Date: Mar 7, 2000 [ 17: 30: 59]

Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Mar 2000 to 7 Mar 2000 - Special issue

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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Mar 2000 to 7 Mar 2000 - Special issue
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There are 17 messages totalling 1302 lines in this issue.

Topics in this special issue:

1. Rafsanjani inquiry puts Belgium in fear of fatwa
2. Italian foreign minister says Iran could emerge as regional leader
3. Iran clerical body blocks Khatami's privatizations
4. =?UTF-8?Q?First=20Court=20Hearing=20of=20the=20=E2=80=9CYa=20Zah?=
5. Iran's Conscience
6. Hollywood Makes Another Movie That Slanders Islam
7. Arab League says Iran to be observer at Arab meet
8. U.S. mulls sanctions gesture to Iran - L.A. Times
9. Iran, Germany move to rebuild ties
10. UAE will skip Arab meet if Iranian attends-official
11. Demonstrations During German Visit
12. Jane's: No evidence of military fortifications on Iran-controlled islands
13. Iran police head denies ordering raid on students
14. An American-Iranian Paving Way to U.S. Congress
15. Iraq accuses Iran of hampering talks on POWs
16. U.S. not seen easing Iranian energy sanctions soon
17. Could Iran Rival India As a Software Provider?


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 03:26:27 EST
Subject: Rafsanjani inquiry puts Belgium in fear of fatwa

Rafsanjani inquiry puts Belgium in fear of fatwa

Ian Black in Brussels
Tuesday March 7, 2000

Belgium has incurred Iranian fury after the launch of a criminal
investigation into Iran's ex-president Hashemi Rafsanjani. The move has
powerful echoes of the Pinochet saga.
Officials in Brussels confirmed last night that the same judge who sought to
have the former Chilean dictator tried was investigating charges that Mr
Rafsanjani was party to illegal imprisonment and torture.

With Belgium squirming as fellow European Union members beat a path to
Tehran's door, the Islamic republic reacted furiously yesterday, hinting at
the sort of consequences threatened in the Salman Rushdie affair.

Ayatollah Hassan Saneii, head of the semi-official Khordad Foundation - still
offering a $2.8m (Ł1.7m) reward for the killing of the British author -
warned Belgium to apologise immediately.

"Our reactions will not only be verbal," the Jomhuri Islami newspaper quoted
him as saying. "If the Belgian government does not make up for this impudence
of the Belgian court, it must await active measures from the Iranian nation,
and especially the Khordad Foundation."

Iran's official news agency described the investigation as "insolent,
vindictive and insulting" and said it was "in step with the evil aims of
Israel and America".

The row threatens to cast a shadow over EU attempts to build a new
relationship with Iran after the stunning performance of reformist candidates
in last month's legislative elections.

Italy's foreign minister, Lamberto Dini, was ending his three-day visit to
Iran yesterday, just as his German counterpart, Joschka Fischer, was due to
arrive for a two-day stay. Britain's foreign secre tary, Robin Cook, is also
due in Tehran to set the seal on a fresh relationship after the Iranian
government formally dissociated itself from the threats to the Satanic Verses
author in 1998.

Eyebrows were raised when Belgium - not previously known for its ethical
foreign policies - seized the high moral ground in the Pinochet affair and
demanded to see evidence of the medical tests that eventually allowed the
general to go home.

It has also played a militant role in EU measures against the inclusion of
Jörg Haider's far-right Freedom party in the Austrian government.

The examining magistrate Damien Vandermeersch launched the human rights
investigation at the instigation of an unnamed Iranian living in Belgium, but
embarrassed officials insisted last night that it had nothing to do with the

The Belgian foreign ministry said in a statement that the government had no
power to intervene, but wished to maintain good relations with Iran.

More broadly, the case illustrates the change that the Pinochet affair has
created by ending the sense that a former head of state enjoys automatic
immunity for acts committed while in office.

On Sunday Mohammad Khatami, the reformer who succeeded Mr Rafsanjani in 1997,
said the investigation against his predecessor was the work of "enemies of
the Iranian nation" and warned that Iran would "spare no effort to defend its
credibility, strength and dignity".

Mr Rafsanjani was seen as a moderate when he became president in 1989 and set
about reconstruction after his country's brutal 1980-88 war with Iraq, but he
was discredited by economic failures and increasingly associated with


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 03:34:08 EST
Subject: Italian foreign minister says Iran could emerge as regional leader

Italian foreign minister says Iran could emerge as regional leader
March 5, 2000
Web posted at: 6:34 PM EST (2334 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Italy wants to help heal relations between Washington
and Tehran following the stunning victory by Iranian reformists in recent
legislative elections, the Italian foreign minister said here Sunday.

Following talks with Iran's President Mohammad Khatami, Lamberto Dini told
reporters that Italy stood beside Iran in its effort to improve relations
with the West, and that Italian firms were eager to help Iran achieve its
economic goals.

Dini said he was not carrying a message from Washington for Iranian leaders.

"But we hope that our talks both with Iranian and U.S. officials will create
the conditions for the two countries to begin political discussions," he

The United States and Iran severed ties shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic
revolution ousted the U.S.-supported shah. During the uprising, radical
Iranian students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans
hostage for 444 days.

Khatami, a moderate cleric trying to broaden social and cultural freedoms,
came to power in May 1997 elections. Contacts with Italy soon after
represented Iran's first steps out of isolation from the West.

Dini's three-day visit -- which started late Saturday -- comes soon after
reformists ousted hard-liners from control of Parliament for the first time
since the 1979 revolution.

The EU has welcomed closer cooperation with Iran following the reformist
victory. German Foreign Minister Joshcka Fischer is due to arrive in Tehran
on Monday for a two-day visit to discuss a possible trip by Khatami to

Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters that his British
counterpart, Robin Cook, was expected to visit Iran this spring.

Dini has visited countries that other Western nations shy away from. He has
traveled to Libya, and later this month is expected to go to North Korea in
what is being billed as a trip by the highest-ranking G-7 official to that
communist country


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 03:36:11 EST
Subject: Iran clerical body blocks Khatami's privatizations

Iran clerical body blocks Khatami's privatizations
1.24 p.m. ET (1824 GMT) March 6, 2000
TEHRAN — Iran's outgoing parliament has endorsed a move by a clergy-based
council to block President Mohammad Khatami's ambitious privatization plan
aimed at securing a swift economic recovery.

The conservative-dominated assembly reversed or watered down Sunday recent
rulings which had backed Khatami's reforms to end a state monopoly on banks
and major industries for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The shift came after the Guardian Council, which vets parliamentary
legislation, rejected most privatizations under Khatami's five-year
development plan as unconstitutional.

The parliament's retreat before the powerful council threatens to throw
Khatami's entire plan, due to start later this month, into limbo.

A new parliament with a strong pro-Khatami faction, elected in a landslide
last month, is to convene in May. It was not immediately clear whether the
new MPs would be able to reverse their predecessors' moves.

Khatami's reformist government had hoped to jump-start the stagnant economy
through market reforms and create 3.8 million jobs in five years for the huge
army of unemployed youth.

Earlier, parliament had blocked key market-oriented elements in the plan on
the grounds that the poor would suffer. It had instead imposed provisions
deemed contrary to the program's spirit, prompting serious doubts of quick

Some government officials and MPs had hoped that parliament would stand its
ground against the Guardian Council, thus sending the dispute for arbitration
to a top state body more in tune with Khatami's policies.


Among the setbacks to the planned privatizations were votes to maintain
government control over banks and insurance companies, allowing limited room
for private activities in these sectors.

The new moves also undermine government efforts to end the state's monopoly
on airlines, the railways and other transport systems as well as
telecommunications, water and power.

But MPs held their ground on a few points, including a provision to allow
private mining, the setting up of new private banks and the sale of 49
percent of existing state banks.

"The state's dominant role in the economy is the biggest problem faced by
developing countries, including ours,'' MP Ali Qanbari said during the
debate, broadcast on state radio.

"Private banking can save us from this predicament. Existing (state) banks
are not helping to boost productivity.''

Central Bank Governor Mohsen Nourbakhsh, an advocate of liberal reforms, told
parliament he had lobbied with the Guardian Council to clarify a boundary for
private activities in major industries without violating the constitution.

He assured deputies that future private banks would not be allowed to violate
the state's sovereignty over banking affairs.

Iran privatized all banks after the revolution to stop the outflow of capital
and as part of a drive to establish social equity. Major industries have
traditionally been state-owned.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 03:47:51 EST
Subject: =?UTF-8?Q?First=20Court=20Hearing=20of=20the=20=E2=80=9CYa=20Zah?=

First Court Hearing of the “Ya Zahra Ya Hossein” Operation in Tehran
University Dormitory
Tehran, March 1 (Par Daily) - The first hearing in the trial of those accused
of forcible entry into a Tehran University dormitory and other offenses
against its occupants in early July last year was held here Tuesday morning.
Attacking Tehran University Dormitory was organized by Hezbollah under the
name of “ya zahra, ya Hossein” and was approved by some high officials of
Islamic Republic.

Some eyewitness say that Mr. Masoud Deh-namaki and Dr. Hossein Allah Karam,
very closed associates with leader of the Islamic Republic, were
participating in the attacks to dormitory on July 18, 1999.

One of the students Said today when hezbollah thrown him out of the window
from third floor, said: “Ya Imam Hossein accept this sacrifice from us

Presiding over the session, head of Branch 7 of Tehran's Military Court,
Hojjatoleslam Seyed Ahmad Tabatabaei, expressed hope that the proceedings
will merit God's approval and lead to a restoration of rights. Deputy Tehran
Military Prosecutor Houshang Eqbal then read out the indictments and named
the 20 persons accused in the dormitory incident as follows: (IRGC) Brigadier
General Farhad Nazari, former commander of Tehran Law Enforcement Forces;
Colonel Jamshid Khodabakhshi, commander of IRGC special unit; Farhad
Arjomandi, commander of special squad; Captain Ramin Nazari, deputy commander
of squad; Lieutenant Oroujali Badrzadeh, Sergeant Jamshid Dalvand, Sergeant
Seyed Hossein Ahmadi, Sergeant Hassan Ahmadi, Sergeant Ali Akbar Jadidi,
Sergeant Qobad Mahdian, Sergeant Fat'hollah Moradian, accused numbers 4 to 11
are all personnel of the IRGC special unit or the special squad.

Names of remaining nine accused have not been disclosed due to the security
reasons. Apparently they are still working for the Information Ministry.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 04:47:30 EST
Subject: Iran's Conscience

Iran's Conscience
Ignoring death threats, a muckraking journalist takes on the high and mighty

Akbar Ganji is no pop idol or sports champion. But nearly everywhere he goes,
Iran's No. 1 muckraking journalist is mobbed. When he attended a lecture at
Tehran University recently, students whistled and chanted his name until he
went on stage and gave a speech. Afterward, a throng of admirers, some asking
for his autograph, swept him to his car. When he covered an election rally
featuring the country's most popular reform politicians, it was Ganji, not
the pols, who brought down the house. "Ganji! Ganji!" the crowd roared when
he arrived. "You're our hero!"

He is an unlikely one. Once a functionary in the Revolutionary Guards and
Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, Ganji, 40, is now calling Iran's
Islamic authorities to account for human rights violations and political
mistakes as no other Iranian journalist has ever before dared to do. He has
exposed death squads and has broken the taboo, observed even by most of the
growing number of pro-reform newspapers, on challenging high authorities by
name. His barbs, in fact, helped cause a major setback in last month's
parliamentary elections for one of the Islamic regime's sturdiest figures,
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

After Ganji led a barrage of unprecedented questioning of Rafsanjani's
decades in power, the former Iranian President ran a weak 30th in the contest
for Tehran's 30 seats, jeopardizing his bid to become the next powerful
Majlis speaker. If nothing else, the humiliation of a top conservative gave
an added psychological boost to President Mohammed Khatami's reform camp: the
latest vote count gives it some two-thirds of 290 seats.

But Ganji's writings carry risks. He regularly receives anonymous threats,
but continues his daily routine of passing by the Tehran newspapers Sobh
Emrouz, Fath and Asr-e-Azadegan that publish his stories. "I guess I'm a
troublemaker," Ganji says with a laugh. But in a more sober vein he adds: "I
call it playing with death. One day something might happen to me. This fight
for reform is lawful, but it has its price." In addition to the outpouring of
public support, Ganji is encouraged by the steady flow of leaks he receives
about the death squads. He won't name his sources, but likens them to the
insiders who provided Woodward and Bernstein with information for their
Watergate exposés.

Ganji's scoops began appearing early last year with articles tying Iran's
feared Intelligence Ministry to the serial murders of dozens of
intellectuals, organized crime figures and people killed apparently because
they knew too much. In what Ganji calls "disclosure by drips," he published
one article after another explaining how shadowy operatives selected their
victims and executed them, like the university professor whose body was
dumped on the outskirts of Tehran after he was killed with skull-fracturing
blows to his head. Ganji avoids accusing specific officials of ordering the
murders, tantalizing readers by allegorically pinning the blame on "Mr.
Master Key" and the "grey eminences"--widely seen in Tehran as references to
a former Intelligence Minister and other Iranian leaders who protected him.

Ganji gleefully cast such devices aside, however, when former President
Rafsanjani joined the race for parliament earlier this year. Intent on
bringing the powerful Rafsanjani "down to earth," he embarked on a searing
campaign in his newspaper columns, demanding that the candidate explain what
he knew about the killings as well as why the eight-year war with Iraq, which
killed more than 300,000 Iranians, was prolonged "unnecessarily." In
confronting Rafsanjani so brashly, Iranian journalists agree, Ganji almost
single-handedly removed the taboo on demanding accountability of Iranian
leaders. "In the history of Iranian journalism, there is hardly a precedent
for Ganji's bravery," says Ahmed Bourghani, a former Islamic Culture Ministry
official. "He has pulled back the curtain."

Not surprisingly, Rafsanjani has denounced Ganji's writings as lies. Even
some of Iran's liberals, fearing a hard-line backlash, believe that Ganji
often goes too far. "We need to make sure that our approach is measured,"
says Morteza Mardihah, a columnist for Asr-e-Azadegan. "With Ganji, it is
like passing a car accident. Sometimes reality is too harsh--and unnecessary
to look at."

To the delight of most reformers, however, Ganji, the son of a service
station attendant, refuses to avert his eyes. A street activist during
Khomeini's revolution, an avid reader of Western philosophy and an unabashed
partisan of President Khatami, he now insists that building Iran's democracy
entails acknowledging the Islamic regime's past mistakes. Whether Ganji is
able to continue his campaign is a crucial test for Iran's reformers against
the hard-line conservatives who maintain tight control over the security
forces and judicial system. Few in Iran will be surprised if he runs afoul of
the Islamic courts--he has already served a jail term in 1997 for a speech
that the religious authorities said branded Iran's Islamic system as a form
of fascism. As Ganji is well aware, that sort of talk is not music to an
ayatullah's ears.

With reporting by Azadeh Moaveni/Tehran


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 04:48:06 EST
Subject: Hollywood Makes Another Movie That Slanders Islam

Hollywood Makes Another Movie That Slanders Islam

HOLLYWOOD, CA - In a seemingly unbreakable trend in modern-day filmmaking,
MGM/UA is poised to release the sequel to their controversial film "Not
Without My Daughter".

Promotional flyers for the vicious sequel (such as the one pictured above)
are already in circulation.
Entitled "Wait, I Forgot My Son", the movie marks the return of depressing
actress Sally Field as well as all the Jewish actors originally hired to play
Muslims in the original.

"I felt that the world needed to be reminded of how horrible the Muzlamic
religion is," stated Field.

"We also felt the need to show Muzlims that their method of prayer is wrong."

What Field was referring to was the numerous prayer references in both the
original movie and the sequel that depict traditional Islamic prayer as a
random sequence of standing, bowing and loudly shouting various Arabic
phrases in a rapidly repeated fashion for approximately twenty minutes.

Seemingly devoid of any plot whatsoever, "Wait, I Forgot My Son" depicts the
journey of Field's character into bowels of a villified Muslim country in
search of her newborn son (played by Danny Devito).

"At the beginning of the new movie, my character marries a 7-11 clerk [who is
later revealed as being suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden] and bares his
child," explains Field.

In the new film, Osama bin Laden plots to steal Field's children by becoming
a 7-11 clerk who is fond of slurpees.
"Needless to say, as per Muzlamic tradition, Osama takes his only son back to
Afghanistan with him and it becomes my mission in life to get him back."

News of the pending release of the movie has been met by much opposition and
criticism from various Islamic groups such as CAIR (Council of American
Islamic Relations) and ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) as well as the
TDU (Taxi Drivers Union) and most Dunkin Donuts.

"I hate those kinds of flims, man," exclaims Ali Kamal, Owner of Dunkin
Donuts Store #294. "If that Sally Field ever come my store, I won't give her
the free donuts."

That same sentiment was also heard from most Arab liquor store owners who are
planning on refusing free liquor for Field as well as all taxi drivers
refusing to take her anywhere.

The Hizbollah, not to be outdone, have also announced plans to steal the
hollywood actress's children and raise them overseas.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 07:15:42 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Arab League says Iran to be observer at Arab meet

Arab League says Iran to be observer at Arab meet

ABU DHABI, March 7 (Reuters) - The Arab League chief said Iran's Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi would attend a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in
Beirut as an observer representing the Organisation of the Islamic
Conference, and not Iran.

Arab League Secretary-General Esmat Abdel-Meguid made his comments in an
interview on Monday night with Abu Dhabi television in the United Arab
Emirates. A transcript of the interview was received by Reuters on Tuesday.

``We did not ask Iran (to attend the meeting). The request came from Iran's
foreign minister based on an agreement between the Arab League and the
Organisation of the Islamic Conference...on attending each other's meetings
as observers, which means attending the opening session only,'' he said.

``...Iran is taking part as an OIC member and not as Iran,'' he said when
asked why Iran was allowed to attend at a time when a dispute with the UAE
over three Gulf islands was not resolved.

``I leave it to the foreign ministers to decide by Thursday if there is any
abjection to Iran taking part'' as an OIC observer, Abdel-Meguid said.

Iran is the current chairman of the OIC, which groups Moslem countries.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Sadr said in Beirut last week that
Kharrazi would represent Islamic countries in the two-day meeting of Arab
foreign ministers due to start on March 11 to discuss Israel's recent attack
on Lebanon.

Kharrazi said on Sunday Iran would not abandon the Lebanese resistance group
Hizbollah even if a peace pact was signed between Lebanon and Israel.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 07:18:16 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. mulls sanctions gesture to Iran - L.A. Times

U.S. mulls sanctions gesture to Iran - L.A. Times

LOS ANGELES, March 7 (Reuters) - The United States is considering scrapping
trade sanctions on Iranian caviar, carpets and pistachio nuts in a bid to
improve relations with Tehran, the Los Angeles Times said on Tuesday.

The paper quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying the Clinton administration
was close to a decision and the move was one of several gestures of goodwill
being considered in light of progress toward economic and political reform in

``We clearly view the parliamentary elections as an important step, and we
want to make clear our attitude, that we think it would be very desirable to
have better channels of communication,'' the paper quoted a senior
administration official as saying.

He was referring to parliamentary elections in Iran last month in which a
pro-reform coalition backing President Mohammad Khatami swept to a majority.

Members of the coalition have called on Washington to take the first concrete
steps towards improving relations, which broke down after the Islamic
revolution in 1979 and the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by militant

U.S. laws and regulations currently prohibit virtually all commercial
transactions with Iran, which Washington accuses of supporting what it calls
terrorist groups.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, said in an
interview published last week that the election in Iran could pave the way
for ``important developments'' in bilateral relations ``if the Iranian
government responds positively to the American position on the issue of state
sponsorship of terrorism and cooperating in solving regional problems.''

There was no immediate comment from the State Department on the Los Angeles
Times report.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 07:22:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iran, Germany move to rebuild ties

Iran, Germany move to rebuild ties

By Jonathan Lyons

TEHRAN, March 7 (Reuters) - Iran and Germany put years of stormy relations
behind them on Tuesday, vowing to bury past recriminations and restore what
was once a leading commercial partnership.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and his Iranian counterpart, Kamal
Kharrazi, told a joint news conference the time had come to rebuild their
countries' historic relationship.

They took pains to distance themselves from the diplomatic rift over the
so-called Mykonos case, in which a German court linked the murder of
dissidents to senior Iranian officials.

The case led to a prolonged setback in European ties to Tehran, including the
temporary withdrawal of ambassadors.

``The Mykonos case belongs to the past. It is not considered a problem in our
bilateral relations,'' Kharrazi said.

``There are no hurdles (to better ties) from our side,'' said Fischer, adding
that recent polls in Iran had strengthened the country's democratic
credentials in the eyes of the West.

``We are prepared to rectify any past problems,'' said Fischer, the first
German foreign minister to travel to Iran since 1992, when ties first began
to deteriorate.


In a later meeting, President Mohammad Khatami told Fischer Iran was intent
on pursuing a policy of detente with all nations.

``Our strategic policy is to ease tensions,'' state radio quoted the
president as saying.

``We have decided to help create an atmosphere of understanding and mutal
respect between ourselves and other countries,'' Khatami said. ``And we have
been successful so far.''

Several hundred war veterans and their supporters protested outside the
German embassy, denouncing what they said was the role of German firms in
supplying Iraq with chemical weapons material and know-how.

The demonstrators unfurled posters of Iranians injured by chemical weapons
during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq.

``Iraq commits crimes and Germany supports it,'' chanted the crowd, some
wearing gas masks. The foreign minister was not in the embassy at the time.

His meeting with Kharrazi and Khatami were designed to restore the lustre to
Germany's strained relationship with the Islamic Republic.

That process will be capped by a state visit to Germany this spring by
Khatami, who once ran an Islamic centre in Hamburg. No date for the
long-planned visit was announced.

Also on the agenda, said Fischer, were human rights issues, the Middle East
peace process, and arms proliferation.

Germany, which has a history of political and cultural ties to Iran, had been
Tehran's leading trade partner, a position now claimed by Italy.


But the Mykonos case, in which Iranian Kurdish dissidents were gunned down in
Berlin's Mykonos restaurant, set off a downward spiral in bilateral

That was later aggravated by the arrest in Tehran of a German businessman on
sex charges, in violation of Iran's Islamic code.

``We fully regret what has happened and we hope it has passed and will not be
repeated,'' Fischer said in response to persistent questions about Mykonos
and its aftermath.

However, a recent Belgian court case, seen in Iran as reminiscent of Mykonos,
served as a reminder of the difficulties ahead of Iran's relationship with
the European Union.

A magistrate in Brussels is weighing claims by an Iranian-born Belgian that a
top Iranian official, Akbar Hashsemi Rafsanjani, was responsible for human
rights violations between 1983 and 1989. Rafsanjani was president of Iran
from 1989-1997.

``What has happened in Belgium shows there are some forces who are hostile to
relations between Iran and Belgium...What has been done has nothing to do
with the European Union,'' Kharrazi said. ``Most countries of the union are
interested in the promotion of ties with Iran.''


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 09:42:02 EST
Subject: UAE will skip Arab meet if Iranian attends-official

UAE will skip Arab meet if Iranian attends-official

Mar 7 2000 8:19AM ET

DUBAI, March 7 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates threatened on Tuesday to
boycott an Arab foreign ministers meeting to discuss Israel's recent attacks
on Lebanon if an Iranian official attends.

``We cannot accept attending a meeting to take a strong position against the
occupation of southern Lebanon when one of the participants occupies our
islands,'' a senior UAE official told Reuters.

He was referring to a territorial dispute over three Gulf islands which are
held by Iran but also claimed by the UAE.

The Arab League chief said late on Monday that Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharrazi would attend the March 11-12 meeting of Arab foreign ministers as an
observer representing the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and
not Iran.

``I leave it to the foreign ministers to decide by Thursday if there is any
objection to Iran taking part'' as an OIC observer, Arab League
Secretary-General Esmat Abdel-Meguid told Abu Dhabi Television. Iran
currently heads the OIC.

The UAE official said his country also objected to not being consulted over
the decision to allow Kharrazi to attend.

``Our refusal to attend the talks if an Iranian attends does not mean we do
not still stand by Lebanon. We have already made our very strong views
against an Iranian attending in any capacity, even as a representative of the
OIC,'' he said.

The dispute between the UAE and Iran over the strategic islands of Abu Musa
and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs -- located in a key Gulf shipping channel --
has hampered a rapprochement between non-Arab Iran and its Arab meighbours.

Iran says it is ready for talks to resolve the ``misunderstanding.'' But the
UAE wants the talks to have a clear agenda and a specific time frame, and
suggests referring the dispute to international arbitration if direct talks



Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 09:42:57 EST
Subject: Demonstrations During German Visit


Demonstrations During German Visit

The Associated Press
Mar 7 2000 7:32AM ET

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hundreds of angry Iranian veterans surrounded the car of
Germany's foreign minister today, demanding compensation from Berlin for
allegedly supplying chemical weapons that Baghdad used in attacks during the
1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

One demonstrator threw himself in front of Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's
car as the official entourage drove to the embassy. Security guards and
police dragged the protester away.

A dozen others in chemical warfare suits and face masks lay down outside the
embassy gate after the motorcade of German Embassy vehicles and Iranian
Foreign Ministry cars entered.

In the past, Iranian officials have accused Germany of providing Iraq with
chemical weapons during the war. More than 1 million people on both sides are
estimated to have died in the war.

Dozens in the crowd of 300 appeared to have been victims of chemical attacks
that Iraq allegedly carried out during the war. Some walked with canes, some
wore masks hooked to portable oxygen tanks, and others had burn marks on
their faces or arms.

``We want compensation for 65,000 injured and 25,000 killed by chemical
attacks,'' said a banner suspended outside the embassy.

The demonstration went on for more than an hour until police said the
protesters could choose a representative, Sirous Kamran, to meet with
Fischer. But Kamran, who was injured in 1986 near the border with Iraq, said
he was met inside the embassy by an Iranian employee who told him to leave
his name and address so a Wednesday meeting could be arranged.

``We shouldn't have agreed to leave,'' said Kamran, removing his oxygen mask
to talk.

Earlier Fischer, whose visit was aimed at recovering lost ground and
strengthening ties, met with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, and
President Mohammad Khatami.

``The German government is ready to strengthen ties with Iran in all
fields,'' Fischer told reporters after the meetings.

Iranian-German relations have been strained over German businessman Helmut
Hofer. The 56-year-old Hofer was twice sentenced to death in Iran for an
illicit relationship with a 26-year-old Iranian medical student, but was
finally acquitted and released from prison in January.

His release was widely seen as paving the way for a possible visit to Germany
by President Mohammad Khatami.

Fischer's visit comes in the aftermath of a stunning victory in last month's
legislative elections by Iranian reformists who support Khatami and are
locked in a struggle with anti-Western hard-liners.

The European Union has said it welcomes closer cooperation with Iran
following the reformist victory. Italian foreign minister, Lamberto Dini,
left Iran on Monday after a three-day visit, just as Fischer was flying in.

The reformist victory has ``created an opportunity for us that we must fully
exploit,'' Fischer said. ``This opportunity was created by the people of
Iran. We look at this development very positively and intend to exploit it



Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 12:10:00 EST
Subject: Jane's: No evidence of military fortifications on Iran-controlled

Jane's: No evidence of military fortifications on Iran-controlled islands

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Satellite images of a strategic Persian
Gulf island under Iranian control refute U.S. claims that it has been
fortified militarily and poses a threat, Jane's Defence Weekly reported.
In an issue due on newsstands Wednesday, the respected defense journal said
satellite images it has seen of Abu Musa, and also of the islands of Greater
and Lesser Tunbs, show no evidence of claims that the islands have been
turned "into unsinkable aircraft carriers capable of closing the strait
during a crisis."

The islands dominate the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, through which
about one-fifth of the world's oil supply passes. Iran is locked in a
territorial dispute with the United Arab Emirates over ownership of the
three islands.

Last year, the Emirates said Iran's militarization of Abu Musa was
threatening its security, its oil fields and shipping through the strait.
The United States has made similar claims.

Jane's said satellite images show Iran is developing the island's road
network, airstrip and port facilities, but there was no evidence of a "major
military infrastructure and fortification."

"As it stands, if Abu Musa is a dagger pointed at the heart of the Emirates
(and the West's oil supply), it has yet to be sharpened," the London-based
weekly said.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 12:12:07 EST
Subject: Iran police head denies ordering raid on students

Iran police head denies ordering raid on students

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior Iranian police official on trial for a bloody
police raid on a student dormitory last summer denied Tuesday that he had
ordered the attack.
"I did not order the raid. Whoever entered the premises violated orders,"
former Tehran police chief Brigadier-General Farhad Nazari told the court

Nazari was testifying on the third day of the trial of himself, seven police
officers and 12 conscripts accused of brutality in the dawn attacks on the
Tehran University dormitory complex in July. He was fired from his post last

"First they started to blame the chief of police, then they came lower and
reached me," he said. Students had originally demanded the sacking of the
national police chief.

The case marks a rare prosecution in open court of members of the powerful
security forces, who have often been seen as a law unto themselves.

But critics say the real culprits were members of hardline vigilantes, often
called "pressure groups," who led the assault.

So far, only uniformed police personnel have been charged.

"There was a group of plainclothed young men who provoked things. On the
night of the incident, the police were being taunted by both students and
the pressure groups," Nazari said.

"We have given the videotape of these elements to officials. I do not see
why they are not being dealt with."

The vigilantes are widely believed to be backed by powerful conservatives
opposed to reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

At least one person was killed and more than 200 students injured in the
initial attacks by the police and vigilantes on the students after a
peaceful pro-democracy march.

The raid touched off six days of protests that escalated into some of the
worse unrest since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The trial resumes Thursday.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 17:14:00 EST
Subject: An American-Iranian Paving Way to U.S. Congress

Homayounpour, the only moderate Democrat in the field, says that he can
brings back home all Democrats

Virginia, March 7 (Par Daily) - The name of an Iranian-American running for
the U.S. Congress, is on the primary ballot Super Tuesday (today) in
Montgomery County, Maryland.

Cyrus (Kourosh) Homayounpour, a long-time resident of Montgomery County, is
looking to be the democratic candidate in November's election for the 8th
Congressional District seat in Maryland.

According to his news release, Homayounpour is active in the New Democrats of
Montgomery County and the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). If he wins the
primary, he will challenge the incumbent, Republican Congresswoman Connie
Morella, in November.

Espousing the centrist New Democratic platform, Homayounpour's three
Basic campaign principles are opportunity, responsibility and community. "I
believe in opportunity for all and special privilege for none; an ethic of
mutual responsibility where rights come with responsibilities; and an
understanding that it all comes together in a community where values shared
by most Americans are respected: work, family, education, individual liberty,
and faith," says the candidate.

Homayounpour says, if elected, he will focus his efforts on four Policy
areas: education reform, healthcare reform, Social Security reform and tax

*On education, Homayounpour supports the "Three Rs" initiative proposed by
Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, which moves beyond the Conventional
left-right debate and its false choice between more federal spending and more
local control, and advocates adding a third component: high standards and
real accountability for results.

* On healthcare, Homayounpour proposes adopting a "Patients' Bill of
Rights" that would emphasize quality of healthcare (competency of
Providers, customer service, and health outcomes), give patients the right to
sue their HMO's if critical care is denied solely based on cost, and
establish "healthmarts" (cooperative supermarkets for buying health
insurance) that would increase choice and access.

* To Homayounpour, Social Security reform means, "keeping the Social
Security Trust Fund healthy so that it will not dry up in twenty, thirty or
fifty years- or ever!" To achieve this goal, he believes in putting a stop to
the siphoning off of the Social Security surplus by Congress that goes on
even today. He notes, "We must keep the economy healthy and growing so
contributions to the Fund keep increasing." Homayounpour would fight against
raising the eligibility age or the Social Security tax rate or both.

* Homayounpour's tax reform plan has two main components: a set of targeted
tax cuts to return part of the surplus to the people, and a tax
simplification plan where every section of the Internal Revenue Code is
simplified over 5 years. Chief among these targeted tax cuts would be an
increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit to help the working poor and the
millions of Americans who have left the welfare rolls for the job market.

Homayounpour says he will be a leader and an advocate for Federal Government
employees and their rights, making the passage of the increase in thrift
savings plan contributions for CSRS employees.

On foreign policy, Homayounpour ranks the Middle East peace process And
commitment to Israel's security and well being as the number one priority,
and believes in the continued U.S. involvement in the process until a
comprehensive peace agreement is signed between Israel and all her neighbors.

For the past 14 years, Homayounpour has been on the staff of University
Continuing Education Association in Washington, DC. He currently serves As
UCEA Director of Membership and International Relations. UCEA is a
non-profit, higher education association that promotes excellence in the
programs of accredited colleges and universities that serve the needs of some
6.5 million adult, part-time students.

Prior to joining UCEA, Homayounpour worked in the private sector as
controller for a retail corporation with branches in 5 states.

Homayounpour and his wife, Shohre, have been married for 26 years and
Have lived in Montgomery County for 23 of those years. Their daughter, Ned,
is a graduate of Richard Montgomery High School.

Homayounpour holds an M.A. in International Relations from Georgetown
University and an M.A. in Area Studies (Near & Middle East) from the
University of London.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 17:08:01 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: Iraq accuses Iran of hampering talks on POWs

Iraq accuses Iran of hampering talks on POWs

BAGHDAD, March 7 (Reuters) - Iraq on Tuesday accused Iran of delaying talks
about freeing prisoners captured during the 1980- 1988 war between the two
neighbours, the Iraqi News agency INA reported.

``The Iranian government is not responding to a complete programme set forth
by Iraq which seeks to solve the problem of the prisoners of war (POWs)
entirely,'' INA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

Iran sometimes approves part of the programme of releasing the POWs and it
cancels the rest of it without explanation, the spokesman said.

The fate of thousands of POWs is one of the thorniest issues hindering
Iraq-Iran ties.

Iraq says Iran still holds 13,000 of its soldiers, some of whom have
languished in Iranian camps for more than 15 years.

Iran says several thousand Iranian POWs are detained in Iraq. Baghdad denies
holding any.


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 19:53:02 EST
From: Sohrab68@AOL.COM
Subject: U.S. not seen easing Iranian energy sanctions soon

U.S. not seen easing Iranian energy sanctions soon

By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - The Clinton administration's efforts to
improve relations with Iran does not mean relaxing sanctions on U.S.
investment in Iran's energy industry any time soon, a State Department
official said on Tuesday.

In what could be a breakthrough in relations between the two countries that
went sour two decades, the White House is reportedly considering allowing
U.S. consumers and businesses to buy Iran's carpets, caviar and pistachios.

Noticeably absent from the list is any easing in sanctions against Iran's oil
industry, Tehran's economic engine.

``There are some ideas under consideration,'' a State Department official,
who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. ``None of them include...
lifting restrictions on energy sales (and investment).''

Iran is a pivotal player in OPEC, which is under growing pressure from
Washington and other industrialised countries to pump more oil to ease world

Tehran is a price hawk, aligning itself with Algeria and Libya which oppose
any immediate production increase in order to continue banking profits from
oil prices that have soared to nine-year highs. Iran's oil minister was due
to visit his influential Saudi Arabian counterpart on Wednesday for talks
closely monitored by industry analysts and traders.

The State Department official also declined to confirm that trade in carpets,
caviar and pistachios may be eased, saying only that the administration is
seeking ways to open a dialogue with Iran.

Such a policy change would be a goodwill gesture toward Iran after the
country's recent parliamentary elections that saw many reform-minded
politicians elected, but not a signal U.S. firms will be allowed to invest in
Iran, analysts said.

However, analysts said they would be closely watching to see whether
Washington offers any other goodwill gestures to Iran before OPEC meets on
March 27 to decide whether to increase oil production.

The Clinton administration has been blasted by dozens of U.S. lawmakers, who
contend more action is needed to prod OPEC to increase its output.

Oil futures galloped above $34 a barrel on Tuesday at the New York Mercantile
Exchange, rising $2, for the first time since November 1990 after Iraq
invaded Kuwait.

``From a U.S. perspective, lifting of sanctions on the three (carpets, caviar
and pistachios) is more likely to help Iran than the United States,'' said
Cyrus Tahmassebi, president of Bethesda, Md.-based Energy Trends Inc.

Oil sanctions, however, hurt both countries, he said, noting Tehran needs
foreign investment and equipment to increase oil production, while American
consumers are currently experiencing the downside of low oil supplies.

``Oil sanctions are detrimental to U.S interests in both the short and
long-term. Maybe now they can see it more clearly,'' Tahmassebi said.

The White House is likely to wait to see how Iran responds to eased trade
restrictions before considering a major step like allowing energy
investments, said Julia Nanay, a director of Washington-based Petroleum
Finance Company.

``The way the U.S. government looks at it, that's the ultimate bargaining
chip it has to extract what it wants from Iran,'' Nanay said.

Indeed, the U.S. continues to believe that Iran sponsors international
terrorism and is seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction, the State
Department official said.

Still, he said, ``The elections were clearly a sign that the people of Iran
want to move to a more open society, and we're (the United States) trying to
find ways to respond to that.''

Nanay said there are ``interim steps'' the White House could take to give
U.S. energy firms access to Iran before lifting investment sanctions

For example, she said because U.S. law allows foreign companies to invest up
to $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector without being hit with
sanctions, American firms should be able to invest at that level as well.

``U.S. companies should be allowed to do at least that much, which would
permit them to go and start doing some basic work in Iran,'' she said. ``So
that's what (U.S.) companies, as a first sign, would hope for.''


Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2000 20:30:20 EST
Subject: Could Iran Rival India As a Software Provider?

Could Iran Rival India As a Software Provider?

[Iran Navigate]

In an attempt to diversify Iran’s export base and to move away from
over-reliance on oil for foreign exchange earnings, both the government and
private sector are seeking high value added industries that can offer a
competitive advantage. This interview with Ahmad Kiarostami, managing
director of, one of Iran’s leading software companies, pinpoints
Iran’s potentials and shortcomings in this area. It also reveals a dangerous
new development affecting Iranian internet service providers.

In recent times, India, which has a large supply of cheap, educated labor,
has managed to take a special place in the global software development
market. As the manager of one of Iran’s better computer programming
companies, do you think that Iran has the potential to become another India
in the field of software development?

India enjoys a number of qualities that helped it become the India that we
now talk about. It has very cheap work sources and low-cost professional
sources. Iran enjoys the same points as well. We have cheap professional
sources too, so we can compete on that front.

But India has two other traits that Iran lacks. First is government support.
The Indian government started to support software exporters by providing
Indian computer companies with the facilities they needed. For example, a
part of the satellite facilities that linked India to the world was handed
over to the companies so that they could access foreign satellites easily and
in order to bolster their work in this field. The Indian companies enjoyed
this benefit with a good discount price as well. Unfortunately, we do not
have such a facility in Iran. This shortcoming is a matter of government

The second shortcoming stems from us as Iranian professionals. We have not
learnt teamwork in our academic studies. As long as the project framework is
based on an individual, we can do it extremely well. We have what it takes:
intelligence, ability and knowledge. But when it comes to teamwork, it
requires another set of skills, which we lack. In addition a working team
needs a good experienced manager to direct the group. We have management
problem in any field in Iran. There are a few who are good managers. However,
they also face different problems. Those who manage well do not correspond
with the system and have to leave the field very soon.

Another factor working against us is that we lack a stable environment in
Iran, so that no-one makes long-term investments. Regulations change all the
time and cannot be counted on. For a while we have used internet services
without any problem, but now there is talk about putting some restrictions on
the service. It is said that internet utilization is going to be limited but
not completely prohibited. Such a development would deter investment in
internet services.

In summary, lack of long-term investment, good management and teamwork are
currently the main reasons for us to remain behind India.

Is there any room for optimism that these obstacles holding down Iran’s
software industry can be overcome?

Under the current circumstances, we have several sources helping and pushing
us to improve. The first is the current economic condition. Today the oil
price has rebounded, but after a period of low prices we, as a nation, learnt
that the issue of diversifying Iran’s export income base is a serious one and
that our over-reliance on petrodollars carries a big risk. I am not able to
do something at the governmental level, but if any individual can produce a
good income for himself or herself, it helps. I do not talk about higher
circles. This is a risk that made us change our manners in comparison with
the past. I think we have become more serious and cooperate with others more
easily. This can be a solution for the teamwork case. I know that the
government has realized the threat of over dependence on oil income, but I do
not know if it has found the solution and if it has, whether it can solve the

The second issue is that of quality. When you talk about pistachio or
machinery exports, we face several problems, namely bringing the quality of
foodstuffs and developing technology up to that of the modern countries.
Nevertheless, as far as the software market is concerned, we enjoy a good
position. Keep in mind that there is no copyright in Iran. Multi-thousand
dollar software packages are at out disposal at very low prices, which means
we have learnt to work with many different tools. In other words, if a
graphics arts specialist in a Western country is usually familiar with only
one or two software packages, ours may know seven or eight. This is sometimes
an advantage, it empowers us.

There are external factors that are in our favor as well. As far as I know,
Indian prices are getting higher and India’s foreign partners are tending to
cooperate with other countries. With Indian prices low in the past, it was
hard to convince foreign firms to work with us. Additionally, Indian products
are of good quality and Indians are very experienced in the business. But,
increased prices in India provide us with a good opportunity to become a
second or third India. Once we succeed in getting the contracts, it will be
easier to obtain a good position in the market.

Doesn’t the fact that Iran lacks copyright laws scare off foreign companies
from working with you?

Many foreign companies that want to work with us are concerned about
copyright. But there is a solution. Although Iran lacks adequate copyright
regulations, a contract between two parties could take care of the problem. A
contract is considered the rule between the two partners. It has nothing to
do with the country’s laws. Every point related to copyright can be mentioned
in the contract. Keep in mind that we have good reason to take these
contracts very seriously as well. As a firm seeking foreign projects, I would
never jeopardize my reputation by breaching one contract. It would be very
myopic to do so. If I do not respect the contract, nobody will be my client
any more. I can earn well for a short period this way, but it will not last
for a long time. Therefore, I would never violate the terms of the contract.

Do the guarantees you give foreign companies convince them or are they still

They’re not absolutely satisfied, there is always a little concern. They are
not familiar with the Iranian environment. Their vision of Iran differs from
what it really is.

You noted earlier that there is a capable workforce in Iran when it comes to
software development. But let’s make things a little more tangible. For
example, how difficult would it be for a foreign software company that is
interested in coming to set up shop in Iran to find, say, 50 top-notch

If you have a short-term vision, and for example, you want to have your team
in place in a matter of three months, it is fairly difficult to do so.
Unfortunately, emigration to Canada is getting easier for computer experts.
Canada has recently been accepting them without the usual interviews, or so I
hear. Hence, the number of Iranian experts available here has dropped
considerably. However, with a longer-term vision, and by offering some
training, a foreign company could do quite well with its recruitment here.
Iranian universities enjoy very favorable potentials. It is a matter of
having patience, but the rewards could be great.

So if a foreign company wants to have a software package developed in one
year, the only realistic option is to refer to an existing Iranian company.

It cannot directly start the activity. It should first train the sources and
then in the second year commence its operations. So, yes, if it needs to
develop software in a one-year period, its best option is contracting one of
the better Iranian companies or entering a joint venture with one.
Incidentally, this is the way most foreign firms have operated thus far.

You have mentioned that Iran offers cheap, specialized labor. Can you give us
an idea of the range of wages of Iranian computer experts?

If it is only the matter of a programmer, with whom you can start the work,
he or she gets from Rls1,000,000 to Rls4,500,000 a month. I know somebody who
earns up to Rls7,000,000 – however, he is a exception. But if you want
somebody who directs the company at the same time, the income ranges from
Rls4,000,000 to Rls5,000,000. But this is not the only cost of labor to a
company. Some 23% of the wage should be paid to the government as tax and
insurance charges.

The internet has removed borderlines. The world has become smaller through
the internet. How has it contributed to introducing Iran’s software structure
to the world?

The internet has played a great role in this regard. It has helped everybody
who deals with software. In fact, software today means software connected
with the internet. To supply non-internet or non-intranet applications does
not make sense any more. The internet is the place we put software on. It was
an unknown phenomenon when it was introduced in Iran some five years ago. Its
usage and users were limited. First, it was only the Telecommunication
Company of Iran (TCI) that used it. Then Neda Rayaneh started to give
internet services. Today, we are witnessing many internet service providers
(ISPs) in Iran, but they have still a long way to go in offering good
services. Their main shortcoming is that they are mainly concerned with their
short-term interests. In proportion to the incomes here, their prices are
extremely high. Overall, however, I believe that things are getting better.
Besides, foreign companies are making investments in this area.

There is something important to point out here. Recently, a rumour has been
spread about the introduction of limitations on the provision of internet
services. It is said that only the TCI will be given the right to supply
internet services, and all the other ISPs will have to provide their services
through TCI. Mind you, this is not an uncommon system. In fact, Dubai has a
similar system in place. However, such an occurrence would stop any
competition in this field and foreign investment would be reduced or would
disappear. The third problem is that if TCI continues working the way it did
before, we can expect to see high charges persist.

The TCI’s policy has so far been geared towards generating income, instead of
providing quality services. Therefore, if it maintains this policy, many ISPs
will have to quit because of their limited financial resources. On the other
hand, many companies will seek alternatives to using our ISPs. Presently,
many foreign companies, such as Nokia, already report problems. They take
part in telecom tenders, and if the communication channel between their head
office and their local branch is the TCI, they will face security problems as
well. They will not accept such a system. However, they will not have such
concerns when working with a private company. If every connection is set up
through a single channel, the process of communication will become more
difficult. This will make the investment situation for foreign companies
uneasy. I hope Iranian officials read my words and take them into

Now I want to refer to the positive points of the internet. Yesterday, when I
made software, nobody outside Iran could get acquainted with it. But today,
Iranians abroad can see it through the internet. The Fath newspaper site –
which originally started out as Khordad – is a good example. Very
comprehensive work has been done on this site. It is the first time that one
can search archives using Arabic or Persian text, that is we developed a
Persian-language search engine. And this is a start; Iranians who live
outside Iran are connected to non-Iranians and our software developments will
be introduced by them to others. We have received many complimentary mails
from foreigners. Another example is our development for the Painting Gallery.
Non-Iranian artists get familiar with our works. The introduction starts with
a foreign group, with which only one Iranian cooperates. The connection at
large is under way, and it has helped us to introduce our market to the world.

In your expert opinion, what do you see as the best market for the sale of
software developed in Iran? Software export relates to two areas. One is the
availability of a market and I would suggest looking at the market of
Iranians outside the country, which is not a small one. I have no precise
statistics, but it is said that 1,000,000 Iranians live in Los Angeles alone,
so it cannot be a small market. When we think about all the Iranian residents
worldwide, who want to have something about Iran, we find out the possibility
to export our products. We have already made CDs on Iran’s football and
cinema. Two other CDs are under development. The problem is that we, as
Iranian companies, do not know how to market our products. That is another
area where a foreign firm could play a big role.

Second is the ability to develop a high-quality product at low prices. We
have the possibility and facility needed for the production of software.
Development is not expensive in Iran, so we can be very competitive in that


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 6 Mar 2000 to 7 Mar 2000 - Special issue