Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Feb 2000 to 27 Feb 2000
There are 12 messages totalling 837 lines in this issue.
Topics of the day:
1. Iran court upholds jail sentence for police chief
2. Iran officials say polls ``free and fair''
3. Iran parliament votes to ease labour law
4. Women's issues seen topping Iran assembly's agenda
5. Iran Reformers May Back Ex-President
6. Reformers Still Face Fight in Iran
7. UAE congratulates Iran president on election win
8. LA Times: Neighbors Covet Iran's Democracy
9. Payvand: Accept peoples votes Commentary to Mosharekat daily 26 February
2000 By Mohsen Mirdamadi
10. Hassani: I explained election issues; why didnt they listen?
11. Boston Globe: CNN journalist portrays native Iran in 'Journey'
12. Amnesty International:
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:38:59 EST
Subject: Iran court upholds jail sentence for police chief
Iran court upholds jail sentence for police chief
TEHRAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - An Iranian appeals court has confirmed an
eight-month jail sentence against a hardline police chief in a case which saw
his subordinates convicted of torture, newspapers reported on Sunday.
A military court last July acquitted Gholamreza Naqdi, head of intelligence
and security for the national police, of torture charges but sentenced him to
eight months in jail on slander and illegal interference in a corruption
scandal in Tehran municipality two years ago.
Naqdi had been facing charges of ordering the torture of former Tehran
district mayors detained in the graft case.
Newspapers said appeals court's ruling was final but it was not clear if
Naqdi would be jailed immediately.
The case, prompted by complaints by the moderate Tehran city officials, was
the first prosecution on torture charges against the conservative-run police
since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Two other defendants were sentenced to up to five months in prison for
keeping the officials in solitary confinement, depriving them of sleep,
preventing them from exercising in fresh air and ordering their hair shaved
off. A fourth defendant was jailed for 91 days.
Hamshahri daily, run by Tehran municipality, said the court also upheld
sentences against another police officer and a prison warden in connection
with the case.
It said the police official had ordered the ``illegal detention' of the city
officials and forcible extraction of confession. The warden had accepted the
prisoners without necessary court authorisations.
The prosecution of Naqdi came after direct intervention by moderate President
Mohammad Khatami, who has advocated the rule of law as a main feature of his
Unannounced visits made by prosecutors to the jail site and seizure of
documents mainly helped identify the culprits, newspaper said. Most victims
were unable to identify their interrogators and the site they had been held,
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:41:10 EST
Subject: Iran officials say polls ``free and fair''
Iran officials say polls ``free and fair''
TEHRAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The Iranian government on Sunday defended Iran's
February 18 parliamentary polls as free and fair and said that any
irregularities had had no material effect on the outcome.
Mostafa Tajzadeh, a deputy interior minister and confidant of President
Mohammad Khatami, told a news conference a partial recount was under way at
the request of one of the losing candidates in the race for Tehran's 30
But he said the results, which saw conservative standard- bearer and former
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani claim the final place by the narrowest of
margins, were expected to stand.
``There may have been some mistakes because of the manual count, but they can
be rectified easily. The final count came from our computers...and not one
vote was changed.
``There is a possibility of mistakes but we do not think they are material,''
said Tajzadeh, one of the government's most powerful reformists.
The fate of Rafsanjani has preoccupied the pro-reform press since preliminary
counts first showed him in danger of failing to win a seat in the first
A series of delays in releasing the final results amid an earlier recount of
more than 100 of the 3,111 ballot boxes in the capital, fuelled speculation
among Rafsanjani's critics that votes were manipulated to ensure his place in
All other places were won by reformers allied to the president, capping a
strong showing in the provinces that has put a pro-reform majority within
reach. Sixty-five contests have gone to a run-off, expected in April.
Ali Akbar Rahmmani, a reformer who placed just behind Rafsanjani in the race
for the final at-large seat, has protested against the result, saying a
number of his votes were given to a namesake among the 860 candidates from
As a result, a new count was ordered for some 35 ballot boxes. Tallies from
that count are expected within 48 hours.
Elections officials have vigorously defended the polls, seen as a referendum
on Khatami's reforms.
``We held free and fair elections without any kind of tension or problem,''
``We are keeping the trust and covenant we have with the people...We promise
the people we have not allowed even one vote to be manipulated,'' he said.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:42:04 EST
Subject: Iran parliament votes to ease labour law
Iran parliament votes to ease labour law
TEHRAN, Feb 9 (Reuters) -Iran's parliament approved a bill on Sunday to ease
labour laws as part of a drive to encourage investment and end a chronic job
Of 187 deputies present, 107 voted in favour of the bill exempting firms with
up to five employees from labour regulations for five years.
Existing small businesses will not be affected by the bill, which must be
approved by the Guardian Council, a clergy-based body which seeks to ensure
that parliamentary rulings conform to the constitution and Islamic teachings.
Parliament passed a similar bill last June exempting firms with up to three
workers from the labour law but delayed further debate on the issue after
strong opposition from state-affiliated labour groups.
Advocates of the bill said they would come back with a more comprehensive
Several MPs representing labour interests again put up strong opposition to
the new bill on Sunday.
``This law will not help create new jobs. It will even jeopardise the
existing ones,'' said Soheila Jelodarzadeh, a reformist MP who was re-elected
to parliament in February 18 elections.
``Scrapping the labour law will make it easy to fire workers and pay them as
little money as possible. This is exploitation,'' she said during the debate
broadcast live on state radio.
Conservative deputies, many of whom advocate a free market economy, were
behind the bill, hoping to encourage investment and improve the chronic
The labour law, introduced after the 1979 Islamic revolution to help the
economic underclass, makes it almost impossible to fire workers and imposes
Many businesses, especially in the state sector, have gone bankrupt or
operate far below capacity, a trend which has provoked widespread labour
But the laws have been challenged in the past decade as the country tries to
liberalise the economy.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:42:42 EST
Subject: Women's issues seen topping Iran assembly's agenda
Women's issues seen topping Iran assembly's agenda
TEHRAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Improving the status of women will be at the top
of the agenda for Iran's new parliament dominated by moderates and
reformists, a woman MP said on Sunday.
Soheila Jelodarzadeh, a women's rights activist, said she hoped women would
benefit from the more liberal thinking in the incoming assembly, which
convenes in May.
``Given the scarcity of women elected, we need help and cooperation from male
deputies for enough votes to pursue women's issues,'' she told the official
IRNA news agnecy.
A total of nine women were elected to the 290-seat parliament and six more
face run-off votes. The outgoing assembly has 14 women out of 270 members.
The new parliament will be dominated by moderate MPs, including more than 100
hard-core reformers sympathetic to women's causes.
Jelodarzadeh, one of the biggest vote-winners in the February 18 elections,
said she would push to amend laws in favour of women in the civil code.
``The present civil code is 90 years old and ineffective,'' she said. ``The
law has to be revised, given the high status of women in Islam.''
Women's social and professional status have generally improved in Islamic
Iran, but many women still feel discriminated against.
The present parliament dominated by religious conservatives voted last week
to make it easier for a women to seek divorce but the conditions attached
still make it difficult for many women to do so.
Grounds for divorce by a woman include: the husband's leaving the family for
more than six months, his addiction to drugs, refusal to support the family,
impotence or sterility, mistreating his wife or favouring other wives.
Jelodarzadeh said she was preparing a bill to stop parents forcing their
daughters to get married at an early age. Women were entitled to greater
financial support from the state, she added.
``Women are being discriminated against and making the least use of public
resources. They are entitled to a bigger chunk of state budget,'' she said.
Jelodarzadeh also called for more women's support groups to help women
``victimised by their families or society.''
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:44:17 EST
Subject: Iran Reformers May Back Ex-President
Iran Reformers May Back Ex-President
By VIJAY JOSHI
.c The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - In a sign of an emerging rift in the reformist coalition
that won Iran's elections, a major faction said it will back a former
president for the key post of parliament speaker even though he has been
increasingly considered a conservative.
The Executives of Construction Party will talk Monday with other factions to
lobby in favor of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, said Mohammed
Atrianfar, a top policy-maker of the party. The party supported Rafsanjani in
the Feb. 18 elections.
Atrianfar told The Associated Press that Rafsanjani was a reformist at heart
and could help the movement because of his influence with the hard-liners.
But Atrianfar acknowledged that the other major reformist party - the Islamic
Iran Participation Front - bitterly opposes Rafsanjani. The front, as well as
smaller reform groups, see Rafsanjani as representing the old guard.
This is the first informal nomination of a candidate for the race for the
speaker's post - the country's top spot after the supreme leader and the
president. It could be a battle that would expose the fractious nature of the
Reformists won 29 of the 30 seats in the crucial district of Tehran.
Rafsanjani finished 30th.
On Sunday, recounting was ordered in a few ballot boxes in Tehran following a
complaint about counting errors by a candidate who finished 31st, said
Mostafa Tajzadeh, head of elections headquarters. The recount will finish
within two days, but is not expected to change the overall result, he said.
The reformist coalition won 170 seats in the 290-seat parliament with 65
seats to be decided in run-offs. Elections are not fought on party lines but
political affiliations of most candidates are well known.
The Construction Party and the Participation Front control about an equal
number of seats in parliament.
The hard-liners, who will certainly support Rafsanjani, won 44 seats, losing
control of the parliament for the first time since 1979, when the clergy came
Rafsanjani was speaker from 1980-89, when he was elected president. He served
until 1997. As head of state, he gained popularity as a moderate at a time
when the country was in the grip of hard-liners.
It was with his tacit approval that the Construction Party came into
existence in 1996, advocating social and cultural reforms. Though the party's
program was modest, its ideas were radical for the time.
Rafsanjani's successor, President Mohammad Khatami, started a much more
ambitious and wider reform program in 1997, loosening many restrictions
imposed by the ruling clergy.
With his reputation overshadowed by Khatami, Rafsanjani began tilting toward
the hard-liners before this month's parliamentary elections, attracting
charges of being an opportunist.
``Rafsanjani is being victimized by a propaganda campaign by radical
reformists,'' Atrianfar said. He said his party will appeal to Khatami to
persuade other reformists to support Rafsanjani.
Atrianfar hailed Rafsanjani as the original reformist by starting an economic
revival program during his presidency to rebuild a nation devastated by eight
years of war with Iraq.
But reformists blame Rafsanjani's presidency for many of the country's
current economic woes and ruining Iran's international credit record.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:45:03 EST
Subject: Reformers Still Face Fight in Iran
Reformers Still Face Fight in Iran
By VIJAY JOSHI
.c The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Murad Husseinpour voted for the reformists in Iran's
legislative elections. So did his wife and their two sons. Even their
14-year-old daughter, still ineligible to vote, is all for reforms.
But ask them how they define reforms, and you invite a torrent of arguments.
Husseinpour, who supervises the supply shop at a metal factory, wants better
workers rights. But he opposes the satellite television dishes his younger
son would love to have. The elder son wants democracy, while the parents want
to keep the Islamic clergy's rule.
Like a microcosmic parliament, the Husseinpour household illustrates the
challenges confronting the reform movement that emerged from last week's vote
with a stunning victory on an abstract promise of ``reforms.''
The 18 disparate parties riding the reform coalition now have to forge a
common strategy to confront the hard-liners who had dominated parliament, the
Majlis, since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The key differences among reformers center on three areas: cultural freedom,
the economy and foreign policy.
``The old clash between the hard-liners and the reformist is almost dead. Now
we have to see if the reformists can stand together,'' said Amin Sabooni,
deputy chief editor of Iran Daily, an official newspaper.
Elections in Iran are not contested on party lines. The victorious coalition
is just an informal group bound by its support for the reform program of
President Mohammad Khatami, the symbol of change in Iran.
The group derives its name, Second of Khordad Movement, from the day of the
Iranian calendar when Khatami was elected: May 23, 1997.
Final results released Saturday from the Feb. 18 election gave the reformists
170 seats, hard-liners and conservatives 45 and independents 10 of the 290
total. Another 65 seats are still to be decided in run-offs in April.
The result was in many ways a negative vote against the hard-liners. Few
people looked closely at the coalition's little publicized agenda.
``Our priority is to establish a consensus among all reformist groups,'' said
Mohsen Safai Farahani, a winning candidate for the Iran Islamic Participation
Front, the biggest party in the coalition.
The Participation Front has called for social and cultural freedoms such as
lifting bans on foreign television and Western music and easing restrictions
Reza Husseinpour, 21, supports these measures. ``The old way of life was a
life of isolation. I want it to be colorful, happy and lively,'' he said.
His father is not so sure.
``I don't mind freedoms. But I don't like unlimited freedom,'' he said during
an interview at his house in the middle-class neighborhood of Afsariya in
His wife, Gowhar, and daughter, Maryam, covered in the Islamic veil in the
presence of male visitors, nodded in agreement as the family sat cross-legged
on a floor covered with wall-to-wall carpet, machine-woven in a Persian
A left-wing reformist party, the Assembly of Militant Clerics, wants reforms
to come slowly. Its stance of keeping Iran loyal to Islamic principles
appeals to a majority of Iranians who are devout Muslims. To most, it would
be unthinkable that the women's veil, or hijab, should be relaxed.
Mohammed Husseinpour, 18, said that when he gets married he would not want
his wife to go without a hijab.
Asked what his main concern is now, the short answer comes quickly: a job.
Mohammed is trying to get into college. When he comes out he doesn't want to
join the millions of jobless.
Iran's economy has been stagnating for years, with inflation and unemployment
both in the double digits.
``Social reforms are all very well, but that doesn't put food on the table,
and people want at least the minimum standards of living,'' Sabooni, the
The Participation Front and another reformist group, the Executives of
Construction Party, want to address that by liberalizing the economy and
attracting foreign investment.
That is anathema to the Assembly of Militant Clerics, which favors a
There are also differences over relations with the United States.
Some in the Participation Front want to work toward reducing tensions with
Washington and the West. Others want to be more cautious.
And despite the reformers' parliament majority, hard-liners still control key
institutions like the 12-member Guardians Council, which must approve all
legislation passed by the Majlis. The Expediency Council, which is supposed
to mediate between parliament and the Guardians Council, is also controlled
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the final authority in
the country, is believed to be close to the hard-liners. But he has
increasingly been seen as a voice of compromise.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 14:46:10 EST
Subject: UAE congratulates Iran president on election win
UAE congratulates Iran president on election win
DUBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Zaid
bin Sultan al-Nahayan on Sunday congratulated Iran's President on the victory
of his reformist allies in parliamentary elections, the official WAM news
Sheikh Zaid said in a message to President Mohammad Khatami that he hoped the
results of the election would assist him in achieving prosperty and
development for the Iranian people.
``We have big hopes that relations between the United Arab Emirates and Iran
would see positive developments in the interest of the two countries, their
people and would boost regional security, stability and cooperation,'' Sheikh
Zaid said in his message
Reformers allied with Khatami soundly defeated conservatives on the back of
high turnout by voters eager for change.
Iran and the UAE are locked in a dispute over the strategic islands of Abu
Musa and the Lesser and Greater Tunbs, located near major shipping lanes at
the mouth of the Gulf. Iran holds the islands but the UAE also claims them.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:09:04 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: LA Times: Neighbors Covet Iran's Democracy
Neighbors Covet Iran's Democracy
Recent election that transferred power to reformists was miles ahead of
anything practiced in the modern Arab world, analysts say.
By JOHN DANISZEWSKI, Times Staff Writer
TEHRAN--Iran's exercise in democracy during last week's parliamentary
election has prompted an intriguing reaction among the Persian Gulf
state's Arab neighbors: unadulterated envy. In country after country,
commentators have been asking: Why don't we have the same thing? The
Iranian vote, in which more than 80% of the electorate participated,
including women and youths 16 or older, resulted in what appears to be a
peaceful transfer of legislative power from hard-line conservatives to
pro-freedom reformers for the first time in Iran's modern history. The
atmosphere of the election was noted by the Arab commentators. The
political slinging was hard but fair; each side had access to mass media
and made no bones about criticizing its foe, and both accepted the
outcome as legitimate and final. Even though the stakes were high, there
was no noticeable intimidation of voters and no known rigging of the
results. There was an important flaw in the process: the elimination of
many would-be parties and candidates from participating because they
were deemed to reject Iran's Islamic basis and constitution. Within
those parameters, however, there was a wide spectrum of allowable
opinion. Everything considered, commentator Riad Najib Rayyes concluded
in Lebanon's An Nahar newspaper, Iran's democratic process stacks up
well and is miles ahead of anything practiced in the modern Arab world.
"In spite of the fact that it is a theocratic state ruled by a group of
clerics, it has managed over the course of 20 years to nurture
institutions . . . based on a mechanism of democratic competition," he
wrote. For all their excesses and human rights violations, including
waves of arrests and executions that took place after the 1979 Islamic
Revolution, censorship and restrictions on women and religious
minorities, Iran's rulers have never outlawed the ballot box. Last
Friday's election, in fact, was the 21st vote held by the Islamic state
since its inception. During that time, Iran's elections have grown more
like those held in the United States or Western Europe, with clearly
defined political parties and platforms, paid campaign advertisements
and modern vote-getting techniques such as polling and mass mailings. By
contrast, most states on the Arabian Peninsula are monarchies. If they
have elected parliaments at all, the bodies' powers are secondary to
those of the ruling family. And when there are elections, women and even
some adult males often are excluded from voting or running for office.
Other "democratic" Arab states hold elections, but there is a sham
quality to the process. Security forces often suppress opposition,
enabling ruling parties to hold on to power for decades. Egypt, Syria,
Iraq, Tunisia and Libya are in this category to greater or lesser
degrees. Rayyes noted that Iran's Islamic brand of democracy was open
enough to produce a moderate such as President Mohammad Khatami, whereas
elections had not elevated "a single liberal reformist to a position of
leadership throughout the length and breadth of the Arab world." Also
praising Iran was Adnan Hussein, in the Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al
Awsat. Unlike some Arab states, he wrote, Iran did not offer a bagful of
excuses such as "the extraordinary conditions" or "the imperialist
aggression" for blocking a transition to democracy. Such praise is
ironic given the history of Iran's relations with the Arab world. Arab
leaders were terrified by the Islamic Revolution, fearing that the
philosophy of clerical rule of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
would spread. Their nightmare was that the Arab kings and emirs would be
toppled in the same fashion in which Iranians, a linguistically and
ethnically distinct people, got rid of their shah. Now, if anything, it
seems that Iran's chief political influence on the Arab world may be as
a model of democracy, not theocracy. Admiration for Khatami is one
reason many Arab countries seem determined to upgrade relations with
Tehran, even at the risk of annoying the United States. In a milestone,
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia last week extended his country's first
invitation to the highest leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, to visit the kingdom that is home to Islam's holiest sites.
With Iran legitimizing democratic institutions, it is small wonder that
the U.S. recently has been "running after Iran to open a dialogue with
it," while Arab countries have to plead with Washington for even a small
bit of attention, according to the London-based pan-Arab newspaper, Al
Quds al Arabi. "To put it very simply, Iran is moving forward," said the
paper, quoted by the Mideast Mirror monitoring service. "We are moving
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:12:00 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Payvand: Accept peoples votes Commentary to Mosharekat daily 26
February 2000 By Mohsen Mirdamadi
Payvand's Iran News ...
02/27/00 Accept peopleís votes Commentary to Mosharekat daily 26
February 2000 By Mohsen Mirdamadi
Counting the votes for the 6th Majlis was concluded and the results
published. Although many candidates and political groups did not reach
the desired results, it is the duty of all to accept peopleís votes and
viewpoints in the election.
Naturally, the duty of the bodies in charge of organizing and
supervising the elections is heavier than others in guarding peopleís
votes. Such bodies are peopleís trustees, and should fulfil their duty
honestly, regardless of their political tendencies.
Unfortunately, in previous Majlis elections, in not so few cases, the
Guardian council has had a quite questionable attitude in post-election
investigations, canceling the outcome of some ballots or constituencies.
In some cases where the number of the votes of individuals was close,
the attitude was such that the votes of the original elected candidate
was decreased and those of the preferred candidate increased. In some
cases, the results of some polling stations were entirely rejected.
The important point is that in all those instances, figures eyed by the
right faction were promoted or, if this was not possible, the election
results were cancelled to prevent figures from the rivaling faction to
enter the Majlis. In the recent elections, some people may be intending
to repeat the unacceptable attitude of the past in constituencies where
the number of the votes of the elected candidate and that of the next
runner are close. The Guardian Council should not be affected and it
should accept peopleís votes. But if such a thing happens, and if those
who have not obtained the majority of peopleís votes enter the Majlis
through collusion and using their political affiliations, the elected
deputies of the Majlis should decisively stand against them and, by
rejecting their credentials, not allow such figures enter the House of
the Nation. Otherwise they will not have fulfilled their duty and given
a proper answer to peopleís trust.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:11:06 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Hassani: I explained election issues; why didnt they listen?
Payvand's Iran News ...
02/27/00 Hassani: I explained election issues; why didnít they listen?
Sobh-e Emrooz daily 26 February 2000
Orumiyeh Friday prayers leader Hojjatoleslam Hassani said on Friday: "I
explained election issues for the people; why didnít they listen? Why?
But then I thought to myself that did the prophets withdraw after all
the defeats they suffered?"
He mentioned one of the candidatesí critical remarks about Mr.
Rafsanjani and the Special Clerical Court, and said: 'This gentleman
blames all the miseries of the country on Me. Hashemi. Hashemi is the
one who managed the battlefronts for eight years. Be fair! And the
Special Clerical Court is legal unless the leader decides otherwise''
'Parties look at issued only within the party framework, not Islam.
There was no party higher than the Islamic Republic Party, of which our
leader was a member, but the Imam dissolved it. Now you have come to
make a party? So that the evil Turkey and that Prime Minister of them
would say that Islam fell in Iran? Isnít this a shame? Do you think
Hezbollah (the party of God) is dead? Mr. Ecevit, you idiot! These
people are worshippers'.' "Islam, the Qoran and Shia are of no
importance to parties. A party member will behead Imam Sadeq to have the
way of his party! Do you understand or not?"
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:19:31 -0500
From: Farhad Abdolian <farhad@PANJERE.NET>
Subject: Boston Globe: CNN journalist portrays native Iran in 'Journey'
TELEVISION REVIEW CNN journalist portrays native Iran in 'Journey'
By Don Aucoin, Globe Staff, 2/26/2000
ven as she has become television's most famous international
correspondent, CNN's Christiane Amanpour has steered clear of the
''celebrity journalist'' trap of injecting herself into a story.
But when it came to reporting the changes bubbling up in her native Iran
for ''Revolutionary Journey'' (10 p.m. Sunday on CNN), Amanpour decided
this was one time where a more personal approach was justified.
''Up until now, I've never done this before,'' the 41-year-old Amanpour
says in an interview. ''But I just felt that in this case I could use a
particular personal perspective to tell a very important story ... and
tell the story more fully, and perhaps better, than I could in a purely
cold and objective kind of way.''
Amanpour has reported often from Iran over the years, of course. In
''Revolutionary Journey,'' though, she draws on the experiences and
viewpoints of her own family - a female cousin who initially supported
Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 Islamic revolution, and her father - to draw a
portrait of a nation that has gone through a long period of oppression
from which it may be slowly emerging.
Amanpour lifts the curtain more than usual on her own feelings as she
conducts a tour of her childhood home in Tehran, which her family left
after the Iranian revolution. ''Everything now is a shell. It's all
crumbling,'' she says. Standing in her old room, now a woodshed,
Amanpour murmurs: ''It's sad, remembering what it used to be.''
Raised in Iran to the age of 12, Amanpour got her secondary school
education in Britain and her college degree in America, but says, ''My
home has always been Iran.'' In the documentary, Amanpour asks her
father: ''What do you think would have happened to me if I'd stayed
here?'' He responds that she would have been constrained personally and
professionally by her gender, an assessment that Amanpour agreed with
during the Globe interview.
If she had remained in Iran, ''I think that I would not have become the
journalist I am today, because the possibilities simply didn't exist,''
Amanpour has risen to prominence as a reporter willing to place herself
in harm's way by rushing to trouble spots, from Rwanda to Haiti to
Bosnia. Her ubiquity inspired her journalistic colleagues to make up an
affectionate rhyme: ''Where there's war, there's Amanpour.''
But will that be true after the eight-months-pregnant Amanpour, married
to State Department spokesman James Rubin, has her first child? She says
she'll take a maternity leave, then return to work - ''I am extremely
committed to my work'' - and insisted in juggling work and family, she
faces a challenge no different than ''millions of women around the
Filmed in October, ''Revolutionary Journey'' prefigured to some degree
the stunning triumph by Iranian reformers in last week's legislative
Amanpour describes ''a culture at war with itself, a schizophrenic
society,'' and her documentary is rife with images that illustrate that.
We see a chador-clad girl looking at photos of Mariah Carey on the
Internet, and a bookstore crammed with the latest from John Grisham,
biographies of Leonardo DiCaprio, and even ''The Starr Report.''
She follows a young female student to a party where she and her friends
drink, listen to rock music, and dance in defiance of Iranian orthodoxy.
''We want the world to know what young people in Iran are feeling ...
They want to express themselves,'' Amanpour says, adding that ''that
group doesn't represent all of Iranian society.''
Amanpour also interviews an editor who continues to push for reform even
though his newspaper has been shut down by the authorities. With a sweep
of her arm in front of a newsstand, Amanpour declares: ''Democracy in
Iran is literally being born in these newspapers.''
However, she leaves no doubt that it will be a slow and difficult birth.
Amanpour is seen wearing a scarf to cover her head whenever she is
outside, in keeping with strict Iranian custom. She has a contentious
exchange with a leading conservative cleric who tells her that the
people she spoke with are ''disturbed'' and don't represent the
mainstream. Amanpour responds that he is ''slightly out of touch.''
(During last week's election, Amanpour noted during the Globe interview,
that cleric lost his seat in the legislature.)
Amanpour says she hopes ''Revolutionary Journey'' will show Americans an
Iran that is more complex than the hostage-era image of mobs shouting
''Death to America!''
''One of my main goals in covering Iran has been to get behind the
stereotypes, shatter the cliches, and humanize a particularly
dehumanizing situation,'' she says. ''The relationship between us and
Iran has been so frosty and bitter, frozen in time.''
This story ran on page F1 of the Boston Globe on 2/26/2000. © Copyright
2000 Globe Newspaper Company.
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 15:31:46 EST
Subject: Amnesty International:
Alliance for Defense of Human Rights in Iran
PMB 197, 344 Maple Avenue West, Vienna, VA 22180
Friday, February 25, 2000
Amnesty International: Death Penalty/Unfair
Trial/Torture: Akbar Mohammadi, student
Death Penalty/Unfair Trial/Torture: Akbar Mohammadi,
PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 13/04/00
Further information on UA 160/99 -
IRAN: Akbar Mohammadi, student
22 February 2000
Akbar Mohammadi, who was sentenced to death after an
unfair trial, has reportedly had his sentence upheld
by the Supreme Court, and may face imminent execution.
His sentence can only be commuted by Ayatollah Sayed
'Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He has reportedly been beaten and tortured in
detention by having the soles of his feet whipped with
Akbar Mohammadi was sentenced to death in September
1999 by Tehran's Revolutionary Court, in connection
with last July's student demonstrations.
Two other students, Ahmad Batebi and Ali Shafei, were
sentenced to death with him, but according to recent
reports in the newspapers Fath (Victory) and
Asr-e-Azadegan (Era of the Free) their sentences have
been commuted to 10 and two and a half years'
Amnesty International is concerned that all three were
sentenced after secret trials at special courts whose
procedures fall short of minimum international
standards for fair trial.
Akbar Mohammadi is the brother of Manuchehr Mohammadi,
a leading member of Anjoman-e Daneshjuyan va
Daneshamukhtegan Melli (National Association of
Students and Graduates), who was sentenced to 13
years' imprisonment in connection with the student
demonstrations (see UA MDE 13/14/99, 4 November 1999
and UA MDE 13/21/99, 30 July 1999). Amnesty
International is concerned that a large number of
those arrested for their involvement in the
demonstrations are still detained without charge or
The peaceful student demonstrations of July 1999 were
against new laws curbing press freedom and the closure
of the daily newspaper Salam.
Members of the vigilante student group Ansar-e
Hezbollah who attacked the demonstrators were joined
by members of the security forces, resulting in at
least one death (see UA MDE 13/15/99, 9 July 1999, UA
MDE 13/16/99, 13 July 1999 and Public Statement MDE
13/18/99, 14 July 1999).
Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
- urging the authorities to commute the death sentence
against Akbar Mohammadi immediately, and, if he has
been charged with a recognisably criminal offence,
seeking information on the laws under which these
charges were brought;
- reminding the authorities of their commitment as
signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), in particular Article 6:
"Every human being has the inherent right to life.
This right shall be protected by law...Anyone
sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon
or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or
commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in
- expressing serious concern at reports that Akbar
Mohammadi was tortured, in contravention of Article 7
of the ICCPR, which states: "No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment", and calling for the allegation to be
investigated, and for any evidence obtained as a
result of torture to be disregarded;
- seeking details of the trial proceedings brought
against all three individuals, and expressing concern
that they may have been convicted after trials that
fall short of minimum international standards for fair
- seeking information on the status and well-being of
everyone still detained in connection with the
demonstrations, and urging that they be released
immediately if they are detained solely for the
non-violent expression of their conscientiously held
Source: Amnesty International
End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 26 Feb 2000 to 27 Feb 2000