraqi Crises

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN -- Latest international and regional developments, including the
crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, were reviewed by the Iranian and Chinese
foreign ministers here on Monday.

During the second round of discussions held between Kamal Kharrazi and
his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jianxuan, the two foreign ministers
condemned certain countries' extraterritorial policies and intervention in the
domestic affairs of other countries.

Reiterating his country's opposition to terrorism, the Chinese foreign
minister
condemned the recent crimes committed in Tehran by the terrorist
Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO).

Briefing Kharrazi on his government's stand regarding Afghanistan, he said
that Beijing is against any foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of
the
war-torn Afghanistan.

He stressed that both Iran and China enjoy identical views regarding
settlement of the Afghan crisis -- through peaceful negotiations. Jianxuan
also called for close cooperation of Iran and China in this regard.

Referring to the identical stands of the two countries on a number of
international issues, Kharrazi called for further expansion of cooperation
between the two states, IRNA reported.

As to problems creating by the war in Afghanistan on neighboring countries,
particularly the Islamic Republic of Iran, he stated that the transit of
narcotic
drugs and terrorism are among the major ones.

Stressing the urgency of finding a settlement to the crisis in Afghanistan,
Kharrazi underlined the need for encouraging the Afghan groups to come to
the negotiation table.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:44:03 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Austria Calls for Upgrading Iran-EU Relations

Austria Calls for Upgrading Iran-EU Relations

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Austrian Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Albert Rohan
yesterday called for upgrading of the level of European Union's (EU)
relations with Iran.

Speaking with the Vienna-based daily Die Presse, Rohan welcomed the
victory of the pro-reform camp in the Iranian parliamentary elections. The
Austrian official said he would encourage the EU countries to upgrade the
dialogue between Iran and EU to the ministerial level.

He proposed that the EU should implement joint projects with Iran on
environment, agriculture, anti-drug campaign and hosting refugees.

Rohan said the political stability in Iran calls for tackling of the economic
difficulties. Despite the rise in the oil prices, the weaknesses in the
Iranian
economy have not come to an end and Tehran requires foreign investment
for its economic reform program, he said, quoted by IRNA.

He said the United States will join the EU (in boosting relations) with Iran.
But, the presidential election in the United States would slow down the
process of rapprochement with Iran.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:44:43 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Final Election Results Expected Thursday Noon, Tehran Governor

Final Election Results Expected Thursday Noon, Tehran Governor

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Tehran governor, Ayatollah Azarmi, here yesterday announced
that the executive boards of the sixth Majlis elections have finished counting
the votes at the polling stations, adding that the Tehran's final results are
therefore expected by Thursday noon.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the reversal by the Guardian Council of its
decision to have the votes in Tehran counted by computer, Azarmi told
IRNA that two days prior to the election the executive boards had made all
the necessary preparations for the computerized counting of the votes.

He said the procrastination on the part of the Guardian Council in deciding
on the manner of counting of the votes created many problems for the
executive boards.

As to the complaints on the delay by some representatives of the
Monitoring Board in monitoring the results of polling stations, Azarmi cited
the cancellation of the computerized vote counting system as the reason
behind such a delay.

Underlining the round-the-clock efforts of over 50,000 personnel involved
in the counting of the votes, he said such a procedure puts a heavy burden
on the shoulders of "intelligent people".

Official Denies Rigging in Parliamentary Elections

In another development reported by IRNA the governor general of Tehran
Province, Mohammad-Reza Ayatollahi, was yesterday said to have denied
recent rumors of alleged irregularities in certain Tehran polling stations in
the
case of a candidate who ran for the next Parliament.

"Recent rumors of rigging in the counting of votes in favor of a Tehran
candidate are by no means true," said Ayatollahi, adding that the law on
Majlis elections contains all provisions necessary to guarantee the safety of
elections and counting of votes.

He further added that all the polling stations staff are trusted by members of
the executive boards who themselves are trustees of each city or district.

Moreover, Ayatollahi said the supervision exercised by the Guardian
Council over the reading and counting of votes are further guarantees on the
safety of election results.

Meanwhile, all officials and trustees of people in charge of the elections, at
whatever level, including the governor general, governors and inspectors will
not allow any individual or group to interfere in the fate of elections, said
Ayatollahi.

To remove any ambiguity, tens of Interior Ministry monitoring groups as
well as special representatives of Tehran's governor general inspected
polling stations since Sunday morning in order to carefully examine the vote-
counting process. Even minor irregularities in certain cases were
immediately corrected, added the official.

Meanwhile, Ayatollahi said the monitoring and counting of election results
were reviewed in a four-hour session on Sunday attended by the Interior
Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari, and the executive and monitoring boards
of Tehran.

He said the first official result was released by the State Elections
Headquarters at 14:00 hours Tehran time on Monday for Tehran, Rey,
Shemiranat and Islamshahr constituencies, adding that complaints are
therefore barred as being devoid of credit.

On complaints over the delay in vote counting, Ayatollahi said no delay has
been made if a comparison is made with previous Majlis elections.

made if a comparison is made with previous Majlis elections.

He said that in previous cases it took at least two days to initially release
the
results while this time, considering the fact that votes are being counted
manually in more than 3,000 polling stations and the 25 to 30 percent
increase in the number of voters, no delay has been made.

He further noted that in the previous schedule the votes were expected to
be counted by computer for which certain personnel had been given expert
training. Later, with a change in the plan announced by the Guardian
Council the manual counting had to take more time.

As to when a final announcement of the election results could be made,
Ayatollahi said optimum efforts are being made to accelerate the process in
order to release the final result by the end of the current week.

On the possibility of holding a run off election in Tehran, he said it is
premature to comment on this issue as a remarkable number of votes have
still to be counted.

However, he added, the number of deputies who will find their ways into
the Sixth Majlis in the first round will be more than the previous parliaments
as the provision of the Election Law calling for a minimum of 25 percent of
the total votes has been ratified.

Ayatollahi predicted that the number of those who cast ballots in the
Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Islamshahr constituencies will reach three
million or slightly more.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:46:08 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Army, IRGC to Launch War Games in Persian Gulf

Army, IRGC to Launch War Games in Persian Gulf

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN- The`Vahdat 78' (unity 78) war game is to be launched by the
Islamic Republic Ground, Navy and Air forces of the Army and the Islamic
Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Persian Gulf waters from
February 24 to March 4.

According to the Cultural and Publicity Department of the Joint Staff of
Armed Forces, the military exercise is to be waged under command of the
Khatam ul-Anbia Headquarters, as part of Iran's defense goals and
objectives.

The report said the main message of the war game would be peace and
security in light of unity among regional countries and it would aim at
strengthening the atmosphere of friendship and understanding between Iran
and the Persian Gulf littoral states.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:47:07 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Expansion of Iran-Romania Ties Discussed

Expansion of Iran-Romania Ties Discussed

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- Iran's ambassador to Romania, Ahmad Fard-Husseini, met
and discussed bilateral relations with the chairman of Romania's Senate,
Mircea Ionescu Qintus, in Bucharest on Monday.

Husseini outlined latest developments in Iran including the Parliament
elections and focused on issues pertaining to expansion of mutual ties.

Qintus expressed respect for Iran's rich culture and civilization and,
describing the Islamic Republic as a country which enjoys an excellent
position both in the region and the world, said Romania believes that ties
with Iran should be promoted especially after recent changes in its foreign
policies, IRNA reported.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:47:37 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Speaker Thanks Nation for Creating Epics in Feb., 2000

Speaker Thanks Nation for Creating Epics in Feb., 2000

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN- Majlis Speaker Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nouri here yesterday
thanked the nation for creating great epics in February this year.

Addressing the open session of the Parliament, the Speaker thanked people
for their enthusiastic participation in the Feb. 11 rallies (marking the
Revolution's anniversary) and for their unprecedented presence in the Feb.
18 parliamentary elections.

He said guidelines and directives of the Supreme Leader were important
factors in securing such a presence in addition to the broader participation
of the candidates.

Moreover, he added, the proper attitude of the Guardian Council further
encouraged the candidates, parties, associations and their supporters.

Thanking all the groups and people who played a role in securing people's
enthusiastic presence in the elections, Nateq-Nouri said the ultimate victors
are the leadership, people, system, administration and the Islamic
Revolution. Those in the world who were attempting to separate the people
from the Revolution are the defeated side, he said, quoted by IRNA.

The Speaker further remarked that groups and their supporters should
henceforth be concerned about national interests and defense for principles
and values of the system which demands unity, amity and convergence.

Addressing himself to the candidates, Nateq-Nouri said that those who
failed to gain the required votes are not defeated. Rather, he stressed, the
defeated are those who do not favor such a presence.

He also called on the press to prepare the ground for the unity of expression
and use their pens in this direction in order to improve the atmosphere.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:48:18 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. Welcomes "Historic" Iranian Vote But Remains Cautious on Real
Change

U.S. Welcomes "Historic" Iranian Vote But Remains Cautious on
Real Change

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- According to an AFP dispatch the United States on Monday
welcomed results of Iran's election last week, but remained cautious on
whether Tehran's policies would actually be reformed.

"The results are of course not final but all indications are that this
election is
an event of historic proportions," State Department spokesman James
Rubin said, referring to Friday's vote in which reformers backing moderate
President Mohammad Khatami won 79 percent of the vote compared with
21 percent for conservatives.

"The Iranian people have demonstrated unmistakably that they want policies
of openness and engagement with the rest of the world," Rubin said in a
statement.

"This trend toward greater freedom and openness has been under way for
some time. It would appear that the Iranian people have once again
overwhelmingly endorsed it. We welcome that."

Official results show reformers winning at least 158 of the 218
parliamentary seats up for grabs. A second round of elections to determine
the remaining 72 seats has not been set and could be weeks off.

* Japan Watching Iran Election With `Great Interest' Japan is watching with
"great interest" the outcome of Iran's Friday parliamentary elections, where
reformers have gained a majority of the ballots counted so far, the Japanese
Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

"The reformers are gaining a majority, and we attach great interest to
results, which due to the high voting rate, are a reflection of the will of
the
people of Iran," ministry spokesman Ryuichiro Yamazaki told reporters.

"Japan has been promoting high-level dialogue with Iran in welcoming and
supporting President Mohammad Khatami's policy of promoting domestic
reforms and easing tension with the international community," IRNA quoted
Yamazaki.

Tokyo has also invited Khatami to visit Japan, although the two nations
have yet to set a date, Yamazaki said.

* China Wishes for Iran's Stability, Prosperity After Elections In another
AFP news item, China was said yesterday to have hoped that Iran's
elections would bring stability and prosperity, as China's foreign minister
visited Tehran to revive relations that have cooled in recent years.

"We hope that the election will promote the stability and prosperity of Iran,"
said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao.

"China and Iran have friendly relations and the two countries have friendly
cooperation and exchanges in political and economic fields," he told a
regular news briefing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan arrived in Iran on Sunday for a
four-day visit, the first by such a high-ranked Chinese official since 1994.

* Pakistan Says It "Respects" Iranian Election Result Pakistan also
yesterday gave a cautious reaction to the victory of reformers in elections in
neighboring Iran, saying merely Islamabad respected the vote.

"Elections in a country are the internal affair of that country," Inamul Haq,
Pakistan's new foreign secretary, told a news conference.

"The people of Iran have made their choice and we respect that choice,"
AFP quoted Haq.

Iranian reformers backing President Mohammad Khatami have finally won
their long-sought majority in Parliament, paving the way toward Khatami's
goal of a more liberal and democratic Iran.

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 20:49:27 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: No Runoffs for Tehran Constituency

No Runoffs for Tehran Constituency

* Hashemi Rafsanjani Unlikely to Win a Majlis Seat

* 137 Reformers Elected from Provinces

* Final Results Expected Thursday

IRAN NEWS POLITICAL DESK

TEHRAN-- The latest results of the sixth Majlis elections were announced
by the Interior Ministry last night. According to the figures, the reformers
or
the May 23 Front candidates have crushed the Conservatives and most of
their candidates have found their ways into the Parliament.

Reliable sources said that there would no run-off elections in Tehran
constituency as all the 30 eligible contenders have won the required votes
and would enter the Majlis.

The same sources said it was unlikely for former president and Expediency
Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to win a seat in the new
Majlis. This is despite the fact that Rafsanjani has won 28 percent of the
total votes but his rivals have gained more voted and outrun him. The place
of Rafsanjani in the final list is said to be 33.

According to the Interior Ministry, 1,847,905 votes have been counted
from 2088 boxes (out of 3,111) in Tehran and Shahr-e Ray until 21:00
hours Tuesday.

The following are the latest election results:

NAME VOTE

1. Seyed Mohammad Reza Khatami 1211287

2. Jamileh Kadivar 902440

3. Alireza Nouri 885559

4. Mohsen Armin 848181

5. Seyed Hadi Husseini Khamenei 832925

6. Majid Ansari 802001

7. Mohsen Mirdamadi Najafabadi 781928

8. Ahmad Bourqani Farahani 775481

9. Soheila Jelodarzadeh 766627

10. Behzad Nabavi 748379

11. Ahmad Pournejati 727293

12. Davoud Soleymani 727000

13. Ali Shakouri-Rad 707913

14. Vahideh Alaie Taleqani 702462

15. Mohsen Safaie Farahani 698222

16. Meysam Saeedi 688985

17. Seyed Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoeini 687144

18. Elaheh Koulaie 686613

19. Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo 672360

20. Behrouz Afkhami 667823

21. Seyed Shamseddin Vahabi 642688

22. Abolqasem Sarhadizadeh 628997

23. Mohammad Naimi-Pour 615618

24. Fatemeh Rakeie 602696

25. Seyed Mahmoud Doaie 601504

26. Mehdi Karrubi 586757

27. Akbar Hashemi Bahremani(Rafsanjani) 511421

28. Rasoul Montajabnia 508394

29. Alireza Rajaie 507882

30. Elyas Hazrati 498482

According to Islamic Iran Participation Front, out of the 191 candidates
elected in provincial cities, 137 were from the May 23 Front, including 109
IIPF contenders. It said 39 were from the Right Wing and 15 were
independents.

Final Results Expected Thursday Noon

Tehran governor, Ayatollah Azarmi, here yesterday announced that the
executive boards of the sixth Majlis elections have finished counting the
votes at the polling stations, adding that the Tehran's final results are
therefore expected by Thursday noon.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the reversal by the Guardian Council of its
decision to have the votes in Tehran counted by computer, Azarmi told
IRNA that two days prior to the election the executive boards had made all
the necessary preparations for the computerized counting of the votes.

He said the procrastination on the part of the Guardian Council in deciding
on the manner of counting of the votes created many problems for the
executive boards.

As to the complaints on the delay by some representatives of the
Monitoring Board in monitoring the results of polling stations, Azarmi cited
the cancellation of the computerized vote counting system as the reason
behind such a delay.

Underlining the round-the-clock efforts of over 50,000 personnel involved
in the counting of the votes, he said such a procedure puts a heavy burden
on the shoulders of "intelligent people".

Official Denies Rigging

In another development reported by IRNA the governor general of Tehran
Province, Mohammad-Reza Ayatollahi, was yesterday said to have denied
recent rumors of alleged irregularities in certain Tehran polling stations in
the
case of a candidate who ran for the next Parliament.

"Recent rumors of rigging in the counting of votes in favor of a Tehran
candidate are by no means true," said Ayatollahi, adding that the law on
Majlis elections contains all provisions necessary to guarantee the safety of
elections and counting of votes.

He further added that all the polling stations staff are trusted by members of
the executive boards who themselves are trustees of each city or district.

Moreover, Ayatollahi said the supervision exercised by the Guardian
Council over the reading and counting of votes are further guarantees on the
safety of election results.

Meanwhile, all officials and trustees of people in charge of the elections, at
whatever level, including the governor general, governors and inspectors will
not allow any individual or group to interfere in the fate of elections, said
Ayatollahi.

To remove any ambiguity, tens of Interior Ministry monitoring groups as
well as special representatives of Tehran's governor general inspected
polling stations since Sunday morning in order to carefully examine the vote-
counting process. Even minor irregularities in certain cases were
immediately corrected, added the official.

Meanwhile, Ayatollahi said the monitoring and counting of election results
were reviewed in a four-hour session on Sunday attended by the Interior
Minister Abdolvahed Musavi Lari, and the executive and monitoring boards
of Tehran.

He said the first official result was released by the State Elections
Headquarters at 14:00 hours Tehran time on Monday for Tehran, Ray,
Shemiranat and Islamshahr constituencies, adding that complaints are
therefore barred as being devoid of credit.

On complaints over the delay in vote counting, Ayatollahi said no delay has
been made if a comparison is made with previous Majlis elections.

made if a comparison is made with previous Majlis elections.

He said that in previous cases it took at least two days to initially release
the
results while this time, considering the fact that votes are being counted
manually in more than 3,000 polling stations and the 25 to 30 percent
increase in the number of voters, no delay has been made.

He further noted that in the previous schedule the votes were expected to
be counted by computer for which certain personnel had been given expert
training. Later, with a change in the plan announced by the Guardian
Council the manual counting had to take more time.

As to when a final announcement of the election results could be made,
Ayatollahi said optimum efforts are being made to accelerate the process in
order to release the final result by the end of the current week.

On the possibility of holding a run off election in Tehran, he said it is
premature to comment on this issue as a remarkable number of votes have
still to be counted.

However, he added, the number of deputies who will find their ways into
the Sixth Majlis in the first round will be more than the previous parliaments
as the provision of the Election Law calling for a minimum of 25 percent of
the total votes has been ratified.

Ayatollahi predicted that the number of those who cast ballots in the
Tehran, Rey, Shemiranat and Islamshahr constituencies will reach three
million or slightly more.

End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 23 Feb 2000 - Special issue